Thursday, June 3, 2010

Adoption: Not a Consolation Prize or a Badge of Liberalism

A blog post today was the straw that broke my back...people whining and complaining about how hard is to adopt!

Adoption – The Ultimate in Red Tape

An associate of mine finds it very interesting that any couple in this world, no matter how rich or poor, no matter what they do for a living, no matter if they have a criminal record or not, no matter what kind of persons they are, can have as many kids as they like and nobody can say one word about it.
But when a middle class, hard working, law abiding couple wants to adopt a child they have to jump through more hoops than a clown at a three ring circus. He wonders why.

What I find very interesting is that people question the scrutiny of selecting the best possible parent for any child in need of out-of-family care...and complain about the "hoops" they are forced to jump through as if children should be given out like consolation prizes for those whop fail the fertility olympics.

No, we cannot regulate procreation and limit it only to the educated, mature or financially stable. But to look at that disparagingly at those who can easily give birth is a simple case of jealous sour grapes!

Infertility is a grievous loss that creates untold emotional stress and feelings of guilt of failure as a man or a woman.  It is a sad, difficult to accept medical condition that in many cases is preventable. We need to focus on more prevention through education and better treatments as we do for many other serious medical losses such as blindness.

Children are not the cure and the adoption of a child needs to be in that child's best interest not to fill a demand. Taking a child from his family of origins is a big deal and causes permanent traumatic after effects. Children have a RIGHT to remain with their families and should never  be removed without due cause to protect them. Then extended family comes before any stranger's desire for a child. 

Children are not commodities and children needing adoption have been through the trauma of separation - even if at birth.  Many have been additionally institutionalized. Those who take on the responsibility need to be carefully vetted so we do not have more Tory Hansens sending kids back or abusing them.

Anyone who cannot understand and accept that needs to seriously rethink their motivation for adoption.

In a sea of "I want" I need" it was very refreshing to find a Christian blogger who "gets it." In "Dangerous Adoptions" reprints a post originally written by Paul and Robin Pennington for the Hope for Orphans April 2010 E-Newsletter. 

While it addresses adoption driven by "an ever-increasing consumerist American church" that has produced "families who see adoption as a new badge of spirituality."  The same can also be said of "badges of liberalism" that drives a great deal of interracial adoption, rather than adoption spurred on by  by infertility.

The red flags the article identifies apply to all who seek to adopt no matter what the motivation:
...pursuing adoption as a mission, wanting to please God as a result of sins of the past, desiring a sister or brother for a biological child, or thinking it will help a struggling marriage. Orphaned children do not want or need to be a mission, an act of atonement, a companion strategy or a marriage enhancer….no, they want and need what every child wants and needs…..a mom and dad that loves them unconditionally. Motives that are not geared towards the “unconditional” love of a child, but rather focused more on meeting a need in the parent(s) are dangerous.

It is a sign of a more “me-centered” Christianity that leads to adopting special needs children as a means of getting into the “express lane”. This sort of thinking, which minimizes or dismisses the true needs of hurt children and doesn’t take the time to count the costs, has led to an 8-year-old who sits today confused in a Russian hospital.
To get a bit corny - there is neither an "M" nor an "E" in adoption!  If you are putting your on needs and desires first and approaching adoption with a shopping list of what you are and are not willing to accept - which, unfortunately adoption agencies ENCOURAGE are entering into the process with the wrong mindset. Those able to have children naturally have some amount of choice in selecting out gender and genetic defects. they can chose not to carry the pregnancy through, not have that child and take their chances on another pregnancy. But once a child is born to them and it has unexpected difficulties, they don't get to send them back or sue adoption agencies for misleading them. Parents deal with the unexpected every day and those not willing to should not try to parent by any means.

Dr. Phil yesterday (6/2/10) focused on mothers who empathized with Torry Hansen because they too had adopted from eastern Europe and had 'difficult" children. One mother, Jodi Bean who wrtote Love Lessons: Understanding, Learning, and Finding Purpose While Raising Challenging Children, admitted to smacking nd pulling her daughter's hair out of her frustration with the child's behavior (as I shuddered in horror) and repeatedly said that she shadto learn not to take the child;s behavior personally.  

Another mother, identified simply as "Anne" when asked what she would do differently said: "I should have run" when she was told the child she had an opportunity to adopt might have same difficulty bonding because of having been institutionalized. She said she didn't because she was afraid she wouldn't be given another child.

These two mothers have stuck it out (though I feel for their children, especially if and when they ever see a tape of the show.)  And despite their fortitude under difficult situations,  how are adoptions that are carried out this in any way as cats of desperation and not with realistic expectations and preparedness superior to "anyone giving birth"?  And pray tell why adoptive parents should not be more carefully scrutinized when this is what they are up against today?  

I have bean asked form time to time if and why I hold adoptive parents to higher standards.  Here's why in a simple, basic analogy: if you bought a product or service and it was defective or ineffective, would you not do more diligent research when looking for a replacement?  Adoptive parents are replacements for parents who are unable to do the job.  They need to be better thanMothers who relinquish voluntarily are promised adopters will be "better" or what's the purpose of relinquishing? And every child deserve the optimum care that can be found to meet his or her specific needs, not the needs of those wanting a child as a trophy.


Von said...

Too right, great post!

Amanda said...

I loved that blog entry by the Christian adoption blog too.

I checked out more of their writings though and they don't "get it" as much as we had thought. Among other things that bothered me was when they were describing the hardships that Adoptive Parents go though, including "losing a child to a birthmother who decided to parent." I had to roll my eyes at that one. The righteous entitlement to the children of others is absolutely astounding (click the "abortion" tags, it's in like the third or fourth entry that pops up).

Mirah Riben said...


Not surprised at all. And, to be honest, for them that is a loss. that's because of the system that sets them up with a "match" before they should and sets expectations in motion for both parties to endure the deal is made and the mediator gets the fee!

No one should be meeting one another until after the birth and the baby is seen and held - even breastfeed.

That would avoid such disappointments, wouldn't it?

At least they worded it sensitively. years ago,when this pre-birth matching began, they used to say the couple was heartbroken when the mother "changed her mind and decided to keep the baby." Like she RENEGED on the deal...broke her PROMISE to them! Which is how the mothers are made to feel which is despicable.

It is one of the most coercive aspects of adoption today - worse than it was for us in the "old days" - the 60's - when we never met anyone but the agency workers. I never, ever felt I was giving anyone a gift. i had no thoughts whatsoever about "all the deserving couples" vying for babies. I think that is simply added pressure. My only thoughts were how can I take care of child alone? Who will help me?

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget