Two days ago I cited an blog series that is running in the New York Time’s about international adoption. The post about Ethiopian Adoption sparked an interesting debate about international adoption vs. domestic. There are a few comment that stuck me in particular and I am posting them below. As you read through them, you will begin to understand the many viewpoints we are presented with almost daily regarding our choice.
I don’t understand… why so many foreign adoptions when thousands of American children don’t have good homes?
— Posted by Donna
Donna — When many people see children, they don’t see borders.
Usually I find the people who ask this question haven’t adopted children themselves.
— Posted by Christy
Donna, The reason there are so many foreign adoptions is that in this country the laws favor the birth parents. I’m not saying that is right or wrong, but that is the reason we adopted children internationally. We knew we could not deal with the birth mother “changing her mind” at day 89 like three of our friends had.It’s also more of a sure thing; you don’t finance the medical costs of the birth mother only to have her change her mind in the hospital.
— Posted by Adrienne
Thank you for sharing with us all your lasting story. It takes courage and caring to adopt and even to accept others without wanting a return, many many wishes to you and your family as your loves grow.
In regards to adopting from other countries and especially the third world countries – as mentioned- it is way easy and very genuine process.
— Posted by aa
Adrienne: while I am sure that many folks do adopt from other countries to avoid the birthmother, but, there are also many other factors. Also, I find it interesting that you say that the US favors the
birth mother. Shouldn’t adoption, international or
domestic, favor the child?
— Posted by Kathy
Donna – a child who needs a family is a child who needs a family…it doesn’t matter where that child happens to live. People choose IA for a variety of reasons, usually after a great deal of thinking and soul searching.
Dr. Aronson – thank you so much for sharing your story. I am the mom of two children from China and I understand many of the fears you had.
For those who do not believe in adoption or international adoption (yes, these people do exist), I ask you to read very carefully about the authors experiences in Arrat Kilo. Each and every one of those begging, homeless children deserves a home, education, medical attention, clean food and drinking water and a FAMILY, if they have lost theirs.
— Posted by Margaret
I still don’t understand, just the other day there was a story on NPR about children “aging out of foster care” mainly because no one cared to adopt them in this country. Why do these women, mostly, go traipsing across the ocean(s) for these children while our children are languishing in foster care et. al.
I notice there was a preponderance of comments that thought the doctor was “brave” I beg to differ. If it is so difficult to adopt here raise hell and change the laws I think our children are worth it.
— Posted by Linda
And to Donna – consider that children awaiting adoption in America are likely to be well taken care of, while these overseas orphans are often in situations that are unhealthy and even life-threatening, so the adoption of one of these can be a life saving gift to a child that is truly “at risk.”
— Posted by Janet
For the people who criticize those of us who adopt foreign children: The children who languish in foster care are often unavailable, or parents who should have lost their right to get their children back are allowed by our courts to do so. Or prospective parents are told, as I was at 42, that they are too old. So I too traipsed, as you put it, to Ethiopia and adopted 4 children. Have those of you who criticize us have adopted children yourselves?
— Posted by Mary Fulton
Dr Jane, thanks for sharing your story, I think every child in this world, even if he is living in America, Asia, Europe, Africa, etc. deserves the attention and care of a loving mother as you.
I live in Mexico (maybe you can see it in my grammar), and here is to hard and complicated to adopt, but the effort to do it worth it.
I think every mother that adopts and share love with a new son is brave, no mather what it takes to proceed.
Anyway, I want to share my thoughts: I think the poorest kids in the world who live in the more susceptible areas should be a priority to been helped and loved.
— Posted by Azucena
I adopted an 11 year old boy who is now 17 and unlike those of you who are criticizing Donna, I ask myself the same question all the time. Why do we leave all these children in America to lead horrible lives in poverty, without much education (who is going to see that they get to school?) and even less love or affection? An older child is even more difficult to place and make an emotionally disturbed one even harder yet. We have persevered and I have a wonderful son. There are hundred of thousands of children in foster care in the US. Isn’t it about time we took care of them?
— Posted by Lee
I have several friends who considered adopting toddlers or young children in this country as single women in their 40s. They knew they wouldn’t be eligible for infants because of their ages and marital status. They couldn’t adopt. One was told she could adopt a severely disabled child and receive money to care for him or her because the child’s care would require her to stay home and not work. The only kids they could adopt (severly troubled or sick and old enough to be hard to handle/lift/help) are exactly the kinds of kids who probably two parents the most — yet these are the only kids single women can adopt. This is a BIG reason why some people go abroad to adopt. Even then, few countries allow single-parent adoptions. One parent is better than none. I wish something could be done about that problem.
— Posted by Peggy
Poster#13 On the flip side, international adoptions from poverty ridden countries such as Ethiopia completely lack birth parent protection. That is why scandals after scandals about child trafficking keep on coming up when an adoption destination becomes too popular.
But who cares about the poor birth parents and whether or not they truly understand what is happening! That is a good thing for American adopters yes?!
In this case, it sounds like Jane Aronson adopted a child who truly had no one to care for him. But in many cases, children adopted have live parents. In order for international adoption to be ethical, someone must put in some protection for these families.
— Posted by BB
While this discussion has to play out, often repeatedly since it is initiated by many we meet, I find the criticism of another persons path to parenthood entirely insulting. M. & I want to add children to our family. If we could have them on our own, like many can, people would not criticize our path to parenthood. Since we cannot, it seems that everyone has an opinion about the choice we made.
I added the comments above to illustrate how truly difficult our decision is. Our decision to adopt from Ethiopia was not one we took lightly. Please understand that the facts we took into consideration while making our decision were for us and by us. Our situation cannot be compared to others because each couple makes the decision that works for them considering their unique set of circumstances. As I react to some of the comments above and state our view, please know that I am not criticizing another’s decision.
We decided to pursue international adoption instead of domestic for a few basic reasons. While there are many uncertainties with international adoption, the time frame can often be more predictable. In domestic adoption, parents put their profile into a book and wait to be chosen by a birth mother. This could happen immediately or never. In addition, we struggled with the aspect of being chosen. Because of some of our life decisions we fear that we may never be chosen. It was difficult enough coming to terms with not being able to have children on our own, but we could not handle the possible rejection that can happen with domestic adoption. Also, there is considerable risk with failed placement. We are aware of couples who have had a child taken back during the time in which a birth parent can legally do so. Yes these examples are often over highlighted, but the chance if it happening at all was too great. Simply put, there are risks associated with both international and domestic, but because of who we are, we were more comfortable with the risks involved in international adoption.
I will be the first to admit that my justification above is simplified. There are also many more reasons why we chose international adoption, more specifically the Ethiopia Program. I do plan on elaborating on those reasons as well as reactions to some of the comments above once I have a few moments to adequately gather my thoughts.