First off full disclosure – I was adopted at the age of three months, in a closed adoption (no names exchanged, biological and adoptive parents never met, records sealed for privacy), but was never in foster care as it exists today so far as I am aware. I don’t even know much about the agency that took care of or placed me for that matter.
Second, I would like to take a moment the thank those who have advocated for adoption and the foster care system, shown support, or at least a sympathetic ear. No, I’m not talking about people like Madonna or Angelina Jolie. I’m happy they’ve provided loving homes for those lacking them, mind you. But what about the kids right here in our own country that also need such a home?!? I’m talking about people like Nia Vardalos (@niavardalos, IMDB), Virginia Madsen (@madlyv, IMDB), and Melissa Gilbert (@MelissaEGilbert, IMDB ). And of course the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Nia and Virginia might happen to be stars, but they just seem to GET the whole scene. Melissa is a star and gets it too, but she’s also a fellow adoptee.
This blog post isn’t about adopting from people who are pregnant. This is in regards to adopting kids from other countries. Although people who feel the need for a surrogate mother to give birth to a baby for them mystify me for a whole different set of reasons. If you don’t have strong ties to a religion that disallows adoption, who cares? Nurture is as or more important than nature, so who really cares whom the biological parents are and why does it matter?!? Isn’t being a good parent more important than who the sperm and egg originators were?
Let’s start with something the vast majority of us are concerned about or should be: MONEY. Economically well off or not, why would you want to spend untold THOUSANDS of dollars to adopt a child from another country when there might be one right down the street from you? Foster care offers the chance to adopt for low to no cost in every state I’m aware of. If you can adopt from abroad for under FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS (including all travel, lodging, supplies, meals, permits, visas, and so on and so on) then you must have cut corners and/or done something illegal somewhere.
How do you know a “local” foster kid isn’t a better fit for your family? They’re from the same country, same state, maybe the same town, and possibly even the same darn neighborhood you are from. Seems to knock off many chances for not fitting into your family, doesn’t it?
Do you know they probably already speak the same language you speak? Nothing against kids or anyone from abroad, but speaking the same language (for those old enough to speak anyway) would seem to greatly facilitate the bonding and settling in process, no? How would it make you feel to find your new child sobbing uncontrollably while holding their abdomen and not even be able to speak the same language to find out why and console them?
Oh, you wanted an infant? Nope, you don’t have to go outside the good old USA to get an infant either. When I took the classes that Massachusetts DSS provides to prospective foster/adopt parents, they drilled into us, at every class, that the chances of an infant were slim. Yet the first three times they wanted to place children with us the kids were infants. Obviously this is not the norm, but it happens. Which means infants are out there. Being a strong candidate must increase your chances significantly.
You know what, though? For every infant needing a family, there must be ten or more older kids who are ready to give their love to you. Toddlers are fun too. Preschoolers are awesome – just think, no more diapers! School age kids are wondrous – it’s AMAZING to watch them learn things and apply that knowledge, and being able to help with chores doesn’t hurt much either!
No passport or current immunizations? Doesn’t seem like an issue if you adopt from foster care. Going to a third world country? Oh yeah, add to cost, time, and likely pain in the butt factor. And you may have to go two or three times (or more), depending on any given country’s random and constantly changing rules and your adoption agency’s interpretations thereof.
What? I need to get an adoption agency? OH YEAH. And most don’t work for free, so you’ll be paying them too. Might even need an attorney as well. My that sounds… inexpensive (he said with an excessive amount of sarcasm in his voice). Nothing against adoption agencies and adoption attorneys. They do a fine job. But if you go foster adopt, it’s most likely part of the price… remember that low cost/no cost thing, right?
Foster adopt means that there are no issues with visas, permits, etc, at the Federal level. Since it’s usually RUN by an agency at the state level, there should be no issues there either.
Did you know that some countries can, will, and do disqualify people who are the wrong race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, or even not physically fit enough?
I can’t speak for all states, but I know Massachusetts and Washington make some level of health insurance available to the kids as well. How many third world countries will be providing you that option? In Washington state, the little buggers get better benefits than I do with the private plan I’m on. Whether you adopt abroad, here at home privately, or through foster care, you might well be adopting a child with special medical needs. So this can have a definite impact on your future financial viability!
Now the nasty one – you don’t want a “damaged” kid. Excuse me while I go barf in the bathroom. Ok I’m back now. If you are so naive as to think adopting from abroad will get you a perfect child, I have to ask what color the sky is in your world? Get back on your medications and go back to your room in the psychiatric care facility too. If you need a child with no risk of psychological/emotional issues, then adoption isn’t for you. ANY adopted child, anywhere, anyhow, anywhen, runs the risk of having deep emotional disturbance due to the sheer fact that they have been abandoned by and/or removed from their biological parents, through no choice of their own, with no say so whatsoever. You think it wouldn’t bother YOU?!? *snort*
Yes, there are kids in foster care that have come from drug and alcohol addicted parents, some who’ve been physically abused, some who’ve been emotionally abused, some who have issues that may never be solved in spite of modern medicine and therapy. You have the same exact conditions abroad, an increased likelihood of them, and a much larger probability of poverty and all the problems (psychological/emotional, and physical) it inflicts on people of all ages. On top of all that, you now want to take that child and uproot them from everything they’ve known since birth? You do realize you’re rolling the dice here, and big time?
My heart goes out to those foreign kids, it truly does. They need a home too, there is no question about that. It really seems to me that the best potential outcome for a kid in need of a family is to stay in a culture they are used to. They have enough to deal with. If they are old enough to choose foreign adoption, then that’s another issue all together.
We also have an over flowing supply of the little buggers right here at home though. Kids like you grew up with. More than likely kids like you want. You just haven’t looked yet. AdoptUSKids.org – they have them in all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities. The child you want to adopt is there in foster care just waiting for you to find them.