Sunday, March 17, 2013

More reflections on the adoption thing

This has been in my head a lot and I have to admit that this is a somewhat self indulgent blog post as I need to download and make sense of it all.

The more I think about it, the more I think that the negativity wasn't just directed at me. Although it felt very personal, a couple of days later I could see that actually it wasn't. I have been trying to make sense of it. Maybe they just want to get rid of any faint hearted folk right at the beginning. This would save a lot of hassle. Only the really committed and strong people would continue with the process - this may actually be a good filter. So am I one of those? 

I think perhaps I am not.      Yet. 

I have also been totally honest with them. For me adoption is a choice I am considering. I do truly feel that I could give a home to a child that needs it. I would love to be able to provide a home to someone and to add to our family that way. In many ways it feels to me like it is the best option all round. Someone who needs it gets a home and family, BB doesn't have to endure a pregnant mum, my ageing body doesn't have to be pregnant or give birth again - all three of us would be winners.



But perhaps it isn't meant to be that easy. Perhaps the starting point for the adoption process being one year after your fertility treatment is a way to filter out the people who have no other options. People who are considering their options could well be time wasters. Although this is something I am considering with utmost seriousness, I have also agreed with DD for 2 more tries at getting pregnant (we just had one of those!). Thing is I really just can't see it happening! 

If I did decided to commit to the adoption path I would of course give up on the TTC thing. After all, I am not in the position to get pregnant by accident, so I could, theoretically, be a safer choice than a couple who have had failed fertility treatment. Thing is, now that I have been to the meeting, I feel like it is not an available option. Perhaps I will investigate another authority after those two tries, but for now I am going to leave it.

I have also been thinking a lot about adoption in general. Like several people I have spoken to recently, I am wondering how comfortable I am with many of the current practices. I already discussed how I find it impossible to decide what contact is appropriate with birth parents without knowing the individuals, but I have been thinking about this even more. 

As you know I have thought a lot about a child being able to find out about they genetic make up. Those thoughts didn't change, but where has the idea come from that there must be contact, or that telling a child that they are adopted all the time is a good thing? 

I was talking about this with some mums the other day - one of the younger ones has two friends that were adopted since it became policy to tell the children right from the start - both of them wished they didn't know, that they had been told when they were older, and had some chance of a 'normal' childhood, without the stigma, and when they were old enough to deal with the issues their birth parents had. I had never considered this before, but I do understand where they are coming from. 

I once had a boyfriend who was adopted. His parents told him in his mid teens, while they were washing up. It didn't actually affect him much. He was secure in the family he had and not in the least bit curious.

The families that children come from have also changed. In the past they were from unmarried mums. Mums who would today keep their children and in most cases make a very good job of parenting. We were told that these days, all children for adoption have been taken from their families by the authorities because there is a problem.  I know of several cases where contact with the birth parents is not particularly healthy, and though I am sure that this is not always the case, that it could be good, surely we have to think about this a little bit more. Perhaps the research that says it is important to maintain that connection comes from the olden days, not from the current situation. The younger, more positive presenter at the meeting did actually hint at this - that perhaps new research would mean some changes, but current practices were based on past research.

That's the problem with research isn't it. Unless you are actually doing action research, you only have information about something that has passed, not the present. It tells you what would have been good then, not now. I don't imagine it is considered ethical to do action research on kids that are in need of adoption, so I guess there will always be a bit of a time lag. I do hope it moves forward a bit soon though, as right now it seems to me that the system is failing both the kids and potential parents. 



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2 comments:

  1. I think it's often overlooked how different adoption is nowadays as opposed to, say, pre-Roe vs. Wade. People still think there are institutions full of healthy white babies waiting to be adopted, but that's just not the case. From the admittedly minimal research I once did, I found as you that most kids were taken away, not given away, and have physical or mental health problems. I'm glad there are loving families to take these kids on and turn it around for them, but I know enough about myself to know I don't have it in me.

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  2. And because most of the children have been taken away, not given away, they are older, since the process of dispute takes time (fair enough really, if someone's taking a child away from its parents they have a right to dispute that and for the decision to be considered carefully) and have been through a fairly long period of upheaval. I suppose one of the reasons for the careful screening of adopters is that they don't want to risk any more upheaval for these children, who may well be difficult children to take care of.

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