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View Diary: Is Adoption The Better Option? (170 comments)

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  •  As someone going through infertility (14+ / 0-)

    treatments, I and others in the same boat often hear "you can always adopt", as if it's like going down to the pound and choosing the perfect floofy kitten. Adoption is not for every infertile couple, nor is it right for every woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant.  

    A dear friend of mine gave up her first baby for adoption, and struggles even now, 15 years later, with the pain of having given her up, despite the fact that she now has 4 great kids of her own.

    As for myself, I would have no problem with adopting a baby, except it costs 10 times as much (or more) as fertility treatments with about as high a possibility of "success".  All things considered, treatments were a better choice for us.

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."-- Isaac Asimov.

    by ssundstoel on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 03:03:51 AM PDT

    •  You're right that adoption is not for everyone- (12+ / 0-)

      but you're wrong that it's (necessarily) so expensive.  My daughter adopted two perfectly healthy, beautiful newborn babies.  She was single at the time, with a teacher's salary and a mortgage to pay.
      There are agencies that do not rip people off-- the woman who got the ball rolling for my grandaughter's adoption works with voluntary contributions.  She considers it her mission to find families for babies of color.  
      I understand that trans-racial adoption is not for everyone, but I know that babies are born every day who need families to love them.  And if those babies are not white, they are hard to place- and consequently the "cost" goes down dramatically.  It's kind of depressing, actually, but it's reality.
      Adoption can be a bit of a minefield-- there are often disappointments and setbacks along the way-- but a successful adoption makes it all worthwhile. (Especially if you're lucky enough to get kids as fabulous as my grandkids.)

      •  i have never for the life of me... (9+ / 0-)

        ...been able to figure out why people tweak over color-matching their babies.  

        But I think I'll take a couple of wild guesses.

        Perhaps it's something along the lines of, "If people see my white* spouse and I pushing a stroller with a darker-color baby, they will think that it was the result of having an affair."

        For women:  "They'll think I had an affair with a black guy."

        For men:  "They'll think my wife had an affair with a black guy and I'm a cuckold."

        And in the event that the situation is recognized as an adoption, then for men there is also this, which is of supreme importance to most human males:

        "If everyone knows we've adopted, they'll think I have a defective penis!"

        Really, humans, get over it and evolve!

        ---

        *About "white."  It ain't white, it's pink.  Look at someone you know who's nominally white, and color-match their skin to a Pantone chart or a web graphics color wheel.  See?, it's pink!  We ought to drop that word "white" and replace it with "pink."   And instead of referring to "whites," we can refer to "pinks."   What's this prejudice against pink, anyway...?

      •  I should note that (4+ / 0-)

        I'm in Norway, so the situation is different here than in the States.  I couldn't care less if I had a mixed-race adoptive baby, or one that was of another race.  In Norway, in fact, you don't get as much choice in race or gender as in the US.  However, here you have to get certified, which costs a minimum of 40,000 kroner, plus you have to pay lawyers fees and more, and the certification is only good for 2 years.  The waiting time to adopt a baby is about 5 years, so you pay for re-certification at least twice, on average.  Most couples spend well over 100,000 kroner trying to adopt here.  

        I also have a friend of Korean ancestry, who was adopted by a British family. In her case, it led to a lifetime of psychological problems; it wasn't until she got to visit Korea as an adult that she ever felt good about herself.  I'm not saying this to knock trans-racial adoption; I'm all for it.  But it can cause problems for the kids too.

        "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."-- Isaac Asimov.

        by ssundstoel on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 04:09:24 AM PDT

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        •  Yes, trans-racial adoption can cause problems (6+ / 0-)

          for the kids.  Which is why I said it's not for everyone.
          At a bare minimum, you have to be sure that you're comfortable with a child who does not cosmetically "match".  You have to check your extended family for any vestiges of racism, and if any exist, you have to be willing to tell them to get over it or get lost.
          You have to think about the toys and books and dolls you select.  You have to be prepared for frank and supportive conversations about difficult subjects, like slavery and civil rights and racism.
          In addition, you have to be willing to go the extra mile to be sure your child has contact with and exposure to people who look like him/her.  In my daughter's case, that meant that she and her husband (who adopted the kids when they married) were willing to pay private school tuition to get the kids into a school population with a good racial mix (Quaker school, in this case)- their suburban public school was very white.  And it means that they are now willing to move from a lovely suburban house into an equally lovely house in the city, where people come in all sorts of interesting colors.
          (I won't even go into the details of the effort my daughter puts in to be sure that Maya's hair will look every bit as good as any little girl with an African-American mom and years of experience in braiding and conditioning-- I used to think she was a bit obsessed about this, but apparently it really IS that important).
          So, lots of issues, but so very worth it... and I defy anyone to find two happier kids.

      •  Nebraska Children's Home (7+ / 0-)

        is a non-profit adoption agency that is operated strictly on donations.  Free pregancy and hospital care for the mother, and free adoptions for the parents-to-be.  

        One of our grandchildren was adopted from the NCH, and she and her birth mother have a wonderful relationship, but when the visit is over, she always comes 'home.'  Open adoptions are beneficial to the child, birth mother, and adoptive parents (at least it has worked out well in our family.)

        "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

        by JFinNe on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 04:47:43 AM PDT

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        •  "At risk" babies (6+ / 0-)

          I might add that there are many 'at risk' babies whose mothers are in a world of trouble because of drugs.  Our grandchild's birth mother used drugs during her pregnancy, and faced prison on drug charges.  We in the family got a quickie education about the risks involved with meth babies.

          My daughter, her husband and three children signed on for an 'at risk' baby and three months later, the NCH social worker called them at noon and asked them to visit with the birth mother that evening, and the next day, we brought our new baby home.  Our 'at risk' baby has presented challenges, but worth every minute.  

          "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

          by JFinNe on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 05:08:50 AM PDT

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        •  Yes, its a good agency. My wife and I might be (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ssundstoel, marykk, JFinNe, gramofsam1

          adopting a child through them and I know other people who have done so as well. Many of the people my wife works with have adopted children through them many of them at risk children. They don't usually charge a fee (never for kids with special needs).

          All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.- Bokonon

          by ryan81 on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 06:18:04 AM PDT

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          •  I don't have specifics on this-- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marykk

            but in addition to the possibility of no fees, I believe some states offer a subsidy for adopting special needs kids.  And there are also tax credits/deductions you might check into.
            Sorry I don't remember the details-- my daughter was not eligible for subsidies, but I do recall that there was some tax relief.  

            •  For many children (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fabian, gramofsam1

              who are wards of the state and: part of a sib group, or over the age of six (younger, I think, if they're AA), or have a disability of some sort, there are monthly subsidies available for adoptive families.  Your state's child welfare agency will know the details.  Also, it's federal law that an insurance company cannot deny coverage to an adopted child provided the child is added to the policy timely.  (And you can thank the late Henry Hyde for that amendment to the 1993 Omnibus budget reconciliation Act - and he did it specifically because, he said, it would be hypocritical to oppose abortion and not help to support adoption.) There is also either a deduction or credit, I don't recall which, for some portion of the expenses incurred in the adoption.

              If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

              by marykk on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 04:19:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Good Luck! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marykk, gramofsam1

            My daughter and her family had about three or four interviews with a NCH's social worker and they had a photograph taken of the family.  The birth mother got to read information about the family and see the pictures.  When she came to my daughter's family picture, she said They're the ones to get my baby.  I've always thought that we were the 'chosen' ones, instead of the ones choosing a baby.  I think it gave the birth mother a sense of ownership, which was nice.

            "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

            by JFinNe on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 07:31:46 AM PDT

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      •  Was going to say something similar. (7+ / 0-)

        Adoption can indeed be much cheaper than fertility treatments.

        -9.0, -8.3 We are the Media now. Put some pants on.

        by SensibleShoes on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 05:06:42 AM PDT

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      •  I should add, though, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WestWind, Fabian, william f harrison

        that in my experience adoption can be just as expensive and difficult in the US as it is here, with no guarantee that in the end one will succeed.  I doubt I would have much luck adopting had we stayed in the States; my husband is not and would not have become a citizen, and we are atheists, which immediately excludes all religious adoption services and leaves very little else.  So though there are lots of success stories like your daughter's there are even more failure stories.

        "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."-- Isaac Asimov.

        by ssundstoel on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 05:31:25 AM PDT

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        •  Citizenship would probably be a problem- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ssundstoel

          but as far as I know, my daughter never had to express any religious belief or affiliation-- which is good since she doesn't have one.
          She likes the Quakers for their pacifism and social justice movements, but religious she is not.

          •  No. Citizenship would not be a problem. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ssundstoel, gramofsam1

            There is no requirement that an adoptive parent be a citaen.  I have worked on cases involving Canadian Hutterites who came to the US and adopted African American children.  Who went home and looked as no Hutterites had ever looked before.  

            I've done other adoptions involving foreign parents, some of whom are living in the US and others who return with the child to their nation of origin.

            If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

            by marykk on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 06:09:19 AM PDT

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    •  interesting.... (6+ / 0-)

      ..so there's an immediate injustice to fix:  the cost of adoption should be less than the cost of medically-assisted pregnancy.  In fact the cost of adoption should be zero, paid for with tax dollars.  

      People should be able to choose how to have a child (by sex, by medical assistance, or by adoption) without regard to the comparative financial cost of each of those options.  The decision should rest upon the intrinsic merits of each option as the family sees it, not upon economics.

      •  I agree! (7+ / 0-)

        If there was a better system not just for the adoptive parents, but for the women in the situation where they want to give up their kids, it would be a better option.  As it is, it is often prohibitively expensive.  In the US, fertility treatments are often covered, to some extent or other, by health insurance, but adoption isn't covered by anything.

        "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."-- Isaac Asimov.

        by ssundstoel on Fri Mar 20, 2009 at 04:11:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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