There are so many issues in adoption that people disagree about; family preservation, the kind of adoption that is acceptable, the openness of the adoption, parental rights and wait times before termination, the cost. SO.MANY.THINGS. Can we ever come to an agreement as a group to what is truly ethical? How could that be decided? Even if we went waaaayyyy back and chatted with Aristotle, there could not really be a clear answer because ethics as they are described by the Master’s have to do with virtuosity that brings personal happiness. Maybe what we need here is some morality, but not based on a personal code. MORALITY as defined by the Masters is not left to chance; it is a meeting of certain standards in the interest of other people. Can we really be left to make choices that are only in our own best interests when it comes to adoption? Isn’t adoption, at its' core (for agencies, birth parents and parents who are adopting), about find a family for a child. FOR A CHILD, making the process very much, in theory it sometimes seems, about other people. But we must put FOR THE CHILDREN into actual practice.
When we began the adoption process we more than anything wanted to provide a home and family for a child. We wanted to be parents and share love and our life with a child. Period. What we found was, it is not as easy as that. There are so many questions that fall into play, so many tests of who you are and of your personal ethics AND morality. We knew from the get go that there were things that we did not think were o.k. and we were not going to be a part of, though they are fairly commonplace. So many considerations come through domestic adoption that you may not have thought about until you are there. Will you pay extra expenses? What fees WON”T you be willing to pay? Will you accept a situation if the expectant mom has not told the expectant dad she is even pregnant? Would you fight him in court if he did know and contested the adoption? Are you going to follow through on all of your promises of openness? If the child is born with physical or mental health issues will you still parent? Have you asked if there is post counseling for birthmothers? Would you go through with it even if there were any sign of coercion? THESE. These are issues that do not just affect you, they affect other families and most certainly the child. This is your morality, our collective morality at work. The choices you make matter.
How about those who go through foster care? These people (who as a child who was in care, I love “a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck”) deal with ethical dilemmas daily as they have been entrusted with the very personal stories of the children who come into their home and the stories of the birth parents. They deal with birth parents who have been impaired by their own poor choices and whatever aftermath they have had on the child. Would you keep the child and his or her story quiet, putting them before you? Could you keep yourself from judging the parents? Could you embrace a child who has been to hell and back and is now making poor choices of his or her own? Could you hand this child over for visits with parents even if they do not want to go? Can you do all you can to support family preservation? Many of the questions in foster care and foster adoption have clearer answers as the child’s rights to some level of privacy, and there are laws and come clear rules in place and they are more clearly defined, but that does not make them easy to carry out. And what to those who so badly want to adopt through this system and are reminded that it is really in place to hopefully form a reality where the children can return home? What if the children are just left in care until they age out, and is that o.k.? Should these children have to waait years for the adults in their life to get their own issues together, really?
I have seen a lot of articles lately that take aim at international adoption; Does it cost too much? Are there some who are left by families who love them because of poverty or disease in their region? Have you done all you can to ensure your situation does not amount to child trafficking, which means using reputable agencies and checking programs carefully (something you should do in domestic adoption as well)? Have you made plans to infuse the child's culture into your life? What is being done to put any emphasis on family preservation and orphan care in these regions and is it enough? Putting OTHERS first. Do we think enough about what we leave in our wake? Are we doing all we can for orphans and single mothers? Are we watching closely enough to what is happening in other countries to be sure the children who are adopted are truly the ones who NEED families? Who determines these things? Are they correct?
No matter what adoption path you choose, the really important part we all play is honesty, not just with ourselves and the truths of adoption, but also with our children. No matter what kind of adoption you have had, I hope you have worked to travel the path of honesty and age appropriateness as to your child's story. There is strength in knowing your story and your child will draw from it. What story do you want to tell? Can you be proud of your choices? And if you have not shared your child's adoption story with them yet (in an age appropriate way) then sweet, baby Jesus- DO IT NOW! That is a part of doing what is right.
The truth is. And I mean the REAL truth- the truth that sometimes hurts, but in the long run leaves less questions on your heart, is we have to do this TOGETHER. We have to care about everyone involved, no matter what adoption road we are on. We have to make the tough choices and that has to include the outcome for EVERYONE, not just our own best outcome. As an adoptee, how would I have felt if my parents had compromised their morality, there concern of anyone else in the process, for their own interests? Sweet friends, we do not live in a world where everyone who carries a child goes on to raise that child and honestly, though I know it is hard to hear, we never will. There will always be countries where war, disease and poverty will lead to children who need homes, there will always be parents who for whatever reason cannot make the good choices a parent needs to make for their child and the children come into care, and there will always be expectant parents who no matter what programs are created to give them a leg up, will choose a different life for their children.
Your choices matter. This is not truly an individual choice, many times it does have to be how you think it will affect other people. If you cannot make choices that also consider the long term feelings of the adoptee or a birth parent, how will you one day explain those choices to your child? I am proud to say my mom handled my adoption in the way she handled the rest of issues that concerned me through my life and hers; doing what was right for all involved and speaking with grace and truth. Think about that. We all want our children to be able to say the same of us. Who are we, really--as individuals and as a society-- to allow wrongs, just because we can? Just because they do not seemingly affect you at the time. Just because they are not illegal?
The true purpose of adoption is to provide permanent homes/families for children. Sometimes that means helping a birth family finding their way, sometimes it means adoption but it should ALWAYS mean putting that child first. Can we all agree on that right now? Can we all come together and agree that there are broken and flawed pieces to this puzzle that built our families (or some of you hope to)? Can we be a part of the solution? How do you want your child to see you? To see his or her adoption story? To perceive what is truly right? Sometimes the hardest questions are the ones that our heart already knows the good and right answers to, it is all a matter of what you do next.
with lots of love and hope-
This linkup acts a little bit differently then most as we have a schedule of topics we will follow throughout the year. Feel free to save the image to the left
When LINKING UP with our ADOPTION TALK- few things to consider:
1) Be respectful of others. Adoption can be a sensitive subject, and opinions may differ from your own. Please be respectful to everyone.
2) Try to read and comment on at least one other post. The point of a link up is to mingle and meet other bloggers.
3) Feel free to link an old post. We know you may have already blogged about some of the topics on our schedule. If you would like to link something you have already written that is just fine.
4) Follow Your Hosts. No need to follow everyone on everything, but make sure you follow in enough places that you’ll be reminded to link up.
Below is the ADOPTION TALK BUTTON-- add it to your blog!