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The allure of the "orphan"

 
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 08:14 pm
Is America simply mis-marketing their adoptable children with a foster care system instead of orphanages?

I mean... we know most kids in foreign orphanages aren't really filled with orphans -- they have parents out there walking around. They're just "throw away" kids like the ones that end up in the American foster care system.

But adopting from a foreign orphanage involves travel , and visiting an actual orphanage and stuff -- you know, kind of cool, millionaire movie star type stuff -- where adopting from the American foster care system seems more "take what you get".

Foreign orphans are kind of glamorous but foster kids.... not so much....

I know this sounds harsh, but I'm serious, and seriously interested.

I understand that newborn adoption from anywhere is a whole other story so I'd really like to hear your thoughts about older child (4+) adoption.

Why don't people adopt from foster care first?

Would American kids stand a better chance if we offered the orphanage experience?

Please note: I am totally in favor of adoption from everywhere and anywhere but would just like to see American foster kids get a fair shake.
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 08:23 pm
To take it up a notch...

If we opened orphanages where people from Sweden or Spain could come and pick out a kid would we find more homes for kids that need them?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 08:30 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
But adopting from a foreign orphanage involves travel , and visiting an actual orphanage and stuff -- you know, kind of cool, millionaire movie star type stuff -- where adopting from the American foster care system seems more "take what you get".


what I hear from people who adopt from foreign orphanages is not about anything cool - it's about there being virtually no way that the birth parents will ever have any contact

there's a pretty significant group of people who want to adopt who want NO part of the child's history leaking into their lives - it's why they don't want to foster or adopt locally - or even from the same continent

nothing cool about it - it's about fear
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 08:38 pm
@ehBeth,
Great point, ehBeth. Thank you.

I can totally understand that. Open adoptions can be a complete pain in the ass sometimes. Closed and distant adoptions do have their benefits.

But so do open adoptions... especially for older kids.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 08:46 pm
@boomerang,
I'm fairly sure that open adoptions can have benefits for some of the children involved.

Regrettably, it reduces the pool of people who are interested in adopting.

I hadn't realized how very very negatively some people view open adoptions until a get-together with a friend, who was explaining why his sister was adopting from China for the second time. She was willing to expose her children to their culture of origin, but she was not interested at all in the possibility of any contact, EVER, with birth parents/families. She and her husband had been on the waiting list to adopt here for many years, were nearing the top - then discovered there really was no such thing as a completely closed adoption available. Ka-boom, off to China they go.

When I brought it up in conversations over the next couple of years, turned out it wasn't an unusual reaction to current adoption policies/politics. I was the only surprised person.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 09:08 pm
Then you have foreign adoptions from orphanages where the American adoptive parents think they have the right to ship the kid back if they don't know how to cope. Unbelievable!

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-russia-adoption13-2010apr13,0,240395.story
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 09:41 pm
@boomerang,
NYC used to have an annual Adoption Fair to promote the adoption of children from foster care.
http://home2.nyc.gov/html/om/html/97/sp389-97.html
I don't know whether they still have it anymore.

Programs like Wednesday's Child also promote adoptions of foster children.
http://wednesdayschild.adopt.org/

People can now use the internet to view photos of available children, so that's sort of like having an orphanage, where one can go "child-shopping".
http://www.comeunity.com/adoption/waiting/photolists.html

While there are many children in foster care, only a relatively very small percentage of them are actually free for adoption. We put children in foster care, but their biological parents still retain their parental rights.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 09:48 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
there's a pretty significant group of people who want to adopt who want NO part of the child's history leaking into their lives - it's why they don't want to foster or adopt locally - or even from the same continent
I remember a few big budget movies that revolved around the birth mother changing her mind about adoption and yanking the kid back, I wonder if this fear is fact based or manufactured by the entertainment industry.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 09:53 pm
@ehBeth,
Yeah. A lot of people freak out about open adoption. In Oregon there really aren't closed adoptions so that was never a consideration for me.

Plus, for me, Mo's other mom is a good person. I really love her. She had a bad deal handed to her. We haven't seen her in a long time -- her decision -- and I miss her. When I gained him, I lost her. Unusual, I know.

I do understand why people want closed adoptions but I don't think they're really best for the kids. I've talked before about Mr. B's "Glamour Parent" concepts -- that what you don't know, what you fantasize about, is always seductive when the real world is all about chores and homework and nagging moms and dads.

I "get" closed adoptions and sometimes I envy the anonymous nature of them but it could have never happend for me.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 09:54 pm
@CalamityJane,
That's the topic that led to my post, CJane!

Is that crazy stuff or what?

Your adoption is closed, isn't it?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 09:59 pm
@firefly,
I'm familiar with most of those programs but it still isn't the same as going to an orphanage, I don't think. Foster kids aren't as alluring as "orphans".

I don't know the numbers but I do know that a most kids in my area are TPR'd within a year of entering foster care. Oregon is pretty strict about a parent getting their act together if they want their kids back.

I'm cool with that.

My sister is a social worker in another state and she really believes that parents should get multiple chances to fix their problems and reclaim their kids.

I tell her straight out that she's completely full of ****. "Parents" shouldn't get mulligans at their kid's expense.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:01 pm
@hawkeye10,
It takes an average of six months to finalize an adoption in the U.S. I believe that the birth mother, or father, can change their mind during this period, and halt the adoption process and have the child returned to them. If the adoptive parents are found to be unsuitable during this period, the adoption agency can also remove the child from the home. And, if the adoption is not working out, the adoptive parents can halt it and return the child to the agency.

I think all the adoptive parents I've known were very anxious until the day the adoption was finalized. They worried about something going wrong, someone changing their mind. They didn't feel absolutely certain that the child was theirs until the day the adoption was finalized.

CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:01 pm
@boomerang,
Yes boomer, our adoption was not open and there were good reasons why not.
As she gets older, Jane asks more questions, but she's not old enough to deal with it yet. However, we did talk about the possibility that her bio parents might not be what she makes them to be in her fantasy.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:03 pm
@hawkeye10,
That's exactly what I was talking about on the other thread, hawkeye!

We have "educated" the American public to think that adopting from our foster care system is fraught with danger.

ehBeth is in Canada. They've got their own adoption history but I'm willing to bet that the fear comes from the same place.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:05 pm
@firefly,
That's not true, firefly.
It takes one year until the adoption is finalized and no child enters the adoption process if either parent has not relinquished, or due to
court order parental rights were taken.

It would be terrible if adoptive parents can return the child if it's not working out. A child is not a merchandise.

Also, adoptive parents have to go through a "home study" process in
order to qualify. They cannot be found unfit some months after they have
been approved.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:11 pm
@firefly,
I know our adoption was atypical -- it took 4 years; we went from family friends to power of attorney to guardians to psychological parents to adoptive parents.

There are ways to protect an unrelated child from dangerous family.

I think that ownership thing -- that the child is "yours" -- is a shitty deal for the kid. That's one of the really sucky things about the way adoption happens.

I'm an old hippie type though so what do I know about owning people?
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:15 pm
@CalamityJane,
I'd love to know how you deal with that fantasy as Jane gets older. That has to be the hardest part of a closed adoption. I don't think I could handle the Glamour Parent aspect of a closed adoption -- Mr. B has a hard time with it and adoption doesn't even enter the picture with him!

I admire your ability to handle it. I know it has to be hard.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:19 pm
@CalamityJane,
You know...... I do know a biological parent who relinqished their child to theraputic foster care several years ago.

They haven't and won't ever TPR her because she's a responsible parent for placing her child.

Note: she had to do this beause there was no other way for her kid to get the therapy she needed so she was, in fact, being responsible, in a terribly heart-breaking way.

Meanwhile her daughter grows up wondering what the hell happened.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:22 pm
@boomerang,
I compare it to the Santa Claus effect - the kids glorify Santa and in their mind he brings all the presents whereas in reality it's us parents who stress over the right presents etc. etc. and then we get no thanks for it as Santa brought all the gifts.

When the kids get older they find out that there is no Santa and they're
disappointed and the magic seems to have gone, but at the same time they
realize that their parents were the ones who made everything possible and
they start to appreciate Santa's helpers.

hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 10:26 pm
@CalamityJane,
Quote:
but at the same time they
realize that their parents were the ones who made everything possible and
they start to appreciate Santa's helpers.
at what age does this finally kick in?
 

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