International Adoption Book

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why Don't You Adopt From Foster Care?

This question was posed to one of my Yahoo! groups. People ask me this all the time and I tend to give the same answer (a much more brief response than what is found below), but I thought I would post it here so that anyone else who is curious may be able to better understand the choices an adoptive faimly makes and why. Though this by no means covers every one's reasons, it does tend to cover a majority. Plus, this gives the public a great opportunity to know some point that they can make to their own givernment agencies to help fix a broken system! Enjoy the read. I hope it stirs up your emotions and makes you think about the life of an adoptive family and the lives of the children they love:

Dear Ma'am,

You touched on a subject that is close to my heart. Our son was adopted from foster care and we attempted to adopt two more beautiful little boys through foster care, as well. Unfortunately, those precious boys went to their bio-aunt who, after being legally free and placed with our family for 9 months specifically for adoption, suddenly decided she wanted them. Needless to say, we were heartbroken to such a degree that we felt as if our children died. We turned to International Adoption (China) and brought home our beautiful deaf daughter.

Having said that, I will express a personal opinion that I tell everyone who asks me this very same question: There are millions of children around the world who need loving homes and families. Each country and adoption program is unique with their own draw-backs, hurdles and rewards. Each individual family must consider what they can handle and make the choices that best fit their needs.

I can tell you that it can be extremely difficult to adopt children from with in our own country, far more so than through most other countries. Family members show up and decide they want the kids we, as adoptive families, have cared for and grown to love or birth parents suddenly change their minds after we've faithfully paid expenses and put our hearts on the line. Granted, these things can happen with any adoption, but it seems (in my experience) that those of us who want to adopt from within our own borders experience it far more. In addition, we are being shut out and dealt with as secondary entities by social workers, governments and biofamilies. Granted, the children must be their first priority, but somewhere we should have rights to be protected and be allowed to raise the children we've grown to love so much.

To make another point, families tend to adopt from locations that they feel drawn to. Our next adoption will most likely happen in Ethiopia, though that's not set in stone, because we feel that our next child is waiting there. We have to follow where our hearts lead. I don't question those who refuse to adopt or those who can't adopt. They have to follow their hearts and what is right for them just as we do.

With all that being said, I firmly believe that the foster and adoption laws in the US need to be changed and/or ammended to better protect adoptive families and the children they are adopting. I advocate for that to happen with letters to my congressmen/women and voicing my concerns to those who ask why I "don't adopt from the US foster care system". One day, children will be far better protected and adoptive families will be better represented, uniting two groups of people who dearly desire to be a family.

I realize that foster parents see the foster care system in a different light than those of us who have tried adopting these very special children. But, they don't see the hurt and the pain adoptive families go through due to the loss of a foster child who was placed with them for the purpose of adoption. We'll adopt again from foster care, but we're not ready to risk our hearts and souls like that again, yet.

The children in the US foster care system remain in my heart. But the government needs to take action to fix a very broken system! To give you an example, there was a 2 year old little girl in our local area who had been placed in foster care. Her maternal grandparents attempted to adopt her but the little girl's social worker decided they were "meddling" into her affairs and so advocated for them to not get her. They fought for a year to get her back and, finally, the judge allowed them to adopt her (because the reason for the social worker's denial was petty, unrealistic and done for personal reasons).

I hope this has given you some insight as to how a family chooses where to adopt a child from. And, I also hope it gives you, and others who want to help the children of our beautiful country, some good points to make with your own congressmen/women in order to help change the lives of these precious children.



Anonymous said...

Amen, sister!! I agree with every single word.

Heather said...

Well said.
Heather BT

Eugene said...

The world of foster care examined through the eyes of little children has stayed unspoken till now. Invisible Kids ( adds these experiences to light, makes a obliging case for providing resources and support to this vulnerable population and inspires each of us to make a difference in the lives of foster children.