Jane never pulls punches, so if you are an adoptive parent who is looking to assuage that Concern you may be feeling about your role in intercountry adoption, you won't find it here. You will find some good food for thought, however, that is an important segue from my post last week. Jane challenges society's unwillingness to adopt the kids who really need adoption, and in the process gives a slap in the face to "orphan" adoption promotion programs that encourage adoption generally but don't acknowledge that the needs may be far different than the desires of adoptive parents. Jane identifies four key characteristics needed to ensure the adoption of any child:
1. Be young.I don't agree with everything Jane says here, and also know that many adoptive parents who start their journey just as Jane describes us change our attitudes as we learn just what adoption means to our children. But adoption statistics, like the ones in my post, bear out that children who aren't young, aren't white and who have siblings and/or first family connections will be unlikely to be considered for adoption or adopted by the typical prospective adoptive parent, who will be seeking an infant adoption.
2. Be white.
3. Be alone.
4. Be an orphan.
There are two things we need to do to straighten out this situation.
First, we need to end the notion that adoption is in any way shape or form connected or a response to infertility or abortion. These two attitudes push women facing unplanned pregnancies to bear their children specifically for the purpose of adoption, and also give prospective adoptive parents the idea that adoption is the logical next step when infertility treatments fail.
You have no idea how much I believed that last one, no idea.
Second, we have to end the notion that the only people responsible for adopting the kids who really need families are the infertile. Although we live in a time in which we have entire political structures claiming that we have no social responsibilities, I believe we do, and our first priority should be our kids.
Do we cross borders to do so? Or do we make global decisions that every country is responsible for its own, case closed? This is where it gets really sticky, I think, but perhaps if we made progress correcting the two misconceptions I describe, the answer to this last question would become clearer.
Yes, very good food for thought indeed. Thanks, Jane!