Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Obligatory National Adoption Month Post

(Day Two - I'm already at a loss... not really of content, just a lack of energy really. I have lots of things I want to post about, a list actually! But I am absolutely worn out at the end of the work days recently. So, tonight's post might be a little rambling - but I will try to get myself together and write meaningful posts.)

I feel obligated to blog about National Adoption Month tonight.

I have mixed feelings about National Adoption Month, as I'm sure many of you could guess. My hesitancy is not even about how the original intent has been hijacked by domestic and internal adoption. The bigger concern for me is that promoting adoption from Foster Care sends a very mixed message.

The first point I really want to make is this: I love adoption from Foster Care. I probably don't act like it all the time, because in all honesty I wish it wasn't needed. But it IS needed and I am so grateful for foster parents who open their homes and hearts to children who need a family.

I have known and loved many children who needed an adoptive family because their biological parents simply were not able to care for them. I have only been to three adoption ceremonies - but I cried buckets of joy at all of them! I have also known many children who desperately needed families - and no one ever stepped up for them. These children truly do langish in foster care - in group homes, transitional living programs, and eventually age out without someone to be a continued support in their life. There is a desperate need for people to step up and adopt children from foster care.

Children from foster care are often not "ideal" candidates for adoption. They have experienced significant trauma, there is often significant risk in the process, and lets face it - dealing with the system SUCKS.

But nonetheless, people do it. They take the risk and they take on a child who has special needs (cause they almost all do) and they deal with the crazy system - and a family is created.

I love it.

But the flip side of promoting adoption from foster care is that many people sign up to be foster parents in hopes that they will get to adopt the child placed in their home. I see this as completely different than those who attempt to adopt a "waiting child" and who do not want to foster. People who sign up to become foster parents, listen to the schpeel about reunification being the priority of foster care, and then cross their fingers that the child will become available for adoption.

I hate that.

I don't think its honest or genuine to say "We want to adopt, but are willing to foster and see what happens". Yes, it is true that many children in foster care end up being available for adoption and the "first chance" goes to their current foster parents. But that doesn't mean its okay to take a child into your home and then secretly hope and pray that their parents don't get their act together, overcome their challenges, and make it possible for their child to return to their care.

And the truth is that most biological families will never be "as good" as a family who is hoping to adopt from foster care. They will probably not work full time professional jobs, they will likely continue to live in bad neighborhoods, and its not unusual for them to continually struggle with addiction or mental health issues. And it is very hard for most people to truly support the ongoing process of attempting reunification when they also want to adopt.

So, I have mixed feelings about a month that promotes "Adopt from Foster Care!" when I work every day to try to put families back together. These families (and I) already have enough working against a successful reunification - we don't need foster parents who are secretly waiting for it all to fail too.

So, if you want to promote National Adoption Month - please send people right here:

Adopt Us Kids

These are children who are currently waiting for a family. For most of them, it has already been determined that they can not live with their family of origin. They really NEED a committed forever family.

But, if you want to be a support to a family by caring for their child until they are able to do so - then please, please, PLEASE consider being a foster parent. We sure could use you!

(PS- Please submit some comments/questons/ideas for NaBloPoMo posts!)

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