Saturday, January 30, 2010

What do you think?

There are some real difficulties adopting from foster care. One is lack of interstate cooperation as outlined in this Huffington Post by Jeff Katz.

But clearly there are other reasons that phones in adoption agencies all across the country have been  "ringing off the hook" to adopt haitian orphans as reported: here, here, here, here, here...and here, to cite just  few.

All, while 129,000 kids in U.S. foster care - of a total of half a million - who COULD be adopted, are ignored.

Some reasons include:
  • international adoption is romanticized and popularized by celebs
  • a belief that younger children are avaulable transnationally
  • a belief that they are less "damaged"
  • worry about "bad blood"e.g. criminal tendencies, substance abuse, prostitution 
  • more exotic to speak of your child being "rescued" from a foreign orphanage than from your home city
  • more chic to learn Mandarin or become familiar with African culture than to learn Eubonics or share rap music
  • certainly more classy to have an expensive import than an almost totally free domestic, one that might even come with subsidies and have others wonder if you are "poor" 
  • more distance between you and your child's family is "safer" - avoids the possibility of a knock on your door and your kid (horrors) knowing the truth!
What do YOU think?

    5 comments:

    triona said...

    I think a lot of it has to do with the distance--the fact that original families are easier to dismiss if they are a world, a language, and a culture away. In fact adoption agencies tout this as a benefit to international adoption. There is definitely the "class" factor too, as in it's chic to adopt internationally but crass to take in domestic foster kids. And the tabula rasa effect is also part of it, the fact that kids from other countries are often younger. Even when they're not, erasing their cultures and making them "American" effectively makes them tabula rasa no matter how old they are.

    Jeff Katz said...

    I think all of those things are true for some people. Racism is certainly a factor (Chinese girls vs. African boys), but... I honestly believe that many, many, many Americans simply find International adoption to be an easier path than adopting from foster care.

    And I think money is at the heart of it. I think adoption is big business. Call up a private agency about adopting a child from China and they will treat you like a valued customer. Call up a public agency and nobody benefits financially. If everyone at a public agency had a financial stake in whether there kids were adopted, I guarantee you, they would answer the phone differently.

    If you were to pay each child's worker a $2,000 bonus for every child on their caseload, I promise you that no kid in America would age out. (Not what I'm advocating. I'm very aware of the unintended consequences).

    I am very interested in doing a study of people adopting internationally to learn what percentage had inquired about adopting from foster care and what their experiences were.

    AdoptAuthor said...

    Jeff Katz is Executive Director, http://ListeningtoParents.org

    The goal of Listening to Parents is to eliminate the unnecessary barriers that prevent qualified, loving parents from adopting children in foster care.

    I of course believe that adoption should be the last resort for children after all efforts to find their family has been exhausted, whether they are in Haiti or U.S. foster care.

    Joan M Wheeler said...

    yes, pre-adoptive and adoptive parents of foreign-born adoptees still believe that distance matters. I've heard the same mantra repeated since the early 1980s. What boggles the mind is, how can these people NOT see that their love for their adoptees is CONDITIONAL? Isn't love supposed to be UNCONDITIONAL?

    AdoptAuthor said...

    The ironic things is that a number who adopt transnationally for that very reason, regret not being able to tell their children more about their families.

    The shame is that adoption, being privatized and entrepreneurial, no one gets proper counseling beforehand.

    RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

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    RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

    Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

    Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

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    Adoption and Truth Video

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