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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Of Triads, Triangulation and Targets

target on backWhen it comes to adoption, many are the terms that new parents need to learn. Alphabet soup diagnoses from FAS to RAD and back again exist, along with the three big T’s: triads, targets and triangulation.

Thought to be an equilateral triangle, the adoption triad consists of birth mother, adoptee and adoptive parents. Nothing equal about it in most cases. Depending on the situation, the adoptive parents may try to involve the birth parent in the life of the adoptee.

That can be a mistake.

That can be a blessing.

Your mileage may vary wildly.

Never mind the many adoption conferences that try to reduce relationships to one-size-fits-all. The circumstances of adoption are often individual and unique and never the twain shall meet. You have to figure out what’s best, not for you as parents, but for the child. In cases of abuse, neglect and trauma, it may be best to leave the past in the past.angry-teen

Which leads us to triangulation. This describes the delicate dance that adoptees use to manipulate, consciously or unselfconsciously, their adoptive parents. The child, large or small, pits a-mother against a-father, with himself or herself square in the middle.

Just where they want to be.

I’m important, I matter, after all, there are people fighting over me.

It usually involves the child sidling up to the a-father, being super-nice and sweet to him, while treating the mother like trash. He generally does not see the real situation nor scenario and tends to believe the child’s stories over his spouse’s stories or version of real life events.

teen_parents_arguingThe wife is provoking or mistreating the adopted child.


And the child laughs and delights in the utter chaos that they have wreaked upon the adoptive home.

See? They have power after all. They are not a mere pawn in life. They can make you jump and scream and yell.

Which brings us to targets.

If you are blessed to be the adoptive mother, you will, many times, have a big, fat target on your backside.

No, forget about having a target. You ARE the target.http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21010044

All that is wrong in the world will fall upon your shoulders. Somebody has to be blamed for the wrongs and injustices in life, particularly regarding adoption, and it will 99% of the time fall upon your shoulders should your child have “issues”. You will be the one to blame.

You are near and dear, you are the safe one to dump on. So get ready to live in a refuse heap of abuse. Sometimes. Frequently. Most of the time.

Doesn’t always happen that way. Our first was good as gold. No overt issues. A few things. Nothing major.

The other three? Lotta problems. Yet, still, not so much when compared with other  tugof_war_teensa-families and their siutations. But when you’re in the heat of things, comparing your situation is not so comforting. However, it can be. You’ll be doing a lot of comparing, even for those of us who never much cared about what others did or did not do with their families.

You will care. And you will learn new vocabulary. You will fight for a new normal.

And you will survive and hopefully thrive in the midst of it all.


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