Such a loaded question..and honestly I would never put this out on a forum because I know I would get assaulted – most people would respond the Adoption Professional of course. I don’t know if you trust me , but I promise you my benefit is emotional not financial. One of the moms we assisted in an adoption plan is staying with us this week and we got into this discussion last night. It so depends on the group of people you are talking to and their experience with adoption. It’s a discussion that could and does go on for hours.
So from MY experience, and I have seen it from every side except for personally placing, and personally being a child of adoption, (although I was raised by a step father) here goes:
Obviously the Family adopting benefits. Without the “miracle” of adoption they may never ever realize being a family. I know Dean and I wouldn’t have ever been able to be parents of the four children we have, we would have missed out on all the memories and moments that have molded us into who we are today. We wouldn’t do the work we do if we hadn’t experienced adoption.
The birth/first mom does benefit, and I am sure that if there are any anti adoption advocates reading this – they may agree other wise but I’m okay with that..you know why? Because I work with these women everyday. And yes there are some women if they had just run into the right person when they decided on adoption (and yes when they decided on adoption – because unless you are involved in a child welfare case and have the court terminate your rights, it is a personal decision. One you have to seek out someone to assist you with, one that is not easy to do because most people in your circle of life do not understand adoption and would rather you didn’t do this) they may have been provided a list of resources they didn’t know about and then may decide yes they could choose parenting. But the women we have worked with have all been able to say that even though its hard, even though they cry, even though they wish..they know they have made the right choice. And for those who feel that children are taken from the poor, I can’t deny that happens..but I also have provided services to 4th generation families that continue to support their families only on the resources they receive from the county and the communities…a cycle that never gets broken. Resources do exist you have to work to find them and honestly what is wrong with that? And lastly..I challenge any of you who feel adoption is wrong to work a year in Child Welfare. Because a woman can have a baby does not make her a good person, does not make her a capable person, does not make her sane, does not make her know how to love, does not make her a mother. We let families have chance after chance because we want to keep families together…we keep babies with their moms in treatment because it provides a better opportunity for the mom to stick to her recovery plan, we place children with relatives because of the family ties..relatives that have histories and are in the same circumstances as the parents, we leave kids in these situations for years hoping that the grown ups are going to change, do what we want them to do and when they don’t THEN we say okay its time to find this child a new family….do you know how many of these children we have in the US who will never have an opportunity to be adopted now? Sorry got a little lost on my thoughts. I’ve said this before….we have to stop – for those of us who call ourselves true Womens’ Advocates…allowing women to make choices without providing or linking shame to this choice is being an advocate, not telling them they have to be able to do this parent thing. When we start providing adoption as a choice for women instead of throwing service at them that they can never follow through on and then yanking their kids from them, when we start letting them help to choose a family in an open adoption, one that they can be part of…that’s when we can say we are TRUE advocates.
Okay – the child. I could spend the next year surfing the internet for information on this. Fortunately we do see a trend of more satisfied adults who were adopted in this generation then the last few. I believe Open Adoption is a reason for this. Obviously there are always going to be children /adults who are not happy that they were adopted. My question is always this, would they have been happy in a situation where they weren’t? I don’t know if anyone can answer this. I fully believe that most adopted children go through an identity crisis and they grieve for their biological families and many have attachment problems and the list goes on and on….I also know plenty of children who have stayed in biological homes and have a grocery list of problems as well. I know child who grew up in families with alcoholic or drug addicted parents who spend all of their insurance benefits on counseling or have been divorced themselves five times or turned out to be crappy parents because their parents were crappy. And I know lots of children who were adopted and yes are happy about it, not grateful, not fake happy because they feel they have to make their adoptive parents happy but happy themselves and successful in life.
Adoption is not always the right choice, we have women come to us who do decide to parent after talking with us, and we support that, we work with them and help them to make good choices. But for those that are asking for help, for those that continue to make bad choice after bad choice…we have to remove the stigma of adoption, we have to provide information about why it’s important to make a plan and be proud of that instead of letting the court make that choice or do a safe place drop at a hospital. Adoption can be a benefit to everyone..the family the birth/first mom and most importantly the child. But we have to work together to make that happen