Thinking about the Importance of Adoption
“Adoption Statistics” page found on the adoption network center website stated, “Around 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year”. Adoption is becoming more widely accepted as a mode of creating a family, or bring a child in to someone’s life as seen by the statistic above there are numerous children who get to experience this life changing, and life bettering event every year. Adoption is more than just giving a child in need a home. Adopting a child is not only beneficial for the child themselves but also for the family adopting. There are several positives to adopting, some being, bringing comfort to a family, providing an alternative for those who cannot have children biologically, and bringing together a disjointed family. The more adoption is talked about the more the public will know just how prevalent adoption really is in today’s world. Adoption brings families together; particularly, families comfort those adopted.
The definition of adoption according to Lucas Leemann and Isabela Mares, whom are professors of political sciences at world renowned colleges is, “process where by a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents” (462). Adoption is one of the greatest ways for loving, and responsible couples to give unwanted youth a happy home. As these families are formed, not only is it important to learn their new associated heritage, as well as their biological heritage. People with children learn that there is an instant, and close bond between parents and their biological children, especially with mothers. “Due to the high level of intimacy” that comes with a pregnancy, such as, feelings of love, close bonds, and deep emotional ties a connection between mom and child is made rather quickly (Leemann & Mares 465). However, even in some biological families, these ties do not always immediately form. Sometimes mothers and fathers have difficulty bonding with their baby, and in cases where women experience “post-partum depression and other postnatal health issues” bonding with a new baby can be difficult (Leemann and Mares 471). In many families, mothers and fathers grow to love their children, and a deeper connection can be made with time and devoted efforts.
How it works
Adoption can sometimes be the same way. Carrying a child in the womb, or sharing a biological bond with them is not always the foundation of a close loving relationship. In fact, the love that is shared between a parent and child comes from the “mutual care, respect, and nurturing the parent bestows upon the child” (Raleigh, “The Emotion Work” 65). With parental care in mind, it makes complete sense that the love you feel (or think you would feel) for your biological children, can be the same for your adopted children. If an individual is adopting a child and is worried if they love them enough or as the same as their current children, they must look at the foundation of the family. No matter the type of, if they are the one giving the most care to the child, it does not matter that they did not biologically come from them. The parent will be the one the child turns to when they are sick or hurt, the one will be the one the child calls when they’ve had a bad day or experienced an intense joy. The child will refer to one as their parent and they will refer to them as their child. “Adoption Statistics” advocates the view “The same ties and relationships parents create and hold with their biological children can and will be created with your adopted child who, in actuality, is simply your child”. Educating families who are interested in adoption is key is settling small doubts such as the worry of making a connection. Education like this is key in bringing in more families as well as bring to attention the prevalence and demand for adoption.
Additional education needed for adopting families is a type of adopting they are wanting is a closed adoption. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. defines a closed adoption as, “when the birth parents and adoptive family have limited or no information about each other”. They also do not stay in contact after the adoption process is over. People may choose closed adoption in order to have more privacy. Another type of adoption is an open adoption. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. also defines an open adoption as “this is when the birth parents and adopting family meet each other before the adoption, and continue to build a relationship as the child grows up”. Sometimes there’s a lot of communication between the families and sometimes there’s little, but in open adoptions the child always knows about the adoption. In open adoptions, the biological parent chooses who adopts their child and they learn important things about them like their values, lifestyle, educational backgrounds, and religion. The biological parents develop a relationship with the adoptive family, and there’s often a “legally enforceable agreement for ongoing visits with the child” (Leemann and Mares 476).
Birth parents and the adoptive family decide together what kind of relationship they want to have, and how often visits, phone calls, and updates happen. People may choose open adoption if they want to be able to pick their child’s adoptive family and be in their child’s life. There is also foster care adoption. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. In most cases children enter foster care because they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. These children are in temporary custody of the state while their birth parents are given the opportunity to fix their mistakes that will allow the children to be returned to them if it is in the children’s best interest. According to Laura Argys and Brian Duncan, Professors of Economics and the Associate Dean for Research and Creative Activities at UC College of Denver, “more than half of children who go into foster care return to their birth families” (934). For children who become available for adoption, they usually get adopted by a relative or their foster parents. Adopting from foster care is rather similar to other types of adoption. But foster care adoptions are different in many ways. Though it is possible to adopt a baby from foster care, the children who are available for adoption generally range from “toddler to 21” (Argys and Duncan 935).
The average age is eight years old. Because all children in foster care have experienced some form of trauma, parents who adopt from foster care have training to understand the effects of trauma and help children recover. Parents who adopt from foster care usually work with a “public agency or a private agency that has contracted with the state to provide services” (Argys and Duncan 935). Adopting from foster care costs little to no money. There is also stepparent adoption. Kathleen W. Piercy, an associate professor of family, consumer, and human development at Utah State University stated, stepparent adoption is the “most common type of adoption in the US over 100,000 children are adopted by their stepparent each year” (386). Stepparent adoption is a formal court process that allows a biological parent to adopt the child. When the court finalizes a stepparent adoption, “the child will receive a new birth certificate with the adoptive parent’s name listed in the biological parent section, and if desired, will also take that parent’s last name” stated Piercy 386-387.
Although the stepparent adoption process may be easier in many ways, the most challenging task can be “obtaining the other birth parent’s consent” (Piercy 387). Some biological parents consent to the adoption because it’s in the child’s best interest. Others may agree because “it will extinguish their obligation to pay child support once the adoption is final. In an ideal situation, the noncustodial biological parent will agree to the adoption, and you can file a joint request” (Piercy 387). However, it’s often challenging to get parental consent to adoption because this means giving up all rights to a child. Generally, a complete “termination of parental rights” means the “biological parent loses the power to make any and all decisions for the child, gives up all visitation rights and can no longer see or spend time with the child, and gives up the right to communicate with the child” (Piercy 388). An emerging type of adoption is same sex adoption. Some people say that children need both a mother and a father to raise them, but there are many others who believe that gender does not matter when parenting. Today, “4 percent of adopted children and 3 percent of foster children are raised by gay and lesbian parents, and 2 million more LGBT individuals are interested in adopting” (Gibson 410).
As this continues, that number will only increase, as same sex adoption and parenting becomes more and more accepted. Adoption can be a great way for same-sex couples to realize their dreams of parenthood. The process for same-sex couple adoption is no different than for other parents. Adoption is a great way for same-sex couples to grow their families, but there are some advantages and challenges of adoption to take in before beginning the adoption. Some of the advantages could be, the opportunity to share their lives with a child and experience all of the joys of parenthood, the ability to get to know and form relationships with the child’s birth family, and the opportunity to raise a child in need of a loving home. In addition, children of same-sex couples may have the added advantage of “being more open-minded and sympathetic to differences, and they will enjoy all of the stability and benefits of being raised in a two-parent home” (Gibson 412).
While the benefits of adoption are clear, “gay adoptive parents will likely also face many of the same challenges that heterosexual adoptive parents experience like addressing race or cultural, managing birth parent relationships, talking to their child about adoption and simply adjusting to parenthood” (Gibson 413). While many same-sex couples have successfully completed adoptions, several countries still do not allow gay adoption. As adoption rates for gay couples “continue to climb and society continues to be more accepting of different family types, more hopeful parents are choosing to complete their families through same-sex couple adoption” (Gibson 413).
As seen as previse comments, adoption is quite common, “Adoption Statistics” stated “Of non-stepparent adoptions, about 59% are from the child welfare (or foster) system, 26% are from other countries, and 15% are voluntarily relinquished American babies.” Adoption is more common than people think. It’s a beautiful thing to do is adopt because you are giving that child a chance to live with a family they never had. “Adoption Statistics” indicated that “more than 101,000 children wait for permanent homes in the United States”. Transracial Adoption as a Market Calculation points out, Caucasian children under five years old often have “severe medical disabilities” or have older brothers and sisters (94). Another issue facing adoption is the lack of support of adopting children of different races, specifically the minority races such as, Latino, Mexican, and African American. It is at concern that there is a shortage of willing and adopting families in favor of diverse races because, African American children, Latino children, and children of mixed heritage cover a “wider age range and include healthy infants” (Raleigh, “Transracial Adoption” 95). The race and ethnic distribution of adopted children is different from the children in the general population.
The racial distribution of children also varies by type of adoption. Children adopted from foster care most likely to be black “35 percent”, those adopted internationally are least likely to be black “3 percent”, and the “majority of children adopted internationally are Asian “59 percent” children adopted privately from the United States are most likely to be white “50 percent” (Raleigh, “Transracial Adoption” 96).
Adopted children are less likely to be white or of Hispanic origin than children in the general U.S. population, and they are more likely to be black as the previous quote states. In comparison, very few children adopted from foster care are Asian. The percentage of adopted children who are Hispanic does not vary by the type of adoption. Most children that are waiting to be adopted live in foster or group homes because their parents were unable to care for them. Personal and family problems made it impossible for the parents to maintain a home for their children. Some of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Adoptive parents come from all walks of life, and it is often difficult to tell who has adopted their children and who has not. However, there are certain characteristics that make someone more likely to adopt. Older people usually adopt the most. The majority of people who adopt are over 30. In fact, “81 percent of adoptive mothers are between 35-44 years old and approximately “one-half are between 40 and 44 years old”, only “3 percent of adoptive mothers are in the 18-29 age group” (“Adoption Statistics”). Twice as many men than women adopt, some are gay couples, and others are men who have previously fathered children, the quote above proves this statement. Men who adopt are also somewhat younger than their women, “more than 25 percent in the 30-34 age range” (“Adoption Statistics”). Though there are many statistics that surround the probability of adoption based on characteristic of potential parents and the ethnicity of a child, there is without a doubt benefit for both.
Adoptive parent and families get a number of advantages of their own from adoption, but the strongest one remains, families either have children for the first time, or add to their already existing family. Adding a child to the family is always a blessed experience. Through adoption, people are able to experience the joy of children in the home, even when having children seemed impossible due to complications. Same sex couples and single adoptive parents are given the opportunity to experience and observe the gifts of children. There are many benefits for adoptive parents but also for the child that is adopted. One benefit is a child gets a life their biological parents wanted for them.
Many birth parents according to, Susan D. Stewart a sociology professor from Iowa State University, “choose adoption because they are unable to provide the life they desire for their child” (558). Adoption gives the child a chance to have a home and grow up in the kind of environment their birth mother and father always wanted for them. Through adoption, children are able to receive both “physical and financial resources” that otherwise may not have been available to them (Stewart 558). Whether they are in touch with their birth parents, or in a closed adoption, adopted children are given the love and support all children need and deserve. Adopted children may be able to experience a home that might also include siblings. Overall, adoption comes with a lot of advantages for everyone involved. Adoption is another way for couples to have children; therefore, it acts like a way to bring families together.
There are many solutions to bringing families together. Be predictable, be there for your child. Respond to their cries, yells, and calls. Howard R. Stanton, a book publisher and an expert in foster care, indicates no matter what age the child is at the time of adoption, “respond either verbally or physically within 15 seconds” (302). They need to know that if they need their parent, the parent will come. Be sensitive. Ask yourself, “”What might my child be thinking right now?”” or “”What would this look like from my child’s point of view?”” (Stanton 304). Be emotionally available, the child should see the parent “expressing a range of emotions” (Stanton 305). Talk about emotions when the parent sees tears. The child needs to understand and express their own emotions. If the child has words to describe their feelings, they will not need to act them out or keep them inside.
Do not take the child’s behaviors personally. Many parents may feel hurt when their child pushes them away, runs from them, children like to express themselves with words, a parent might hear ‘”You’re mean!”’ ‘”I hate you!”’ or the dreaded ‘”You are not my real mommy’”, but these are not rejections, rather ‘“expressions of fear, anger, frustration, terror, and other difficult feelings”’ (Stanton 307). When you walk into a child’s room after their nap, begin talking. “’Good morning! How was your nap?”’ The child needs to “associate nurturing actions with you and your voice” (Stanton 307). React with the child as if they have reacted to the parent in the way they wanted or expected. If the child turns their head when the parent comes to pick them up, “pretend that they looked right at the parent, reached for the parent with open arms, and smiled” (Stanton 307). Look at the child, hold your arms out and walk into the room, smile, and comfort them.
Children come to feel they are the center of the world. Having a time in your life when the parent feels like the center of all that’s going on around them “helps to define who they are and their sense of self-worth”, it also builds inner strength. Parents who are supportive in this time of development often “find their children becoming more independent and self-reliant” (Stanton 308). Play follow the leader or some board games they might enjoy or a sport they might be in to and involve them in activities so they do not feel left out. The closer you grow towards each other the better the relationship will be.
In Conclusion, “around 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year” said by Adoption Statistics. Adoption brings families closer together and gives children a safe home; subsequently, through the comfort of families, prevalence of adoption, adoption as another way to have kids, and solutions to bring families together. The way you love the child is important because they need to feel that love and affection. They may have not felt that type of feeling before so for a person to come along and show them what love is amazing.
- “Adoption Statistics.” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies, 2019, adoptionnetwork.com/adoption-statistics.
- Argys, Laura, and Brian Duncan. “Economic Incentives and Foster Child Adoption.” Demography, vol. 50, no. 3, 2013, pp. 933–954.
- Leemann, Lucas and Isabela Mares. “The Adoption of Proportional Representation.” The Journal of Politics, vol. 76, no. 2, 2014, pp. 461–478.
- Gibson, Margaret F. “Adopting Difference: Thinking through Adoption by Gay Men in Ontario, Canada.” Signs, vol. 39, no. 2, 2014, pp. 407–432.
- Piercy, Kathleen W. and Jeffery G. Chapman. “Adopting the Caregiver Role: A Family Legacy.” Family Relations, vol. 50, no. 4, 2001, pp. 386–393.
- Raleigh, Elizabeth “Transracial Adoption as a Market Calculation.” Selling Transracial Adoption: Families, Markets, and the Color Line, Temple University Press, Philadelphia; Rome; Tokyo, 2018, pp. 94–127.
- Raleigh, Elizabeth “Uneasy Consumers: The Emotion Work of Marketing Adoption.” Selling Transracial Adoption: Families, Markets, and the Color Line, Temple University Press, Philadelphia; Rome; Tokyo, 2018, pp. 64–93.
- Stanton, Howard R. “Mother Love in Foster Homes.” Marriage and Family Living, vol. 18, no. 4, 1956, pp. 301–307.
- Stewart, Susan D. “The Characteristics and Well-Being of Adopted Stepchildren.” Family Relations, vol. 59, no. 5, 2010, pp. 558–571.
- “What Facts & Information About Adoption Do I Need to Know?” Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., 2019, www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/considering-adoption/what-facts-about-adoption-do-i-need-know.
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