Cruise Control

From the day they were adopted as babies, their lives have revolved around Tom – and he’s done everything in his power to keep it that way, even making sure he got primary custody when he split with their adoptive mother, Nicole Kidman. But now 20-year-old Bella and Connor, 18, are rebelling against Tom’s infamous “Cruise control”, and the megastar is devastated – and seemingly powerless to prevent it

Tom Cruise\'s kids out of control.

I know nothing about this family other than what I see in the media, nor does anyone else unless they are personal friends of the family. Viewed from afar it appears these young adults are doing what many young adults do when they attempt to live their own lives, assert their independence and establish themselves as people apart from those who raised them. They make their own choices, some good some not so good, just as we all did when we were 18 and 20. As someone once said there are no mistakes, only learning! Sadly some kids and the adoptees raised by celebs do so in the spotlight, with an unhealthy focus on their every move and without the freedom most kids have to do so anonymously. If their lives are expected to revolve around the adopter and do, then everything adult adoptees fear about the commodification and enslavement of a new generation of adoptees has come to pass. That must be very tough for young adoptees and add to the challenges of the adopted life. One of the many reasons I have never been in favour of celebrity adoption. However, I find the comments of one mother of loss on this situation very strange –
Natural justice is a wonderful thing and “Tom is really worried” – what a load of bullsh
Have I missed something here? Is their behaviour, looking fairly normal, as it does, regarded as some sort of punishment on the adopter and why wouldn’t Tom be worried if he likes to be in control or is a concerned, caring aparent? The idea that seems to be promoted so often by some mothers, that no-one can love and care for children but the mother who birthed them, is popular in some places, but not always born out (excuse the pun!) in reality.
Undoubtedly some adopters do not make good parents but equally some biological parents don’t either. There are many thousands of children unable to live with their biological families in Britain and America, Australia and anywhere there is a child protection system. In Australia children are not removed from their families unless there is very good cause. There are simply not the resources available to permit removal of children just on suspicion of abuse, neglect or dysfunction. There has to be concrete proof and it has to go before the Court. That leaves many children unprotected and vulnerable and far from being taken on the whim of a Social Worker, many are frustrated and powerless to do for many children what they know should be done to keep them safe.
While I have many criticisms of the adoption system and the adoption industry and have written many times about the fallibility of home studies/assessment, I do not believe adopters and potential adopters are devoid of feelings, are not concerned about adoptees in their care or are somehow second-rate people because they have made the choices they have. Some of them may be naive, misguided, badly researched, manipulated, vulnerable, taken advantage of, exploited, under-prepared or insufficiently thought out, but many of those things could be changed and for some are changed, as they learn more, question more and develop skills and confidence. The dedication of many adopters is without question, their committment often unshakeable and beyond that of some biological parents, because they have chosen their role. The adoptee community has many, many examples of where this is not the case and adoptees suffer and may even lose their lives in the hideousness of abuse. So many adult adoptees are now able to talk about their experiences that there can be no doubts about the abusiveness of adoption and the presence of loss and trauma, even for those relatively few adoptees for whom there was no alternative. Adoption is complex, childhood and growing up are complex and so is parenting, whoever you parent. Rather than tearing down the efforts of those who attempt it, wouldn’t we be better served by trying to support those who do it, build better resources and systems to keep children safe and well parented? In theory, adoption rates could drop dramatically if we were to put into parenting children well what it deserves and what children are entitled to.
I watched a program on organ donation last night. There was an explanation of the system in Spain where the donation rates are high, there are no dialysis units because everyone who needs a transplant gets one. The success of the system is attributed to good professional training and successful communication within families, communities and hospitals. If the same principles were applied to child rearing and parenting and we started to take them seriously, how dramatically we could change the outcomes for the next generations.

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