Tuesday, January 5, 2010

SUFFICIENT ALTERNATIVES PART 3

Before you read on you should check out my first four posts on this topic:

*Blissful Ignorance
*
Best Hope
*
If Not Adoption, Then What? Part 1
*
Valid Reason Needed Part 2

This series has certainly increased the comments on my blog. There have been some very thought provoking comments and some mean comments, which I won't publish (thanks comment moderation). One commenter left this link about an adopted child that died from abuse at the hands of her adopted mother. The death of ANY child is horrible, but this death did not happen because she was adopted. It happened because the woman was abusive. Another said they were offended that I called my child my little "write off." I would have called him that even if I had birthed him. Besides anyone that thinks I would go through all that I have, just to get a tax write off, is CRAZY! Lastly, if my blog offends you, then I guess you shouldn't read it. Now on to the post....

One thing I have come to realize is that this author does not consider anyone but those biologically connected to her, as her family. That is very sad. I have MANY close "friends" and in-laws that I would do anything for and I consider them "family": Joan, Cathe, Brian, Andy, Kevin, Connie, Kim, Stephanie, Jeremy, Louie and Karen, Penny, Elisa, Paula, Mike and the list goes on and on...

Now on to the last post in this series.....In part 3 the author writes about what she calls, "sufficient alternatives to adoption."

"Adoption is not, has never been and can never be, about love. Love for a child does not need a title. We can nurture without one. Love doesn’t need to eradicate a child’s past or dismiss a child’s heritage to care for a child. We can only truly love a child if we learn to accept and love a child’s family... with all their faults."

This is the SADDEST thing I have ever heard. ADOPTION is most certainly an act of LOVE (a strong positive emotion of regard and affection; any object of warm affection or devotion have a great affection or liking for). I agree that you should not eradicate a child's past, but involving "family" that would be a negative influence is poor parenting. If any of my relatives had "faults" that I felt could damage my child, they would not be involved in my child's life.

The author's "sufficient alternatives:"

1. Guardianship: "This already exists in today’s law. It is when a parent relinquishes custody but not parental rights and they still get varying amounts of contact and say in their child’s life....This option I think needs to be changed a little. If I was to be a child’s guardian, I would want to make sure I did have custody and from what I understand currently, custody is always able to be challenged. I like this option because there is no guillotine to a child’s previous life and the parent gets a say in their child’s life. I would promote this option in cases where it would be possible for a child to return to their parents."

Most (reputable) adoption agencies have counseling and within that they discuss ALL the alternatives. I know in my case, "K" didn't have any family that was ready or willing to take Samuel in.

2. Foster Care: "Currently this is an overworked system with not enough carers. There seems to be much competition between some carers and parents which I feel needs to be worked on. If a child is in care for any reason, where possible, parents and carers need to work together to do what is best for the child."

Yah, right?!? She obviously has little to no understanding of how the foster care system works and all the problems existing with it. Some of you that follow me and are foster parents, please, I would love to hear your comments on this. She makes it seem like the foster parents are the ones creating the turmoil. There are obviously some very bad situations, but in the foster parent blogs that I read, it's the "natural parents" that are creating the havoc.

3. Permanent Care: "Out of all actual current legal alternatives to adoption, this one appears to be the best. Apparently it is also only available in Australia at this time but is a step in the right direction. It is for children who have been permanently removed from their parent’s care and there is no option for them to return due to mental health issues, abuse, neglect and other issues. From what I understand and I am not totally clear on this but the child is not adopted therefore does not have a new birth certificate issued and the order expires once the child reaches 18. This is a brilliant step in the right direction as it recognises children need permanency without the need to wipe out their past, name, identity and family of birth."

Since we do not have a system like this, I will not comment on it, but her biggest beef seems to be with the the birth certificates being changed.

I love how she keeps emphasizing that the "natural parent" gets a say in their child's life. Talk about confusing and mixed messages. We all know how great blending families always work out, (said with great sarcasm) where there are 2 "natural" parents and 2 step-parents. How everyone spends all the holidays and special events together, they all agree on discipline and they never use the kids as pawns. So of course a child living with "guardians" should adjust totally well to their "natural parent" coming in to lay down their set of rules too. Makes total sense to me.

The bulk of her post is devoted to "my alternative." I will bullet her plan and make my comments, but I encourage you to read it in it's entirety here.

* REMOVAL OF ALL ADOPTION AGENCIES
I am TOTALLY against this. I think obliterating this system because of abuse and scams would create as many problems as getting rid of all police departments because of abuse and bribes. Although all the background checks, fingerprints and home studies were annoying, I would gladly go through them again if it means that just one unfit parent is weeded out.

*COUNSELLING FOR WOMEN WITH CRISIS PREGNANCIES
Again, my experience is that they do get counseling. Any "reputable" agency, like mine, goes over ALL the options, including parenting their own child.


* SUPPORT TO COMBAT THEIR STRUGGLES..."sponsor a mother and her child so they can stay together."
She feels that children who are sponsored in other countries get their needs met, but that we are told they don't. The following are my words not hers...all the starving children in Africa are just a scam.

* ASK OTHER FAMILY TO TAKE THE BABY FIRST
I totally agree with this, but usually they are not willing nor able and that is why adoption is then considered.

* PREVENTION: "more information in schools of how to protect themselves and what to do once it happens. There is an assumption that once you have a child, your life has ended. This needs to be changed and facts put in place to dispel the myths, even the cold hard facts."

I agree your life has not ended, but the evidence is clear, teenage mothers are more likely not to finish school, live in poverty, are involved in drugs and alcohol and their children are much more likely to repeat the cycle when they are teenagers.

* ONLY ONE BIRTH CERTIFICATE ..."with all their natural parents details. Names given at birth would be kept and only changed should the CHILD desire it."

I think this is something I could bend on...I can certainly understand why "natural parents" would be upset by this. I wouldn't have a problem if this practice were changed, however, another document would have to be issued showing the child as being the adoptive parents' child now, so that the child could be covered by insurance and to get a social security card (and in the future for a marriage license etc.).

* OK, I HAVE TO QUOTE THIS ONE: "Where possible, visits would be set up according to each situation; and the parents would have a varying degree of input in the child’s life where it BENEFITS the CHILD. All paperwork issued would recognise the previous life and natural family of a child whist also giving recognition to the guardians and carers of the child."

This IS an open adoption! Because of her experience, she is assuming that, we that have adopted:
1. are babysitters and are just here to mind the store
2. the child doesn't need stability and a lack of drama coming in and out of their lives
3. aren't thinking of the child's best interests and what would benefit them the most
4. are automatically going to keep their
"natural" families from them
5. are going to lie to them about where they came from and what their heritage is


HER SUMMARY: ...."I would like to see more people parenting; more families rallying together to support their family member in need. Any care options should be reserved for children who are in true dire need. We need to inform people; arm them with knowledge to help them live their lives in the best possible way without causing hurt in another's life. The world as a whole needs to embrace their fellow human being and instead of being in the wings waiting for them to trip up, step up and be actively supportive. We need to identify those who are in trouble early on, to help, wherever possible, prevent the issues that lead to foster and permanent care."

I think there is too much of "families rallying together to support their family member in need" and that is how we have created a society of instant gratification and dependent children who continue to expect their parents to bail them out of every poor situation that they get themselves into. When is enough, enough?

Should we be encouraging those who don't think they can parent, to parent anyway and then wait for the
"true dire need" (neglect, abuse etc) to occur before we then take the child away.

I think a lot of parents DO,
"arm them with knowledge to help them live their lives in the best possible way," but humans have free will and as such can choose not to follow the advice given.

There are so many programs out there that
"identify those who are in trouble early on, to help, wherever possible, prevent the issues that lead to foster and permanent care," but there will always be people who slip through the cracks or don't want nor accept the help.

This is the final post in this series and I am off my soap box now. I will no longer visit these "anti-adoption" blogs because I want to focus on all the amazing things that adoption can do for families and the world. I want to focus on being the best mommy I can to my little man and I want to raise him to see that no matter how he came to be in our family he is loved by many people, both by birth and not. I want him to feel good about who he is and to feel the amazing love that "K" showed by thinking of his needs first.

I will continue to pray for those who have been hurt in this world by abuse, neglect, lies and scams: children, "natural" families and those still waiting to bring their little ones home. May God open your eyes, comfort your souls and mend your broken hearts.

7 comments:

Kris said...

I understand that her hurt is blinding her from many great realities in the world. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to say that all adopted children should be raised by their "natural" parents, I do not believe that is the case. Case in point: my brother got mixed up with a lady who has serious issues. He has since divorced her, but has 2 kids with her. In fact, at my best count, she has 5 kids from at least 3 guys. Her mother has all of them, except one, who she keeps because he is her "meal ticket" from the state (he was very premature). She is a horrible parent (takes everything away from the kids that he gives them, subjects them to neglect, and simply does NOT provide for them in any way). It truly is a sad situation. However, her mother is supporting her by caring for her children so they are not placed with their fathers and/or adopted to families who can truly care for the children. I think in this case the children are minimally being cared for as her mother is doing what SHE can to create a positive environment for the kids, but ultimately, they are not in the best environment. Biological, yes. Ideal, far from it. It breaks my heart. And honestly, the state should require her to get her tubes tied as I'm sure she'll have yet another child, with yet another man, to only provide minimum care for them as well. It is quite clear that she has some serious issues (like keeping a job, for example) including some mental & emotional issues. Quite honestly, her mother raised her...and she is the way she is...I'm not entirely sure the kids are not going to grow up like her, too.

My brother has not been in a position to care for his kids, either. He has given her money (I believe), but she does not spend it on the kids. He would provide a better family environment for the kids. He's remarried to a wonderful woman; he's got an excellent education and a great job. I believe he is working on a plan to take her to court to gain custody of his children once he returns from the Middle East (he's in the National Guards and ships out next week). Since he's shipping out, there is likely no way he would get the kids right now. But, in a year when he's back...that will be a different situation.

Megan said...

I totally agree with you! I tried being a foster parent (foster to adopt) and I don't think my heart could take it.

I can think of so many examples in my own family where the bio family is not the answer. Also, something a little more unusual to think about: because of my being a foster parent, my 19 yo cousin and his wife approached me about adopting their soon to be born son. My cousin has Asperger's autism, is bipolar, and just now has found a job (unemployed at the time he asked me). One of the effects of his conditions is he constantly goes up and down mood-wise and often lives in a fantasy world. I chose to turn him down because even though the baby would be in a more stable, comfortable environment, I could anticipate several scenarios: 1)changing their minds before the birth
2)undermining my parenting
3)changing their minds after I had been raising him for awhile and legally taking him back
4)trying to take the baby not so legally
Etc.,etc., etc. The family placement option is not so great. Another cousin was addicted to drugs and arrested and several of her kids were "raised" by her brother and his wife. The wife unfortunately has a habit of beating two of the kids with a electrical cord or broom handle. One of those kids went to live with another relative; the other is grown and seems fine with her now. As for the little one, we all hate that he is stuck there, but no abuse as of yet.

sisterheping said...

"Should we be encouraging those who don't think they can parent, to parent anyway and then wait for the "true dire need" (neglect, abuse etc) to occur before we then take the child away."

You are assuming the worst.

What about the biological parents who would *not* have abused or neglected their children?

Just because someone thinks they cannot parent does not instantly mean they are unable to. Does ANY young woman feels she is perfectly capable of parenting for the first time? Probably not.

You might also wish to consider that a woman's body has hormones which are affected by the pregnancy and geared towards nurturing her offspring.

Sometimes it does not happen. Sometimes, for whatever reason, this woman is in a sick mental state and cannot take care of her child. Sometimes adoption is the best situation IF the child is in direct harm.

But I do not believe "direct harm" should be an automatic assumption, especially when adoption is placed into the picture.

A woman is not "geared" to abuse and/or neglect her child.

Cassi said...

The thing is in the arguments here is that you are taking bad situations of "bio" famillies nad saying, see, here is the reason whby we need adoption. See how these parents have treated there children so horribly. Except that the one great fault in that argument is that nobody, not even adoptive parents, are immune from abusing or neglecting their children.


Just as must as one can stress that here is an example of such terrible "bio" parents who never should have been allowed to parent their child, the same example can be turned around for adoptive parents who never should have been allowed to adopt their child.

If you use the extremes of this bad parent or that bad parent, you are going to find they exist in ALL areas of parenting - bio, adoptive, step, foster, etc . . .

I have a friend who grew up with a horribly neglectful "bio" mother. One who knew nothing of unconditional love. For a year, we had a friend of my son's living with us because his "step" father battled a drug addiction and was abusive.

And my own son was mentally and physically abused by his "adoptive" mother who battled an alcohol addicition.

Parents, good and bad, come from all sides and all experiences. Nobody is immune, no matter how one might have come to be a parent in the first place.

But to use the extremes to "justify" the greatness of adoption seems useless to me since they exist everywhere in our world, not just in "bio" parents.

Shannan said...

I am an adoptive mother of three and have one bio son. This blog is great...I don't know whether to be bothered more by all the anti-adoption comments or by the fact that you posted every single picture of the woman on the Bachelor!!:) I'm teasing.

I think that if any of these angry bio-moms could walk in our shoes for one week....even a day..and know what it feels like to be a woman who can't have a baby...they may be a tad more compassionate towards those of us who have adopted. I feel bad for those women who were tricked into giving up a baby, but can' they see that by giving a child a stable loving environment, and making a woman a mother is so wonderful??? What's so bad about us?
http://joshafamily.blogspot.com

Lora said...

YOu can stop reading about adpotee issues and people who were hurt by adoption. But if there is even a chance that you child might feel the same, don't you love him enough to keep an open mind? If there is a chance he my feel he has a wound that will not heal, don't you want him to feel he can tell you about it? Do you want him to grow up and feel he has to stuff down his feelings because it is not acceptable to feel anything but happy loved and greatfull?

Even those of us that grew up in loving adoptive homes being told the happy adoption story of a love so great we desearved to be abandoned, may feel these things.

If you are to be an adoptive parent, you owe it to your child to educate yourself and be ready to accept however he feels, and allow him to feel it.

birthmothertalks said...

As a birthmom, I would like to ask how many adoptive parents can hand over your child adopted or not to someone else and hope they are nice enough to send you pictures. While, I can't walk in your shoes, because I did have children without a problem, but can you walk in mine now? I am not anti adoption at all. But the fact that my daughter's parents were blessed with her doesn't make me feel good. It's the other way around. I blessed her with a family. Even thought it really wasn't my choice.