Saturday, November 14, 2009

Foster Care and Adoption

Continuing my random adoption-related thoughts in honor of National Adoption Month:

I (obviously) feel strongly about international adoption, especially from undeveloped nations such as Ethiopia. But I also feel strongly that, especially given my religious convictions, I should not stop caring for my family and neighbors in order to care for international orphans. It should not be "one or the other" but rather both.

Thinking about this and considering the role that my family and I should play in caring for family/friends/neighbors, especially those who are orphans or wards of the state or other similar situations that result in children who are unable to be parented by their birth parents, I have come to a few conclusions.

1. My role is to love and serve people through a variety of situations. This may include permanently bringing a child into my home through adoption, temporarily bringing a child into my home through foster care, or supporting children in other ways through mentorship and meaningful relationships.

2. I feel a more urgent need meet the needs of close family, if such a situation arose, and kinship foster/adoption is some thing to which both John and I are very open. There currently is a situation where such a need might arise within our family, and we have actually started discussing what role we would play. We concluded that if the need arose, we would approach a kinship foster/adoption situation and embrace it wholeheartedly. We hope the need does not arise, though, and hope that the situation within our family can be worked out to support both the parent and the child.

3. John and I are uniquely qualified to care for children with medical needs; neither of us have a lot of exposure to pediatric medicine, but certainly it is something that we could learn. My heart strings are tugged by the little ones who come into the hospital as victims of domestic violence or neglect and as a result need foster families that have enough of a background in medicine to meet their needs at discharge. This usually also involves a significant time commitment that we are unable to make right now, so this is something that may be in our future, but not our immediate future.

Have you thought about your role? What do you think?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Why so many girls?

So, like I said, I am writing up some thoughts about adoption and our culture, in honor of National Adoption Month. I was just checking out the FBI. I love the pages of "forever families" as well as reviewing who is where in the process. I love that right now, there are more families than ever before who are open to sibling groups, and some who are open to older children. Love that!

But I am looking at the wait list and wondering why so many are requesting girls. I am not saying this is bad or wrong, just wondering why? I can understand the desire for a child in a specific age range, and I know some people request a specific gender because they already have children at home and want the same gender or opposite gender or something. But for people who are adopting for the first time, why choose a girl?

This really has me thinking, because we know that across the board, adoptive parents want to adopt healthy girls, as young as possible. Why is that? I have read that some parents think girls are easier to raise, or that they believe girls are less likely to have health or attachment/bonding issues. I don't think that this is actually true (I don't know what the statistics say, but overall, I don't think the data available supports this- especially on the "easier to raise" category.)

What do you think?

Personally, if I ever adopt again, I hope that we will be able to adopt brothers. Little boys to rile each other up and play in the dirt and be rough and tumble and into dirt and grubs and all sorts of things like that. Plus, John wants a tyke who is interested in sports (which, parenting the girliest girls ever, our girls are NOT cutting it...)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Pro Life= Pro Adoption?

I will be honest: I have never met a person who was pro-life that was NOT pro-adoption.

Honestly, I believe the best place for a child is with their birthfamily. However, I also acknowledge that there are circumstances that make it impossible for a birthfamily to parent. Those reasons are many and varied, and not something that I wish to discuss in this post. But I do want to take a moment in this month that recognizes adoption and point out that I truly feel that the ideal situation for children is to be parented by their birth parents or through a kinship adoption.

That said, I don't understand how one could be pro-life without being pro-adoption. The idea of the pro-lifers is that they advocate for the innocents who have no voice and no other advocate. However, that advocacy does not stop when the innocent is born! No, instead, pro-lifers must continue to advocate for programs and interventions that assist birthparents in providing a quality of life to their child or that assist agencies in placing a relinquished child with a permanent, loving adoptive family. Without continuing to advocate for that child, a pro-lifer turns into an "anti-legal abortion" rather than a "pro-lifer." Proponents of the choice of life must continue to promote a quality of life for that child throughout it's life.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pro Choice= Pro Adoption?

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am writing up a few thoughts about adoption and how it fits into the modern culture of the US and the world.

In my opinion, I think if you are pro-choice, you should also be pro-adoption. Why?

Proponents of legal abortion argue that a birthmother should have options available for her when she decides that she is unwilling or unable to parent a child. They argue that abortion is the option that should be available to her. (Of course, they also argue medical necessity, and I am not going to touch that one at this point, but maybe some time...)

In the same vein, if a birthmother is looking for options when she is unwilling or unable to parent her child, adoption must be available to her. Not only because some people do not know or choose not to approach their pregnancies until after they are past the time frame when an abortion is available to them, but also because if pro-choicers are really all about the ability to choose when one becomes a parent, then they should also support the right of the birthmother to choose to no longer be a parent (through relinquishment.) If pro-choicers are truly looking to promote the right of the woman to make choices that she feels are in her best interest without regard for anyone else, then certainly, they must support a system where birthmothers are given the option of choosing to do what is solely in their best interest... an option that is not available to them if they are parenting.

This may seem flippant, and I hope you do not take it that way. I have the utmost respect for birthmothers who choose adoption when they are unable to parent. I mean no disrespect to any person who has been involved in the adoption triad. However, I am trying to really understand the viewpoint of "pro-choice" proponents, and in my attempts to do so, I simply cannot understand how someone can be pro-choice without being pro-adoption.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

National Adoption Month!

November is National Adoption Month and I am going purple for adoption!

November is the month set aside to raise awareness of the adoption of children and youth from foster care. This year's theme is "you don't have to be perfect to be the perfect family."

Boy, isn't that the truth. If I had to be perfect in order to adopt, the Good Lord knows I never would have been able to bring Anna home. But thankfully, perfection is not required. And our little family is so perfect together. And I am so thankful (another good November theme:)
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