Monday, November 12, 2007

This is what it's like (Part 2)

The end of the last post may have made you think I'm done with adoption. But, I'm not saying I won't adopt. I think maybe I can feel better about my role in the triad if I try to make it as positive an experience as it can be, if we are as open and honest with potential firstmoms as possible. I just worry that that makes us complicit in the whole thing. If demand for adoptable babies fuels the industry and I am part of the demand, then I am part of the problem.

What am I saying then? I don't think I could consider adopting a white infant privately from an agency. In the past we have stated that we were open to any race. But I really think that the demand for white babies (and therefore the large amounts of money attached to them) is the part of private agency adoption that is most wrong and most damaging. It creates a culture that values some babies and devalues others, that it makes it OK to do or say certain things to e-moms (especially white e-moms) because there are so many parents who want to adopt white babies. If we don't participate in that segment of the industry that drives the most illicit practices, maybe that's OK... or at least more OK. Making the change official probably has no consequences in actuality - I can't imagine any agency placing a white baby with us when that's the only kind of baby some a-parents will accept.

I also think there may only be a handful of agencies we could work with. I know I'm painting agencies with a wide brush, but there are some good ones out there. There are a few characteristics we'll look for. Definitely not-for-profit. Definitely not ones who spend a lot of money in national advertising. Definitely not ones who charge different fees for different races. Maybe ones that only focus on African American or biracial adoption. The small social service oriented Luterhan agency we're working with in Cleveland is good, I think, but they focus more on international adoption, so the odds of us adopting domestically through them are probably pretty low. I've also read good things about two other agencies and we're checking into them now.

But, really, when you get right down to it, I'm beginning to think the best solution (for us) is to adopt from foster care. I hate to admit that, I really do. I love being a foster parent but I hate what that means - social workers and no real rights to the kids we love so much, and now, unannounced quarterly home visits.

The thing I've realized about adopting from foster care though, is I at least know moms aren't pressured to relinquish. On the contrary, those moms are probably 100 times more supported than most first moms who are working with private agencies. It seems like biological parents get more support (financial and otherwise), more intervention and more assistance in parenting from social services than they ever would from the typical private agency who is helping them decide whether to parent or not. Of course, bioparents in the system don't choose to be there. But I do think most children who end up in care end up there for a very good reason. And I do think that most bioparents get plenty of chances to get their kids back, and (at least in my county) plenty of support to help them do that.

As I've heard a lot of people say, in a perfect world, adoption would not exist. Given that it does, and it looks like that's how PB and I will build our family, the best option for us seems to be foster-to-adopt. But when I really get to the end of my rope with the red tape and the waiting and the uncertainty and the trauma of losing babies, maybe working with an ethical agency who specializes in placing African American children is our next option.


Dawn said...

Adoption Link is supposed to be a very good, very ethical agency specializing in african american adoption (it's the one Shannon at Peter's Cross Station used). That said, if you're hoping for an adoption with visits, it might be best to think about adopting within the state.

Our agency (Ohio) has the different fees, which sucks. They did try to go to a sliding scale based on family income but for some reason they stopped that -- our old social worker said it fell apart but didn't say why. I was pretty happy with them although I think there are things they could improve. (Adoption by Gentle Care, by the way, if you want to give them a call -- all caveats in place, of course. And if you hear anything hinky about them let me know because I'd want to be aware of it.)

Robin said...

I agree. I don't think I will build my family any other way besides foster/adopt or african adoption.

JUST A MOM said...

HANG IN THERE you are in my thoughts always,,,, hey I got Fawn a maybe new boyfriend who knows hahahha