Monday, April 21, 2008

The other view point

I received my first negative comment from my last post and I wanted to provide differing view points.  I have had the privilege of watching this blogger go from adopting in Vietnam to switching to a successful domestic adoption and I am very happy for her and her husband.  It is important to understand that NOT every case is the same.  I believe every family has to make a decision that they are comfortable with and she may feel she has to defend her decision and/or her birthmother.  Not true!  No adoptive parent should be forced to defend their decision to adopt from one place or another!  Every child is deserving of a loving family regardless of where they are born or who they are born to.  Believe it or not, I did explore domestic adoption, but I was NOT comfortable as a single person choosing to raise a child that had been exposed to drugs and/or alcohol in utero.  As a nurse I have seen the effects these substances have on children--some which are not apparent until the child is older.  

Besides your comment about "even strung out crack mamas" being offensive, I think you missed the mark on quite a few things here. Your view on domestic adoption is narrow. I have 3 single friends who have succesfully completed domestic adoptions this past year. And, as far as a birthmother picking a wealthy person over someone less well off, I think you are selling bithmothers WAY short. They want the best for their children. Period. Put yourself in their shoes...wouldn't you pick the family that you thought would give your child the best home possible? Not all birthmothers are as greedy as you have painted them to be. We are NOT wealthy people and made that very clear in our domestic profile, and still we were chosen by a birthmother. I think that maybe some deeper investigation into all of these things would lead you to a very different conclusion than the ones you have drawn.

While I am happy that she and her husband were able to successfully adopt domestically, I would like to point out that that is not the case for every would-be-family.  I know far more people that had at least one failed domestic adoption before finally beginning their family than those that were successful on their first match.

  1. Not all state adoption laws are created equal.
  2. I also know singles that have adopted domestically in my state--they either adopted a special needs kid from foster care or they adopted a child that was exposed to illegal drugs or alcohol.  I have a friend that was called just last week and was pressured into making a decision--to begin the adoption proceedings for a child that had been exposed to cocaine several times throughout the pregnancy. 
  3. Believe it or not, marital status does matter.  This was something I was reminded of by EACH domestic agency that I contacted.  Some refused to even consider me because I was single. I was repeatedly told that I would not be considered by many birthmothers because they do, as this commenter noted, want the best for their child.  For many that includes a two-parent household.  Believe me, I understand.  I want my children to have a two-parent household also!  

I urge any prospective adoptive parent to fully investigate any route they choose--whether domestic or international.  Familiarize yourself with the requirements and/or laws that govern those locations.  INTERVIEW.  That's right, interview as many people as you can so you can make an informed decision that you are comfortable with.  When I began looking into adoption several years ago I sought out people that that had adopted domestically and internationally.  Find out who they worked with...did they do a good job?  It's more than asking if they are successful with matching babies to families.  I sought out singles since they represent my demographic and are going to face a different set of issues.  Don't make any rash decisions and don't let anyone scare you into accepting a referral you aren't comfortable with.  This will be a decision that doesn't just affect you--it will affect that child!  You need to be the best parent to that child that you possibly can be.

I do apologize if I came across as making birthmothers greedy, that was certainly not my intent.  As I said in my previous post "Even if they don't feel they can raise their own child, they still want to find a family that can give them everything they can't".  I sincerely believe that, but I would be foolish to not believe that my financial situation doesn't play a part in that decision.  I grew up wearing hand-me down clothes while everyone else wore brand-name.  Believe me, I'd like to give my children the things that I didn't have.  

I wish that deeper investigation would have revealed something different, I truly do.  It has been three years since I initially started looking into domestic adoption and every year or so I look into it again, only to be disappointed to learn that things have not changed much in that time. 

I am always glad to hear from people that have had positive adoption experiences because it reminds me that it is possible.  They are such wonderful sources of information for families that decide to go that route.  In fact, when one of my single friends began looking into domestic adoption, I forwarded this commenter's blog to her because I hoped it would be a good resource (along with another MN single girl that successfully completed a domestic adoption).  My friend is fortunate, she doesn't live here! 

4 comments:

Miles' Mama April 21, 2008 at 8:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kelli April 21, 2008 at 9:12 PM  

I think you had some good points in both posts. I do know that there are many misconceptions about domestic adoption. Unfortunately, I admit I have been somewhat scared away at looking deeper...but maybe I will look deeper in the future. I couldn't agree more that our state is not necessarily the best in the area of domestic adoption/fostering-severely lacking comes to mind. Luckily, in talking with 2 of the single moms the A/MM refers to, I know if I ever pursue this route, I don't have to adopt from our state!

You have every right to express your thoughts/opinions on why you chose international adoption. It is YOUR choice! I for one, am glad you chose this route- I would have never met you if you hadn't and would not have the great support I have from you now! You will be a great mom to your children!

Anonymous April 22, 2008 at 8:19 AM  

I know of a family who adopted a bunch of foster kids only to turn around and put some of them in foster care. So it is true that not all adoptions work out for either party-adoptive parent or foster child. Many foster children have problems and it takes a special person (couple) to be able to adopt those kids and deal with all the issues.

sophiaoreilly April 22, 2008 at 10:33 AM  

It saddens me that you've been unable to find an agency that's encouraged you to pursue domestic adoption. I'm a single woman who just completed a successful domestic adoption 5 months ago (after spending a year in the VN program to no avail). At the outset of my journey to adopt I spoke with several agencies, all of whom indicated that domestic adoption was not only a viable option for me as a single parent, but a GREAT option. I didn't choose that path intially because I got sucked into the hype of the newly-opened, going-to-move-quickly VN program. I knew that domestic would be the path I chose for a 2nd adoption, so with no movement for my agency in VN, I revisited domestic and less than eight weeks later my daughter was born and home with me. I don't want to paint a rosey picture, though, because like all adoption scenarios, domestic has its own pros and cons. Those eight weeks weren't easy, but the outcome was as it was meant to be. As you say, domestic adoption is not for everyone -- but neither is international adoption, or parenting in general. Am I advocating that domestic adoption is the 'right' fit for everyone? Of course not. Will all expectant moms looking to make an adoption plan consider single women? Of course not. But it is a good fit for many families, and many expectant moms will consider single women. It's similar to race, religion, geographic location -- expectant moms look at a variety of factors when choosing a family. Marital status is just one of many. I think that a significant difference between domestic and international adoption lies in the reality that a successful match is based on a pesonal connection of some sort. Something in the adoptive family's profile resonates with the expectant mom -- it's impossible to predict what that factor will be. Likewise, it's impossible to predict what will rule a family out -- it could be marital status, but it could also be that the potential adoptive family is Catholic and the expectant mom is Jewish. That's distinctly different from international adoption where it's much more black and white. I think the bottom line is that, sadly, there are a lot of misconceptions about domestic adoptions...too many to try and correct here. But, let it be known that it is a viable option for single parents!! And, let it be known, too, that it's a myth that all babies available for domestic adoption are drug-exposed, have special needs or are embroiled in state-run welfar systems. While stereotypes abound, expectant mothers looking to make adoption plans aren't all uneducated teenagers or directionless drug addicts. I believe that just the opposite is often true -- the women most likely to make and carry out an adoption plan are a bit older (20's), are already working hard to parent children and who are struggling to just get by. (Don't ask for a source, I draw this conclusion via anecdotal evidence from social workers I've spoken and worked with, as well as my own experience!) I entered the domestic program with eyes wide open, yet still learned a lot in the weeks prior to my daughter's arrival, as well as the weeks and months since. It's not an easy path. But, there's no such thing as an "easy" adoption -- and there shouldn't be, given the magnitutde of the event. But, even with the cons of domestic, I'd do it again in a heartbeat and, in fact, will at some point in the future. Again, does that mean everyone should? Certainly not. As Miles' Mama said, the answer lies in looking deeper than the surface of any adoption program (domestic or international) to determine the right path for your family

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This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.


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