Children are Children. And they all need homes.
I read an op-ed today that stated that all parents who adopt internationally are selfishly meeting their own needs and should instead “save a child in their own backyards.” Meaning, adopt a child through the foster care system. This is a sentiment I hear A LOT and can be nicely filed in the “stereotypes about adoption” category. But something about this article really rubbed me the wrong way. So here is my response to Mr. Op Ed Who Knows Nothing About Adoption.
First of all. Almost all adoption occurs to fulfill a “selfish” need. People want to be parents. They want a family. To do all of the things that go along with being parents such as shaping and molding a child; teaching their son to play ball; shopping for prom dresses; spoiling their grandchildren. There is nothing wrong with this. Being a parent could easily be categorized as a basic human need. Procreation, contributing to future generations, making sure our legacy is carried on. Etcetera.
Second of all. ALL CHILDREN IN THE WORLD DESERVE A HOME. Not just the ones in the United States. There are a plethora of reasons children are not adopted in their country of origin.
Third of all. Adopting a child from foster care is hard. Very, very, very hard.
Most of the adoptive parents I talk to have felt drawn to one form of adoption over another. Many people use words like “compelled” or “called.” Why does one family choose to adopt a seven-year-old HIV positive boy from Ethiopia instead of a seven-year-old African American boy from Detroit (the example given in the op-ed I read). Who knows! International adoption has its own set of issues. Cultural, transracial, complete lack of openness or information about the biological family (although this is improving), just to name a few.
Adopting a child from foster care means adopting a child who has been abused and neglected (in most cases as least). Children who have been abused and neglected have different needs than a child who hasn’t. And not every pre-adoptive individual, couple, or family can provide for that child’s needs.
Adopting a child from foster care also means, in many cases, that one needs to be open to the idea of fostering first. This means caring for a child who could eventually be moved. Either to another foster placement, family member, or reunified with their birthfamily. A lot of families just aren’t up for this. And it’s important that pre-adoptive families are aware of their limits.
So Mr. Op Ed. My message is to you is that it really isn’t any of your concern why families chose the method they chose to grow their family. Every child deserves a home. A home with a family who can meet their needs.