Monday, September 27, 2010
Adoption is beautiful, but ugly attitudes persist...even among adoptive parents.
Adoption is beautiful. It doesn't matter if that child is brown, white, African, American, Guatemalan, Chinese, etc. A child is a child is a child, and when a child is in need, it's so beautiful when God meets that need with a family. What's not so beautiful are some of the ugly attitudes about adoption. Now, I just want to preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I have absolutely nothing against international adoption--I think international adoption is wonderful, and if God so leads our family, we will enthusiastically pursue international adoption at some point. Now that the disclaimer is over, I have to say, I am heartily sick of the prevailing attitude among adoptive/potential adoptive parents that international adoption is somehow a superior form of adoption over domestic, because children domestically supposedly aren't in need. It makes me quite angry when I hear proponents of international adoption say that the children in US foster care don't experience real need the way children in other countries do. I think this view is bred largely of ignorance. Children in foster care have real need. Children are 11 times more likely to be abused in State care than they are in their own homes. So much sexual abuse takes place in foster homes, as victims come into homes unequipped to deal with their needs and then mimic the things done to them towards other children. It's hard to get actual statistics, as not many children are willing to talk about sexual abuse they've experienced, but it does appear that few children escape foster unscathed by sexual abuse. Nationwide, an estimated 30,000 adolescents age out of the foster care system each year. According to the Child Welfare League of America, 25 percent become homeless, 56 percent are unemployed, 27 percent of male children end up in jail. In fact, 80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system. There are wonderful foster parents out there. There are also abusive and neglectful ones. So please don't tell me that the needs of all the children in foster care are being met, so we shouldn't waste resources helping them. I personally know children who have suffered physical abuse, medical neglect, and sexual abuse while in foster care (for the record, I also know children who were loved and treated quite well in foster care, I just know far fewer of them). When a child is not able to receive basic medical care, enough food to eat, or have a safe place to sleep at night, their basic needs are NOT being met. So there are holes all over the argument that US adoption isn't as important as international adoption. This though, I really think is secondary to the most important motive in adopting any child (anywhere in the world) Giving a child a family--a place to be loved and cherished, a home. That is the most important issue. And there are children all over the world, from your very own city to the other side of the planet with this need. You either have a passion to help children in need, or you don't. If you do, you'll advocate for children all over the planet, not just from where you assume (and in your opinion) the most need exists. God told us to care for orphans. Period. He didn't include a global map with push pins showing us where the most important orphans reside. They're all important. Every last one. So many beautiful ways to show God's love to the world. The whole world.