Apr 13 2010
There’s been a large emphasis on international adoptions in the news lately– especially the ones that didn’t go successfully. Being a true nerd, I can usually get a good idea of general opinions by reading comment sections of news stories all over the internet. The one thing that people come back to (many, very condescendingly so) is this: Why don’t people adopt inside the US?
To those people, I’d like to say, “Let’s put away our judgy-pants, please.”
Please allow me to shed some light on reasons why international adoption is the best decision for some people. People who adopt abroad aren’t unknown versions of Angelina Jolie or Madonna. They aren’t looking for the latest in “exotic babies.” For many people, the decision to adopt is paved with disappointment and heartache. They are average people who just want a family, and who can criticize for that?
The Cash Monies
Domestic adoption can be extremely expensive. I mean, we’re talking 1960s-home-in-a-decent-older-neighborhood kind of money, and in some cases, it can be even more. That’s not to say that some parents don’t pay less. Money (the possession or lack of) does not make a parent. It’s all about the love, y’all. International adoption is often half the price of domestic adoption if done in a country without epic corruption. To Regular Joes who just want to share their love with a child, this is often a really practical solution.
Fostering to Adopt
It’s worth noting that when the US child protective system doesn’t work like it should, it REALLY doesn’t work. Adoptive parents can foster to adopt for little or no cost. Many times it all works out like a dream, and families live happily ever after. However, if things go wrong, this alternative can come at a high emotional price for all. Sometimes the same mothers who were deemed unfit can clean up their act and get the child back. It takes a really, really special adoptive/foster parent to give of themselves in such a potentially heart breaking situation. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t made with such resilience. As I mentioned before– adoption makes you acknowledge all sorts of things about yourself… especially the hard stuff.
Critics of international adoption often cite all current foster children when promoting their US-only adoption stance. It’s easy to be an arm chair quarterback, but until you seriously face a dilemma, it’s impossible to know what you would do. No one wants to see a child suffer in a bad home OR in legal limbo. There’s no “right” answer here.
And, oh yeah…
Some other reasons people consider international adoption include restrictions placed by agency adoptions (such as age, religion, marital status), difficulty entering into a private adoption, wait times…. the list goes on. However, there are some risks involved. It’s not always all sunshine and rainbows. Parents must consider the lack of medical history on their child, the cost of corruption in the child’s home country, and red tape between countries. It’s really important to have a strong organization backing the adoptive parents.
There are beautiful success stories and terrifying horror stories associated with most things, and adoption is no different. I’d venture to say that except for the statistical outliers on the news, virtually no adoptive parent chooses a path thoughtlessly.
As for K and me? We’re trying the domestic adoption path and attending a one-day orientation next month. It’s all scary, new, and exciting, so we’re most comfortable with the ole tried and true method. But next time you hear someone criticizing another for international adoptions, feel free to point them to this post. Maybe they’ll be slower to judge once they understand the other side of the coin. Life is filled with mostly gray areas with very little true black and white. Adoption is no different.