Foster Care = Ethical Adoption

Maybe my son’s birth mom would have kept him if she had had more support.  It’s a thought that haunts me.  And it’s a thought that has led me to be a foster parent.

My son Silent One was adopted out of international foster care at age six.  His birth father had died and Soledad, his birth mom, determined she couldn’t feed all of her children and keep them safe from rampant gang violence.  In an act of love so powerful that it humbles me every time I think of it, she chose to find a new family for Silent One so he could live.  I know this story, because I talked to Soledad, talked to the social worker, and talked to Silent One.

But about a year after we brought Silent One home, the adoption agency we used was shut down by the U.S. Department of State under charges of coerced relinquishments of children.  In other words, they said the agency was part of a group that were paying poor women to give up their babies and maybe even taking their babies.  The investigation revealed that this didn’t apply to Silent One’s case, thank God!  The story of why Silent One came into foster care was all too true.

It made me think, though.  Here in the United States, we have social safety nets.  We have welfare, WIC, free school breakfasts and lunches, free education, housing subsidies, medicare, etc.  If you don’t have those resources available, perhaps you are more likely to choose to relinquish your child.  Not because you want to find adoptive parents for your children, but because you don’t have the resources necessary to keep them yourself.

If there is a chance for a family to be together, that’s what I want to work towards.  I want to keep moms and dads and brothers and sisters together as family.  And when all avenues are exhausted for keeping children with their parents, I want to be there to provide a new home.

Foster care is about doing exactly that.  As a foster parent, I am helping that family in their last ditch efforts to stay together.  I am providing a safe and loving home for children while their parents work to kick their addictions, find jobs, do their jail time, get treatment for mental illness, learn better parenting skills, or do whatever else it takes to make their home a safe place for their children.  It’s my job to not just care for the children entrusted to my temporary care, but to be a support for their parents, too.  If I ever adopt again, I want to know that every assistance has been offered to the birth family.  God knows the foster care system isn’t perfect, but it does try to keep families together and, when that’s no longer possible, to find adoptive homes for kids who need homes.

In my book, that makes foster care one of the most ethical ways to adopt.

This blog is part of Adoption Talk Link Ups call for posts on adoption ethics.

6 thoughts on “Foster Care = Ethical Adoption

  1. I have heard people say they could never foster because of having to let the child go if reunification was possible. I love your perspective on being a foster parent: “helping that family in their last ditch efforts to stay together.” It is about family (whatever shape that may be) coming first. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Good thoughts! I agree with you about fostering to help families try to stay together. That was part of what appealed to me about fostering. I wanted to be that safety net for a family. (Of course, it didn’t work out that way for our first and only placement, but the intention was there!)

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    1. So happy to hear a shout out for being a safety net for other families, Sarah! Maybe you haven’t had an opportunity to be a resource for a family in need (yet!), but your kiddo is definitely benefiting from your pro-family attitude.

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  3. Thanks for linking up and sharing your thoughts. You are so right about the social safety nets here, foster care being an important aspect of that. In developing countries these services don’t exist and adoption becomes a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

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  4. if only I had read this 2 years ago. I ~thought~ I was in foster care for reunification, but I was actually doing Foster care to save the kids from the families. What a difference a mindset can make! The Lord has truly brought my heart around full circle. I only hope that we can help again someday. Matthew 25:40

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    1. Hi Jenni, Glad this post touched you. Foster care and parenting in general is a journey for everyone. Quality foster parents fall in love with the children in their care, so it can be super hard to keep family healing front and center. Hoping that you will be able to foster in the future, too!

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