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20/20 ran a program tonight entitled, From Russia With Love -- Dealing With Difficult Adoptions, which focused on adoptees, especially Russian adoptees, who are struggling with adjusting to their new families.

Tanya and Mike Mulligan opened up to 20/20 and allowed their children's and their family's struggles to be filmed. The couple have adopted 3 children from Russia and 2 of the 3 suffer from multiple diagnosis's. They have a lawsuit pending against the adoption agnecy for not disclosing their children's needs before making the adoption final.

I watched 20/20's latest installment with much interest since the topic was adoption. You just never know how adoption will be portrayed and while I don't want to pass judgment on this struggling family, I thought there were opportunities for learning that may benefit other adoptive parents, things we can all learn from the Mulligan family.

Did you watch 20/20? If so, what did you think?

I learned more after I interviewed the couple. Check out highlights from my phone conversation with Mike and Tanya Mulligan for more answers.

A special thank you to Christopher Hilt, adoptive father of 2 Russian adoptees, for the heads up on this 20/20. His ex-wife Peggy Hilt was interviewed on this 20/20 episode and Christopher Hilt provided a few snapshots of Nina for the show.


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December 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm
(1) ANNon says:

I am saddened that some other parents are being critical of this family’s actions. I think the worst thing about adopting in these situations is to come in unprepared. If some potential parents are dissuaded by this–GOOD! How would they possibly manage the shock of the situation if they’d had no idea it could be that way?

As an adoptive parent of an older child myself, I know that the process is NOT the same as having a biological baby, although we were told this by so many well-intentioned people. I am very glad that I read about troubled adoptions beforehand, because it prepared me when my son would resort to biting, hitting, head butting, etc. and we were able to get through it. I also learned some of his native language first, and it was a huge help, although so many adoption workers said “don’t worry, he’ll learn your language soon.”

I am especially glad to see problems with some of these _agencies_ highlighted. I know our family’s experience was one of writing check after check, with no assistance when he came home and problems arose. Guess what? More checks for someone else, because they weren’t obligated to help us except filing a piece of paperwork. People **need** to be prepared for the reality, or more unfortunate incidents will occur; there are far worse stories out there than this family’s, sadly.

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