Comments for Adoption As Crusade?

[The problem is now fixed–you can comment on the previous post.   All my fault, but I assure you unintentional.  I’ll leave this post here as a tribute to my fallibility.] 

For some reason you cannot post comments on my last post.   This is not my choice–I might have done it accidentally, but certainly not on purpose.  I’m in a rush and cannot figure out how to fix it, so I invite you to post your comments here.   Sorry about that.


8 responses to “Comments for Adoption As Crusade?

  1. Why don’t they promote adopting foster care children?
    These children are clearly in need of a home. And many of them are already Christian, maybe even most, as we live in a predominantly Christian country.

    Maybe I’m prejudiced but I worry about whether the children will be well parented by the adopters, if the adopter’s primary goal is not to see to their welfare but to convert them to their religion.

    Indeed I could, as I often do, say the same thing about religious fundamentalists parenting their own biological children. But at least the biological children were not acquired with that express purpose in mind, so one would hope the parents’ love would be primary. (Although I know too many real life cases in which it doesnt…)

    • I share the concerns you raise, though I worry I’m being suspicious and uncharitable. In addition to the point you raise, one might note that helping people (including parents and children) to thrive in their own countries/cultures is another approach that seems more respectful. I realize, of course, that many people (including many Christians) do exactly that. Why would this approach be preferable?

  2. I’m concerned that these children may never be able to find their families and that their parents may at some point return for them and find that they no longer have any say in the lives of their own children. I wish adoption did not make the adoptors “parents”. I wish that adoption was just a way to help a family in need and did not create a new family for people who adopt. Then if the children came to the United States, they could go back once their parents were on their feet again – that is of course if the children wanted to return home and if they did not then maybe some reasonable split living arrangements where the kids went home to their families for the summer could be arranged.
    Yes, it disturbs me that people would adopt in order to convert children to their religion, but of greater concern to me is that people don’t adopt to help a child in need they adopt to become parents and then they are converting the child to being a member of their family rather than of their own family.
    Raising other people’s children as if they were your own tells the kid even though you are a member of another family your a member of mine as well and I’m so grateful your in my life. But claiming another person’s child as your own so that you erase their other family well to me that is just wrong.
    To me the lipmus test is are these people really trying to help children in need or are they looking for a way to build their own families with bricks from found in the rubble of another family’s disaster.

    • I am reminded that adoption is one of those places where I strongly disagree with you, though I share your misgivings about this specific story about adoption practices.

      When it is properly regulated/conducted, adoption is an important device for ensuring the well-being of children. For those children who are adopted in this manner, it is important that the relationship between the adopter/child be recognized as a parent/child relationship. To assign the adopter to some other category would necessarily diminish the importance/legitimacy/vitality of that relationship. There is no separate but equal here. A parent is the real thing and anything else is lesser. If the people who complete adoption aren’t parents, then they are second-rate.

      This doesn’t meet that adoptive parents do or should obliterate memory of the parents who preceeded them. it doesn’t mean anything about open vs. closed adoption, either.

      I’m not entirely sure where you and I part company about this question. Do you think that adoptive parents really are second-class because they do not share DNA? Or do you think that describing them as something other than parents doesn’t really make them second-class?

      All that said, I share the thoughts you express as far as this particular manifestation of adoption.

  3. No I don’t know where you get the idea that I think anyone is second class, I’m not mean or derogatory like that, not intentionally anyway. You have said many times how being recognized as a child’s Mother or Father or Parent has weight. So does being a child’s adoptive Mother or Father or Parent have weight, in fact being an adoptive Mother or Father or Parent has more weight than just being a parent, because obviously if there is an adoptive Mother, Father or Parent, somewhere there are just plain old parents who’ve lost or gave away their responsibility for raising their child to adulthood. I am concerned with the finality of adoption and the level of authority adoptive parents have in deciding what’s best for the adopted child because they can choose to cut ties completely with the child’s family even if there are no restraining orders and they don’t pose a physical threat to the child. I’m concerned greatly with the fact that many people give children up for adoption when they are either very young or in dire economic straits and both of those things can work themselves out in a few years and they can be ready willing and able to raise their child, but its too late, its all or nothing, nobody was willing to help raise the child for a while without saying that they are no longer the child’s parents. There is no attempt to work with the parents co-raising the child, the parents have to wait until their child is 18 to get them back although I know its happening behind the scenes more now as families are recoonecting on facebook well before 18.
    No I don’t at all feel adoptive parents are second class and I’ve actually come to view it much more favorably than I have in the past, but certainly not as favorably as I did before I started helping reconnect families. I use to be one of those “well you can always adopt” “biology does not matter people” if I have not mentioned it before. I come from a family full of adoption and de-facto fatherhood and I mean like in my house that I was raised in. I’m just saying I wish adoption were different and did not give people who adopt quite as much leway in severing ties with the adopted child’s family. When the adopted child is not officially a foundling but is simply a child whose family is extremely poor from a nation without a welfare system that allows families to raise their children without fear of them starving to death or not receiving medical care – I mean how dare someone come along and say that a mother who parts with her child to save that child’s life, is not always that child’s mother and nobody else should be calling themselves mother without some sort of qualifier how horribly cruel and disrespectful, they have her child but to claim her title as well? How aweful it must be to have given up a child because you thought they’d be safer in an adoptive home, then if your lucky enough to see your child again when they are grown – to hear that child say “My real mother is the mother that raised me” That must be like a knife through the heart. That is all I’m saying. There are few true foundlings and in those instances there is nobody ever going to come back for the child.

    • In general I don’t believe people can be expected to do anything 100% altruistically. People will not adopt a child that they can never consider their own. It’s also unfair to expect them to love the child as their own while expecting the child not to consider them its own.
      This is a tough situation. Now the dollar may not go too far, I don’t know, but in the past, for money people spent on international adoption they could have supported that same child in comfort while living with its family, for much less money. Yet all that would mean to them is a loss of money. They would receive no benefit at all. It would be unrealistic to expect large numbers of people to take that route. And in the meantime what’s to be done about those starving children.

      • Kisarita
        “In general I don’t believe people can be expected to do anything 100% altruistically.” Certainly if someone adopts they are doing it to bring the joy of a child into their home, to fill the home with the kind of life that only children can provide.
        “People will not adopt a child that they can never consider their own.” Yeah, I know which is why adoption sux so often. There are exceptions to that rule. There are people that are perfectly comfortable in the idea that to be an adoptive parent means somewhere there is a parent that gave them permission to raise their child.
        With international adoption your dealing many times with mother’s and father’s who would raise their child were it not for abject poverty and lack of resources. The only way to ensure the survival of their child is to consent to an adoption – I certainly still consider those people the child’s parents and I think its vile for anyone to suggest they are replaceable.

        If international adoption were more like host families that kept in close contact with the child’s parents and flew the parents out for visits or the child back for visits that would give them a lifelong bond of family without utterly destroying the child’s family. Imagine being a kid in that situation, knowing your mother would have kept you had it not been for a life of grinding poverty – knowing the money spent to adopt you could have been given to your mother so your family could stay intact. Imagine the resentment towards your adoptive parents….”if you really loved me you would have helped my mother keep me” People who adopt internationally often throw their hands up and say – “gee we’d love OUR child to know his Chineese Mother but there is no way, she was left in a basket with a note in a red envelope…..”They went looking for a child in a basket on a bridge. Its not like they opened their front door and there was a baby in a basket sitting there. They specifically went shopping for children who could never find their parents. Its creepy and you know, those orphanages manufacture stories that sell product. Its gross I have no solution. I just help people find their families, I need to go cold turkey.

    • I think we generally understand that the people who are called “parents” are the really important ones. If we call people who have adopted children something other than “parents” we mark of them off as different and necessarily inferior. I can just hear someone saying “No, I’m not her parent, I’m [insert new term here.]”

      That’s the point I was trying to make. I take you at your word that you do not think them second-class, but I think the language we use matters.

      There are other questions of course, about how adoptions should be completed and things like that. Those are a bit beyond the scope of this particular post, but generally important. One key idea is that children do best when they are raised in stable relationships where they can form durable attachments. (That’s part of why we protect parental rights once they are conferred.) Adoption is permanent. The alternative is foster care, which is not.

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