Friday, December 3, 2010

My Thoughts on Adoption

Take a moment to put yourself in the following scenario:

You were born to a single mother who died giving birth to you. There were no family members to take you in, so you were put in foster care 1 week after you were born.

For 5 years, you were in and out of foster care, never spending longer than a year with the same foster parents.

Each and every time you move to a new home, you watch the children in the neighborhood around you come and go from their home, where their mother makes their lunch for them ever day, tells them stories and cleans their scrapes and cuts, and their father takes them fishing, or camping, or just tosses a ball back and forth with them in the yard. You watch the hugs they get from their parents after a long day at work or school, and you see the relationship they have with their siblings. It makes you sad, as you often wonder what it's like to have "real" parents who love you and don't just throw you back into the system whenever they please. You wonder what it's like to have parents who would take care of you not just because they are getting extra money from the state to do so, but because they love you. You hold on to a glimmer of hope that one day, a man and a woman might come and choose you to be their love, to tell stories to, to throw the ball with. "One day it will happen" you think to yourself as you stare down at your torn shoes.

One day, a visitor from the state shows up, and advises that there is a couple who are interested in adoption. They are interested in spending some time with you to see if there is a chance you could be the one they need to complete their family. You are overcome with much so you could almost shout. You spend the days leading up to the visit, not being able to sleep, or think about anything else other than the thought of having an actual family who will love you and care for you. You are beside yourself with excitement. The big day comes, and your social worker picks you up, and lets you know that you will be spending the day at the house of the couple who are interested.

You are nervous...and excited. You are nervous because you are worried you won't make a good enough impression on them, and excited at the possibilities that lay ahead. You arrive, and experience something you've never felt before. The family treats you like their own. You have conversations with them, telling them all your likes, and dislikes, and how much you want a mommy and daddy who love you. The woman tells you stories, and her husband takes you out back to toss the's everything you've ever wanted, and it is right there within your grasp. Before you know it, you're fun filled day of excitement is over, and the social worker is back to pick you up and take you back to your foster home. She tells you that there is something that the family is working out, but that you should know something within a few days, and if all goes well, hopefully you will move in with them and finally become part of a new family.

The next few days go by slower than any days you have ever experienced. Again, you are excited, and nervous all at the same time. Then comes the phone call. The social worker is calling to let you know that the family has chosen to pass on you and that you'll be staying in foster care. "Why?" you ask shocked and rejected, wondering what might be wrong with you.  The social worker then explains that the "thing" the family was trying to work out was actually a decision on whether or not to adopt you, or adopt an orphan from another country. They chose the latter, choosing instead to adopt a child from Indonesia.

Now, if you were the child in this story, how might you be feeling right now? Hurt? Rejected? Angry? Sad? Depressed? Hopeless?

Unfortunately this is becoming a more and more common occurrence. When Hollywood got involved (see: Angelina Jolie among others), adopting a foreign child started becoming more popular, not only in Hollywood, but in mainstream America as well. You started seeing people adopt foreign born children, and treat them more like an accessory than an actual child. Having an adopted child from another country has even become somewhat of a status symbol, with many people trying to brag about what "good and compassionate" people they are because they "rescued" this foreign child. It gives them a chance to snub their noses at everyone else as if to say "look at me...look what I did." A sure sign that it is more of a fad than anything else, is a conversation I had with a girl I once knew. She was in college, and every time I was around her, she wanted to point out to everyone in the room that when she got out of college and got married, she was going to adopt, but that she wasn't going to adopt just "any baby"...she was going to adopt an Asian baby. When asked why she wanted an Asian baby, her only response was that she just thought it would be "neat" to have an Asian baby.

Now...nothing against Asian children, or Indonesian children, or any other child for that matter, but my point is, that there are too many orphaned children in America for people to adopt foreign children. While the "fad" of adopting a foreign child as an "accessory" seems to be all the rage, especially in Hollywood, people need to realize that millions of American children are sitting helplessly with no one to love them. They would do anything...ANYTHING for a loving family and it's a travesty that some people would rather ignore them for a child in another country. Whats worse, is that those adopting foreign children are in many instances the same ones who are screaming about how America needs to take care of it's own less fortunate instead of worrying about giving aid to people in other countries. Talk about speaking from both sides of your mouth. They want to scream and yell about how we aren't taking care of our own down and out, but then they turn around and spend their money on adopting a foreign child, with which they will essentially use as nothing but a status symbol or fashion accessory, all the while ignoring the orphaned children in their own if a child from another country is somehow "better." 

Now, and I saying that all foreign adoptions are bad? No. I believe there are some instances where it is an acceptable practice, however for the most part, as long as there are neglected, unloved and orphaned children in America, they need to be our priority when we think about adoption. Not only do I believe that they need to be our priority, I believe it's the right thing to do. Always have...always will-reason being is because I myself was adopted. My parents could have chosen a child from overseas, and if they would have, who knows where I may have ended up. Fact of the matter is, they didn't choose that route. They chose to adopt a American child...and because of that decision, at least one American orphan received a loving home, that he didn't have to begin with, for whatever reason that may have been.

For those of you considering adoption, please at least take this into consideration when making your choice. I've heard some people say that one reason people choose to adopt from another country is because it's easier than adopting a child in America. Well, there are alot of easier ways to go about lots of things, but the easy way is not always the right way. Would it not be worth it for the extra effort to rescue an American child from a life of growing up in the system, and never knowing what "real love" really is? I think it is well worth it.

Will this post anger some people? Yea...I'm sure it will. Will I lose some friends because of my viewpoint on this? I hope not, but I guess if I lose a friend over it, it wasn't that good of a friend to begin with. But I'm ok with that. I make no apologies for my strong feelings on this matter. If you disagree, fine...we can just agree to disagree because I will not argue with someone on why adopting a foreign child might be better than adopting an American child. If there were a small amount of children in America that were orphaned, It would be different, but as long as there are as many as there are, there is no argument that will sway me. You wanna say something about taking care of our own as a country? Put your money where your mouth is.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I absolutely agree that a lot of people out there adopt children from other countries because it's a trend. Some people think adopting foreign children makes them look cultured and open minded. However, I have to say that it is sometimes easier to adopt children from other countries because of legal issues here in the US. I used to work in child care and one of the moms I met there adopted a child from central america because she had, had two failed attempts at US adoptions. The first baby she lost because the mother changed her mind at the last moment. The second child she lost because its paternal grandmother wanted custody. Both of these children were put in her home and both were taken away from her. It was just easier to adopt outside of the US. All she wanted was a baby. Not to say that you are this way, but it frustrates me that a lot of people out there act like its wrong for Americans to adopt non-American children. At least parentless children are getting families.