Very sad story…

21 Feb


The following is a story that happened in Canada, I doubt many have heard of it.  It is tragic and hard to even contemplate having happened.  I have followed the news reports into the Ashley Smith Inquest into her death. A heartbreaking, breath-stopping story that to me speaks of how the system failed her over, and over again. A tragic story that should never have happened, and the linked article does not even begin to delve into all that she went through. I haven’t talked about it here, but have thought about it a lot.

Last night they showed a few clips of her mom speaking at the inquest. Speaking about how sweet Ashley was growing up, smiling all the time, the joy of her life, and how she wanted people to know who Ashley was, before she went into the system. That the troubles started around the 9th grade, and how she took her to a psychiatrist who said she was just a normal teenager, which reassured her.  I feel so badly for her mom.

And she spoke of adopting Ashley at 3 days old, and how Ashley had become obsessed with knowing details of her parentage, and her biological mother, but had held off of sharing the details because she felt she was too young.


Last night was the first time I heard that Ashley was adopted, and I thought about it a lot trying to go to sleep last night and again this morning.  I don’t know if being adopted, and being obsessed with wanting to know details about her biological mother contributed to her acting out.  It certainly sparked a lot of deeper thought in me, and memories of my teenage years surfaced.  I am hesitant to include my thoughts on being a teenager, because I am not trying to be disrespectful to Ashley’s story, but it shows how horribly wrong things can go at the same time – regardless of why or what sparked the change.

Please understand I am not trying to connect the outcome to the story simply because she was adopted, but at the same time I do feel being adopted may have played a role.  Really struggling with posting this, but it feeds into a thought that has swirled in my mind for a while.  How parents can be lulled into believing their child is just fine with being adopted, and while the child can still be just fine with it, how it can become complicated and hard when teen years happen.

It reminded me of how hard being a teenager was for me, and how mom and dad would never have dreamed that I would act out based on how I was as a child.  So many more layers are added to an already complicated time of development.  I know being adopted caused me to start acting out when I hit my teens, changing me from that shy smiling girl, but I didn’t get into trouble with the law.  I made some big mistakes for sure, and I was hurting inside, but I wouldn’t turn to mom and dad because I didn’t want to cause them pain, and I think that is what I want to get across in this post – I wanted to protect mom and dad’s feelings at the cost of my own.  I want adoptive parents to understand and research how it is for adoptees in their teens, when you are trying to understand who you are, what defines you, what part of you comes from your genetics and what that means when you have no knowledge, all of this, while you are starting the normal separation of yourself from your family.

Just be aware – regardless if you think your child has never had any issues with being adopted – becoming a teenager means for some of us – we have to process it all over again, it’s hard and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.


Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

12 responses to “Very sad story…

  1. seespeakhearmama

    February 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Thanks for this…as an adoptive parent it’s difficult to think of something like this happening to the children you watched grow up- seemingly full of joy and contentment. But I know adoption is about loss and as I still process the infertility that led me down the adoption road I will keep my eyes open for the children I absolutely adore. Thanks for keeping the conversation going.


    • TAO

      February 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      Thanks for getting what I was trying to say – being aware is all anyone can be and I think would be key.


  2. serialadopter

    February 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I am so glad there is so much more information and conversation about these issues now. Our first adoption was in 1982 and no one talked about loss let alone attachment issues or anything else. Fast forward to 2005 adoption 8 and 9 – lots of information – you just have to be open to it. I’m so glad adoptees like yourselves are sharing your experiences – it’s vitally important.


    • TAO

      February 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm

      Welcome – you have me laughing at your name and I have to say it takes guts 🙂 , not just the serial but adopter seems to be a term most parents cringe at when it is used.

      You are absolutely correct that knowledge has grown so much – but only if you are open to it – that is my concern in that parents can get lulled into a false sense of security because to start with kids love being adopted – then they figures out they first had to be given away – then they deal with it and then the teen years happen…not always but enough to make being aware necessary.

      Thank you for seeing that adoptee voices need to be heard. Fair warning I can be very grumpy to downright angry at times…


  3. JavaMonkey

    February 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

    This is so very sad. Although it is true that adoptive parents are given more information these days, we adoptees are NOT. In most States, we still do not have access to our adoption files or our original birth certificates. Yes, adoptees now come home with a better owner’s manual than I did in the 70’s. Does that really help us, or just save adoptive parents from feeling to blame when we act out?

    I’m almost 40, yet I am still not allowed to see my original birth certificate unless my first mother signs a permission form. Sure, she’d probably do it if I asked; but, that is not the point. I should have the same rights to see my information that non-adoptees have. I wonder if this young woman might be alive today if she had the answers she sought.


    • TAO

      February 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Java – would love to see parents [adoptive] stand up in unison and demand adoptees have the same rights as bio’s.


  4. Scooping it Up

    February 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you for this, I appreciate your truth and willingness to share.


    • TAO

      February 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Scooping it Up – For what it is worth – and however much flak you are taking for your current post – I think you are Brave and Honest and Strong and I thank you for taking a stand (again). You are always welcome here.


  5. Scooping it Up

    February 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks TAO, the tides are turning a tiny bit perhaps: the few folks who’ve expressed being upset online have been shut down by those say “let her talk.” no ugly comments on the blog. I have only heard in closed forums that they want to make sure I don’t join so I cannot spread “my crazy.” but in public places those who are adopting with agencies who are known as unethical are embarrassed into silence. They are burying their heads in the sand, but at least their voices are not as powerful as they were two or three years ago.


  6. Christina

    February 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I know you’ve read on my blog recently how God helped us track down our daughter’s birthfamily (I’m giving credit to God because in all honesty, while I always wanted to, I really thought it would be impossible and that wasn’t what I set out to do when we hired the investigator). All total, the investigation and DNA testing will end up costing upwards of a couple of thousand dollars. A few times my husband has said “why are we doing this?” And I always reply- For our daughter. She may not want to do anything with the information we have gained now, but at least now it is hers to do with if/when she ever wants to. It is her right to know who her birthparents are. Every person should have that right.
    I hope that by returning to her home country and finding these answers before she hits the teen years we have helped in some measure to abate what is a turbulent time for every girl… but I will be prayerfully watching and listening and do everything I can to let her know that we are here and we love her and we aren’t afraid of the hard questions.
    Thanks so much for sharing what is in your heart so that I can better parent my daughter.



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