Wow. With a title like “Adoption is Second Best Choice,” I’m sure many readers are riled up. But let me explain.
Child birth, adoption, or foster care are all equally wonderful, fulfilling ways of becoming a parent. The children are equally wonderful, regardless of how they joined your family. I know, because I’m the mother of a biological daughter, adopted son, a foster daughter, and foster son.
Soon, a judge will decide whether our 11-year-old foster daughter Joyful and 9-year-old foster son Watchful will be reunited with their bio dad, or whether his rights will be terminated and the children become available for adoption.
Joyful and Watchful’s bio dad has made a lot of progress in making his home the safest, healthiest option for his children. While there’s been ups and downs, hopes and doubts over the past year, we have been cheering him on. We hope he’s able to take the final needed steps and bring Joyful and Watchful home.
In this process, one thing has become very clear to me. When birth parents want to parent, society should help them fix whatever problems are preventing them from meeting their children’s needs. Hooked on drugs? Support parents in detox. Suffering from mental illness? Give them counseling or medical treatment.
But what if Joyful and Watchful’s dad can’t or doesn’t make the last few final changes? The children should not be stuck in foster care limbo indefinitely – they’ll have been in foster care 18 months by the time the judge rules. They need a permanent home with permanent parents. They need permanent love and permanent safety.
If birth parents are given help, but still can’t fix the problems that endanger children’s health and well-being, well then adoption is the best route.
This makes reuniting with birthparents the first choice and adoption the second best option.
It makes me feel a little funny to think of adoption as a “second best” option. After all, we adopted Silent One when he was six, and he brings so much joy to our lives.
I only met Silent One’s birth mother once, but she clearly let me know that she chose adoption because her country did not have social programs to help guarantee her (our) son’s safety. Every day, I am grateful that she put Silent One’s well being before all else. But I am also saddened that her country didn’t have welfare, counseling, and other such services. I love Silent One with my whole heart. He loves me with his whole heart. But losing his birth family colors his world view about relationships, his identity and his sense of self worth. He shouldn’t have had to lose a mother who loved him and wanted to parent him.
This post is part of Adoption Talk Link Up.