An unthinkable story of love

Devin Rose has written a harrowing account of their adoption story.  It begins,

Several years ago we adopted three children. We are no longer their parents. This is the story of what happened.

Everyone should read this.  Everyone.  It is so important.  It’s not only about adoption, it’s about making decisions in love.  God bless Devin and Katie and all of the children they love and care for.  I am so grateful to them for having the courage to express these dreadful truths so clearly.

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  • Katie Rose

    Wow, thanks a ton, Simcha! We
    crashed and burned for many reasons, including our own inexperience and
    immature expectations. Even so, I would still do it all over again. Devin and I grew deeply in love, trust, and communication skills, and our
    family was blessed to love three beautiful children for three years. We
    will always be in their lives, and love is never wasted. As Pope John Paul II said so many times, “Do not be afraid.” We put out into the deep and let down our nets for a catch, and the rest is up to God.

    • BadMF

      God bless you. As a child, my siblings and I went through several foster homes before we were adopted into separate families. You did prepare those kids, and you made solid, good choices.

    • Claire

      Katie, I commented on Devin’s blog, but I am grateful for the opportunity to tell you personally how much I admire the two of you for your love, generosity and humility. You have been an incredible blessing to these three children on their journey. I used to love your blogposts, and I hope that someday you return to blogging.

      • Katie Rose

        Hi, Claire! I do blog again, these days at Come say hello. 🙂

        • Claire

          Thanks Katie, I will check it out!

  • Kelly

    almost decided not to adopt because of “horror stories” like this (for
    lack of a better term because I think there is no one at fault in this story, it’s just heartbreaking to read). We ended up deciding to adopt and we are so
    glad we did!

    For anyone reading this story who might be considering adoption, be sure
    not to abandon the idea of adoption altogether. What is important to is
    educate yourself, take the time to truly ask yourself what you can
    handle, what your family dynamic is like, etc. I recommend this course
    from Adoption Learning Partners which is currently free for this month.

    • Katie Rose

      Well said, Kelly. Devin and I did not share our story to scare people away from fostering or adoption. Rather, we wish that every couple who is considering foster-adoption knew what
      we did not know. I think that every foster parent should be equipped
      with the following terms: attachment disorder, sensory integration
      disorder, and PTSD. In my experience,
      those were the three biggies. I think that, if every foster parent was
      aware of these issues, knew what signs to look for, and was prepared to
      get their child the appropriate help and support if needed, there would
      be far fewer stories like ours.

  • richard

    Thanks for this link to Devin’s detailed testimony.

  • Jenni

    It is an awesome post by Devin. (I met him and Katie once, so I’ll call him Devin.) Everybody should read it, whether you are interested in adoption or not, whether you have kids or not.

  • Eileen

    I’m in two minds about this story. Not because of the outcome – believe me, no judgment here – but because the only time we hear of attachment difficulties is in cases like this one where the adoption has been disrupted. However, I’m always thrilled whenever attachment difficulties are publicly discussed. I’m a huge advocate of adoption – however, the way it’s often presented as all hearts and flowers is a mistake. Adopting a child older than your oldest child or changing the birth order in a family is almost always a mistake. And pushing adoption on women whose only supposed disqualifications for parenting are that they are young and single is in my opinion the biggest mistake of all.

    Our now 8 year old son joined our family at a year of age. I am his third mother. He had suffered physical and (we believe likely) sexual abuse. Because I was an experienced parent when our son entered our home, I knew he wasn’t properly attached, but the depth of his issues didn’t really present themselves until he was 4 and I’d given birth to two more children. And then the issues came on with a lifesucking vengeance for the next two years. Most of his rage was naturally directed at me, his primary caretaker, and as a result of his rage and my difficulties dealing with it, our other children were impacted in various ways. I wish I had known that the signs for what we would be going through were all there from our son’s toddlerhood. I would have better prepared our older children for the onslaught and made different choices regarding our RAD son’s schooling.

    I want everyone to know that for most of these RAD children, there is hope – it sounds here like the twins and Alice are on road to recovery with families better equipped to deal with their issues. Although our son’s emotional scars will always be there, he is a healed and well attached little boy. Our family is living proof that the hellish affliction of RAD is curable. We’re very blessed that our now sweet and gentle son is able to verbalize his emotional needs and, yes, he is needier than most. But thankfully today that generally means he needs more hugs and physical affection 🙂

    • Katie Rose

      Well said, Eileen. If Devin and I were to ever adopt again, which I can’t imagine happening, we would know what we were actually facing and hit the ground running. We wished with all of our hearts that we could have fought RAD and won. We did not want to place our three children in new families. We knew that placing them would only compound their RAD. But, we also know that the best chance they had of overcoming RAD was in new families where, as Devin said in his article, they could be the youngest by several years, have older siblings who would multiply the love and good-behavior modeling, and where they would have parents who were mature and stable enough to win their hearts. RAD is curable, but, in our case, it would have won. We loved our adopted children too much to let that happen. We loved them enough to place them with new families, suffering all the persecution that entailed, so that they would have a chance for a life of love and real attachments. God bless!

  • AnnM

    I spent all weekend debating whether to comment on this account. First let me say I am a mother of 5 special needs children, 4 by adoption. So in a limited sense I am an expert on International adoption and medical special needs. I couldn’t help but notice that Devan and Katie Rose do not mention considering for a moment giving up the children gifted them through birth. So, what we really have here is just another slap in the face to adoptive families. In essence we are being told that we are not a real family and that our adopted children do not have the same rights to us as our birth children. It was after a stunt like this, a woman put her adopted son on a plane and sent him back to Russia, that Russia discontinued allowing International adoption. Frankly who can blame them. Consider for a moment all those children left to rot in orphanages and all those families who longed for them even started the adoption program all to have it ended primarily by the actions of one woman. The woman in question, just like Devan and Katie Rose justified her actions saying she wasn’t prepared for how troubled and angry her child was. Wasn’t prepared! Is there any new parent who is prepared for their new life as a parent? So far I have never met one. Those of you who commiserate with Devan and Katie Rose do you also commiserate with the couple who give up the children born to them who have mental and emotional special needs. Probably not! This is a huge part of the burden the rest of you dump on adoptive families. The truth is so many people do not see adoptive families as real families. This worlds brokenness and failure to love do not have to define us. Devan and Katie Rose, what you have done is a cruel sin against the children you had made a covenant with. A sacred trust. I have pity for you that adoption, infertility and special needs are a hard road. I know!!!! But you have made my road a little harder and I don’t appreciate it.
    I realize this is a longish and probably unpopular rant, so be it. We pay all this lip service to being pro-life and pro-adoption but when push comes to shove what is it we really believe. Next time you meet an adoptive family don’t ask if their kids are real siblings. I just might slap your face if you do.

    • Claire

      Ann, you are being really unfair. I am also an adoptive mother to a child who I couldn’t possibly be more bonded to if I had given birth to him. We are a real family. He and his bio mother were also a real family, but she placed him for adoption because she was not in a position to meet his needs. The parent of one of my son’s school friends placed her autistic (biological) son for adoption because she had three other children and could not meet his needs. Katie and Devin realized that they could not meet the needs of these three children, whose RAD was extensive enough that they needed much more individualized attention than what could be provided by a family with 5 children. No, they did not give up the children who were gifted to them by birth, because they were more than able to provide the needs of those children. The three children that they were humble and generous enough to place in new families, are now in environments better suited to meet their needs. This does not make Devin and Katie anti-life or anti-adoption.

      • AnnM

        I probably wouldn’t have bothered to comment on this post if even one other person had expressed any hesitation or concern for these children. Anna says that Devon and Katie are still pro adoption. Really!!! A show of hands who is thinking about doing foster care or adoption after reading this “Testimonial”.

        This is just one more story of a couple who decide to adopt because of fertility issues. They find out adoption is very very hard. Proceed to get pregnant and then put their birth children first. One more example of the hardness of our hearts and the brokenness of our world. It will not escape these childrens’ notice that this couple rejected their adopted children of color but keep their white birth children. How would you feel in their place? This was certainly a heartbreaking story but my heart breaks for these children, all 5 of them. I am left wondering why no body else in the comments worried about them at all. That is a tragedy!

        • simchafisher

          AnnM, I am very sorry for your struggles. God bless you for giving so much of yourself for your children. I don’t doubt that there are some adoptive parents who are cold-hearted and racist,, and I don’t doubt that you have come across terrible people who say callous things about your children.

          But you are making some extremely serious public accusations against people you don’t know. Your anger against the Roses is misplaced, and I am going to ask you to think hard before you continue with your comments.

          Katie and Devin surely knew that they’d be facing comments like yours, but they chose to make their story (or at least part of it – I’m sure there is much more that is too private) public so that other families — yes, including the children — could be spared the pain that they went through when they tried to help those children.

        • Katie Rose

          Dear AnnM, I hear you. Your words of accusation and anger are just the sort that Devin and I heard when we decided to place our adopted children. And, what you are saying about us is wrong. We did not love our adopted children less than our bio children. And, we did not love them less because they had coffee-colored skin. That is an ugly accusation, and I refuse it.

          If we had loved our adopted children less and cared more about our family image, about being “heroes” in the world’s eyes, we would not have placed them with new families. It was BECAUSE we loved them selflessly that we put their welfare before our good name.

          We wished with all of our hearts that we could have fought their RAD and won. I loved my three precious children, still do, and had to make the heartbreaking decision to place them; your condemnation mocks my sorrow. We did not want to place our three children in new families. We knew that placing them would only compound their RAD. But, we also know that the best chance they had of overcoming RAD was in new families where, as Devin said in his article, they could be the youngest by several years, have older siblings who would multiply the love and good-behavior modeling, and where they would have parents who were mature and stable enough to win their hearts. In our family, they were essentially triplets, and their disease triumvirate was winning.

          RAD is curable, but, in our case, it would have won and we would have all crashed and burned. We loved our adopted children too much to let that happen. We loved them enough to place them with new families, suffering all the persecution that entailed, so that they would have a chance for a life of love and healthy attachments.

          You may have the last word in this string. I will not reply further. Know that I cheer for you and your beautiful family and am so grateful that there are families out there like yours. I dreamed of having a family like yours and still ache every time I see Reece’s Rainbow, but that is clearly not God’s will for me. God bless!

          • AnnM

            Devin and Katie, I want to apologize to you. I had no right to say the things I said to you. It is all too easy for me to go into overdrive defending my children and by extension all adoptive children. We are an interracial adoptive family with our most recent adoptions happening within the last year. We do not have a martyr complex as some in these comments have implied. Every one of our children were adopted not so we could save them but because we love them. They are the most precious, holy and awe inspiring gift to our lives. I hope this helps you understand why your article would be so triggering for me. I do understand the struggles you faced and while I must acknowledge I would never make that same decision for my children I will not stand in judgement of you. God Bless. AnnM

          • Anna

            AnnM, I didn’t mean the three points I listed to be directed at you personally; I just meant that that was what I thought they were getting at in sharing their story as in some circles, adoption is presented as easy and something everyone should do because “first world problems” or something. And in Catholic circles, suffering is often viewed as a good per se, rather than something that God can bring good from but not a state to be sought or never mitigated. I truly didn’t mean to imply that you are not the best family for your children or that you haven’t discerned your path; I was just trying to clarify what I thought they were trying to share. (Honestly, I had in mind a family from a religion book I had in jr. high. They were held up as a marvelous example b/c they had 40 children, many adopted and about half with Down Syndrome. No two people can be parents for that many kids – and the profile pretty much admitted that with the description of the non-DS kids all being responsible for a child with DS. The book was trying to present the parents as examples of love and sacrifice, but that isn’t a family, it’s an orphanage.)

          • AnnM,

            Thank you for your conciliatory words. I can understand how unthinkable this is to you. And I hope you never have to face it.

            God bless,

          • Claire

            Ann, I just wanted to say that I admire your humility in apologizing to Devin and Katie, and also that I share your concern about adoption disruptions as well as many of the other concerns you brought up regarding adoption issue. Adoption disruptions should certainly be a last resort (the way it was for Devin and Katie, and the way it is for parents who decide that they can no longer parent their biological children in extreme situations). And the way some parents have handled adoption disruptions has been devastating to the adoption world (such as the mother who put her son on a plane back to Russia). I too get very upset when people imply or assume that parents can’t love their adopted children as much as biological children (although in the case of RAD I have to admit that I find it understandable that it would be more challenging to love a child who doesn’t love back). I still remember to this day comments that some friends and family members made when my plans to adopt were temporarily placed on hold by a twin pregnancy (which ultimately ended in miscarriage). Remarks like “this is so much better; these babies are really yours”, or “these babies come from you and your husband”. The remarks bothered me at the time, and bother me even more now, because it makes me realize that many of my friends and family see my family as less real than theirs, and don’t believe I could possibly love my son as much as they love their children, which is completely untrue. I tell myself that it doesn’t matter what other people think, but it still hurts. It’s along those lines of comments like “just adopt, then you’ll get pregnant”, as if the adoptive child is a consolation prize on the way to becoming a real parent. Anyway, I’m rambling, but I just wanted to say that I feel your pain and relate to much of what you said, I just felt that it didn’t apply to Devin and Katie’s situation.

        • AnnM,

          We had felt called to adopt even before we realized we had infertility problems. Further, I am bi-racial, and when I took the children to the supermarket, people told me how much they looked like me (their hair is a perfect match for mine, and not seeing my other half, they couldn’t know that they weren’t my bio children). So as Simcha and Katie said, the racist accusations are false and silly.

          You do not know all the options we considered. We didn’t list them. We considered many, especially the ones where we could remain the parents of ALL our children. The decision we ultimately made was what we wrote most about, because it was what the final decision was.

          Adoptive families should have all the information made available to them. We should not be afraid to tell stories both easy and difficult about adoption. The disservice is done when this does not happen, and when children are placed with families in an imprudent manner. No one benefits in such situations.

          God bless,

    • Eileen

      AnnM – I’ll be honest, I was also struck that the idea of having someone else raise their biological child, even temporarily, was never mentioned. There can be no question that switching families again set back those adopted children on their long journey to wholeness. I also worry that stories such as these give permission to adoptive parents to disrupt a difficult placement.
      On the other hand, I remember those times during my lowest points when my 3 year old would pound his fists onto his 5 year old RAD brother while shouting, “You be nice to my momma!!!” And I was secretly glad he was doing it. My RAD son, who truly could not help himself, deserved better than that and so did my 3 year old.
      With God’s help and the help of internet support groups, we came through those dark days. But I remember how it was and how I understood for the first time in my life how people are seduced into paths of alcoholism, other addictions, and maybe even child abuse. You and I weren’t there and we can’t know what was appropriate for this family – best to leave judgment of these things up to God

    • Anna

      I think it’s unfair of you to compare a woman dumping her child alone on an international flight to the Roses carefully finding the right families for their children. They said many times that they are not trying to discourage families who are called to adopt from adopting. What they are saying is: 1) not everyone is supposed to adopt (or supposed to adopt All The Kids!), 2) you have to look rationally at whether what you are doing is actually serving the people you are supposed to serve or just *sounds* virtuous, and 3) God gave you nerve endings so you wouldn’t stand there with your hand on a hot stove because you’re “carrying your cross and offering it up” – treat your (and your children’s) emotional nerve endings the same way.

  • Guest

    Not everyone is as stupid as the folks in these comments. Just take a look at this.

    • simchafisher

      What do you imagine that story has in common with the Roses’ story?

  • Deimos

    Wow, that story is just ….. Wow.
    Thanks for bring it to us Simcha, I need to think about it some more and pray a lot.

    God bless you Mr & Mrs Rose and your Children. I have no hope of ever matching your Faith and Trust in God but I will try.