Our family’s adoption was far from perfect, although for the moment it seems to have ended better than Hansen’s. Of course, we still don’t know how it really ends. Even if my adopted daughter turns out fine, there are the other children to consider — my three-year-old biological son may spend years on the couch because my adopted daughter displaced him; either my older son or my older daughter could seek the love and affection they lost this past year in a cult or a series of destructive one-night stands. We won’t know until we know (and we’ll never know what might have been different).
With the publicity surrounding his return, Hansen’s adopted son will surely be taken in by some Russian family, and no matter what’s said about it publicly, that will not be a smooth sail down the Nile. Probably none of it will work out as anyone would have intended — in fact, by definition, it already hasn’t. A perfect world would be one in which every child could be well cared for by the mother he or she was born to. That’s not what we’ve got. A “successful” adoption story is one in which you can tell yourself that it worked out better than the alternative. That has to be enough.