The Faithful Scribbler

A Catholic Mother In A Secular World

Adoption and Anxiety

on April 28, 2010

The Faithful Scribbler is not sleeping well.  She’s been down this road before– Uncertainty Avenue, which leads the way to AdoptionTown.

We are officially adopting again– I say “officially”, meaning we have given someone a precious portion of our life savings as payment for that someone, a liscenced social waorker, to write our homestudy update.

And we’re a bit more boxed in with this adoption that we were when we adopted Little Scribbler.

Firstly, we don’t want to disrupt our birthorder, meaning, for those of you outside the realm of adoption, that we’d like Little Scribbler, our first child, to remain our oldest child.  Ergo, we are seeking to adopt a child ages 0-2.5 years.

Secondly, we would like our adoption to fill a need.  For those of you unfamiliar with domestic adoption and it’s many MANY ethical pitfalls, you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that not all babies adopted in the US needed to be a dopted.  In many cases, the biological mothers were coerced into placing their children– some subtly, and some not-so-subtly.  In many cases all these women needed was to hear ONE VOICE tell them that it was going to be ok, that they would be a good mother, that their status as a single person was no reason to separate themselves from their God-given offspring. 

Long, LONG story short (and I’ll spare you the personal tirade about how LS’s other mom was lied to, manipulated, etc by a “christian” adoption agency), we want to fill a need.  We want to adopt a child who’s parents really CAN’T parent him/her.  Or a child who is difficult to place in an adoptive family, as our Little Scribbler was.

Adoption is full of checkboxes.  Prospective adoptive parents are asked to fill out a zillion little checkboxes about what they “will” and “will not” ACCEPT in their prospective child.  (The third column reads “will consider”).    We’re made to believe that this is completely normal and rational, this picking and choosing and rejecting of qualities in innocent children.

Qualities children themselves cannot help, and qualities which have nothing whatsoever to even do with them!  For example, a biological parent who has a criminal history.  Or a mental health history.  Or an unknown medical history.

Then we get on to “difficult to place” children.  You’ll love this one– you have to select the race of child you  “will accept”.  Oho, but it gets even better than that!  Your choices number about 150 BILLION, including such little nuggets of love as “100% AA child”, “50% AA, 50% CA”, “75% AA, 25%CA”,  etc etc.

So….people actually say YES to 75% AA, but NO to 100% AA because….WHY exactly?!  Does this sound like something God appreciates?!  The “accepting” and rejecting of his children– of innocent, typically unborn infants?! 

And waht about Special Needs kiddos?  You know there was not a SINGLE FAMILY in NYS willing to “accept” my Little Scribbler?  That there were only 2 families (including us) registered with the NJ branch of our agency who were “willing to accept” her?!  Here’s the real kicker– at the time, she had NO known special needs!  She was a healthy infant, with some unusual birth parent history– and most couples weren’t even “willing to consider” her circumstances!

AND SHE IS AWESOME!

(I’m getting all worked up while I post this– must attempt to calm down!)

So anyway, The Auditor and I are specifically looking to adopt one of those children who are difficult to place– one of God’s sons or daughters who is truly in need of unconditional love and acceptance and support!  There should have been HUNDREDS of people clamoring for my L ittle Scribbler– but their loss is my own personal gain!  But let us for a moment put aside the ridiculous attitudes of some adoptive couples and some adoption professionals…

We are also seeking an open adoption– meaning, we would like to have at least SOME contact (but hopefully more) with the child’s biological family.  This is a REALLY difficult concept for people of a certain generation to grasp– because it just wasn’t done 50 years ago.  That being said, studies have shown that children adopted in open adoptions have fewer mental health issues, better adjustment in childhood, fewer behavior problems, etc.  In other words, open adoption is in the best interest of children– barring safety concerns or some other extenuating circumstance.  Children in open adoptions dont wonder– they dont have to. 

They get to maintain ties with their own biological heritage– they’ll know where they come from.  In an age where ethnic identity and cultural heritage are so well celebrated, open adoption allows the adopted child to participate!

Complicating the matter is that we do not wish to use an adoption agency.  Frankly our first experience, with Bethany Christian Services, was rather nightmarish.  This organization (or at least the branch we used) is ANYTHING BUT Christian in it’s attitude towards pregnant women.  Our daughter’s biological mother was promised the world– and recieved none of it.  Promised a “lifetime of post placement counseling”, which was subsequently denied to her because of how far away from the agency she lived (funny, she lived closeenough for htem to handle her adoption and collect the resulting check for $11K from us?).  We mailed her packages, which were funneled through the agency– several items were removed from the packages before we sent them to her.

I could go on and on about the icky sliminess of this particular branch of BCS.  From the obnoxious assistant director to the incompetant social worker who “misplaced” 6 months worth of post placement visit write ups (thus delaying our finalization by an entire YEAR), it was a mess from start to finish.  And that was BEFORE we realized the ethical implications of their little checkbox system!  (I will say the receptionist was very sweet and accomodating…but she’s about the only one who is!)

I’m having difficulty finding another adoption agency locally which has a better attitude towards birthparents.  I’d really like to use Catholic Charities (whom we have heard wonderful things about from other families), but there isn’t a branch where we live that handles adoptions.

So we’re doing some poking around ourselves– looking to sign with placement organizations that try to find families for kids that are difficult to place.  We’ve found a couple of those organizations already (and are still searching, so if you know of any Christian special needs adoption orgs, please PLEASE email!).

In the past few weeks, we’ve encountered several situations, some of which we have submitted our profile for.  We were rejected for one infant because we are white, and the adoption would be transracial.  The baby’s mother didn’t want her son to grow up in a white family.  Rejections stings a little bit, but it’s entirely her perrogative to do what she thinks is best for her kid, and I very much respect that!

We submitted for another child, several states away, who’s mother was decided between aborting and pursuing adoption.  I haven’t yet heard back from anyone about this, but the situation has been removed from the placing organizations website.  Please pray it is because they found a family, and not because she terminated!!  This particular situation has been tormenting me for days– because if we arent selected (which I’m ok with), we have no right to know if she aborted her child (and the unknown of this child’s life is some cruel kind of mental torture for me right now!)

We were called about a 3 year old child locally, for whom someone we know is trying to find a family.  I of course said “yes” (I always do, no matter what), and then the Auditor pointed out the implications for Little Scribbler should we add a child of the same age, who will likely have some emotional issues, and who is also further along cognitively.  So we had to change our “yes” to a “no”. 

So we’re still strolling down Uncertainty Avenue, on the way to AdoptionTown.  Each and every time a specific situation is presented to me, I become perhaps a BIT too emotionally invested in the outcome.  It’s not that I think I’m necessarily the best mom for each of these kids– I know I’m probably not.  It’s just that I cant stand not knowing what’s happened to them!  I laid awake for hours last night wondering if the little one we submitted for was still alive.  Wondering what his Momma was feeling, and if she had support, and what we w ould discuss should we ever meet.  Wondering if she knew how much God loved her, and loved her baby.  Hoping and praying she could see that and STAY PREGNANT no matter WHO she chose to parent her child (even if she parented him herself!)

In the coming months, if you remain a reader of this blog, you’ll probably be inundated to the point of digust with my adoption musings.  I am intending to embark upon a Scriptural study of adoption– how it is used in reference to us all as followers of Christ, and more specific examples of it from the Old Testament.  So bear with me while I think out loud, and hopefully I will draw some concrete and academic conclusions worth sharing!

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One response to “Adoption and Anxiety

  1. osolomama says:

    You have a rare respect for the first parents and insight into adoption coercion. I’ll tune in again.

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