Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why We Didn't Choose Domestic Adoption

One of the criticisms that international adoption gets is that we should take care of the children in the United States first.  Some go so far as to say things like this:

"As someone who has been adopted, I am offended that you would not first look at adopting a child from here at home in the US,  . . . .
What about the 15 year old here at home who needs to be adopted but isn't because he/she has medical issues? For you to bypass your fellow citizens makes ME sick.  . . .
I feel that you are part of the despicable "baby market". It disgusts me that instead of adopting a sick child from here at home, that you essentially BOUGHT a child from abroad."
(You can see the whole post here.  It is in one of the comments.)

Pretty harsh, huh?
     We wanted to adopt from the US.  We looked into it.  We were told that the children in our state that needed to be adopted were over the age of eight with traumatic pasts.  Since our oldest was six at the time and our youngest was only 18 months we decided that would not be a good idea.  Too many chances that an older child could abuse the kids like he had been abused before.  Plus the older boys had pretty strong ideas about remaining the oldest.  More recently we checked into it again.  No one from the agency bother to respond to my request for information.
     When we did explore adopting a waiting child from the United States, we were told we could become foster parents and then IF our foster child became available for adoption we could apply to adopt.  We wanted to be parents and could not really commit ourselves to reuniting the birth family.  (We would have never undermine a reunification plan, we just had a different goal.) 
     Frankly, the foster care system did not need the kind of adoptive parents that we were.  Our kids were too young, especially when you consider that many social workers advise adopting in birth order.  There are plenty of people to adopt the youngest children.  We would have waited ages before getting a placement.  There is not need to demonize people who examined their options and decided that they would not be good parents for a certain type of child.  Not everyone can parent every child.  I know tons of people who would not have wanted to adopt a child with sever limb differences, but that was fine with us. 
     So keeping in mind that a) we wanted to adopt an AMERICAN child in need but b) were not good candidates we proceeded to international adoption.  Children in other countries deserve a family just as much as American children.
     By the way, I did not buy a child.  No one ever promised me a child.  In fact there were heaps of warnings that a child was not guaranteed.  People can and do go home empty handed.  I paid social workers for a home study.  I paid  doctors.  I paid notaries.  I paid the US government for fingerprints, visas, apostilles, and FBI background checks.  I paid lawyers fees.  I paid an orphanage fee for food, clothes, speech therapists, medicine, and  caregiver salaries.   I paid the driver and the translator.  I did not buy my son. 

P.S.  The "Baby Market"--  Yes there has been and still is corruption in the adoption world.  We are a fallen people and we sin.  Everyone in adoption should be working to protect the innocent children and families, but  it is becoming nigh on impossible to adopt a young healthy child from any country.  The last I heard in the US there are 10 prospective parents for every newborn to be adopted.  The wait for a "healthy" Chinese baby in 4-6 years, and many agencies do only special needs adoption.  The Philippines and Bulgaria are the same way. 
     Special needs children can spend years unwanted.  My son did.  They are seen as defective or cursed or their birthparents are unable to afford medical care for them.  People in their country usually do not want a child with expensive-to-treat medical condition who will not be able to go to school or get a job later in life.  They will be institutionalized for life.  They are "the poorest of the poor," as Mother Teresa put it.  The unloved.  The unwanted.  There is no "market" for these children and they deserve a family as much as any child from this country.

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