November is National Adoption Month. I’m seeing a lot of stories in my news feed. And I had some thoughts I wanted to share.
Both my husband and I were legally adopted by our stepfathers. I was adopted at birth, my husband was 7 I believe. I’ve never met my biological father. I don’t care to. I talk to my “dad” via FB on occasion. But we aren’t close. My husband has little to no contact with either of his fathers. Our birth mothers are merely that. Both of us were unplanned and not exactly wanted. While we were raised by them, we didn’t feel like we belonged. I moved out at 16. As a young adult my husband was told he was the constant reminder of all his mothers mistakes. My mother always had a coldness towards me. Our siblings are distant. We weren’t physically abused as children, it’s just neither of us had a close healthy family unit. We want more for our children. We work to make sure our family stays close. It’s the very reason we do what we do.
But that’s not what I want to discuss. I’ve seen some hellish stories from families battling family courts. Ive seen documented stories of good families torn apart with no just cause. And children fast tracked through adoption. You should google it. Right here in Kentucky. I know people who have had to make a decision to sign over rights of their younger children who bonded with foster parents, in order to regain custody of their older children. There is a huge financial incentive. And it’s a problem. One we, with others,are working to address.
But there are actual cases of abused children. There are abandoned children who need loving homes. Foster care isn’t always a good answer. Not all foster homes are the loving poster families you see in ads. And foster homes are temporary. Sadly, many teens age out of the system before ever finding homes. My boys talked to quite a few when they spent 8 weeks in a place called Home of the Innocents.
One of the biggest issues we need to address is cleaning out the system. Like prisons, foster agencies are overloaded with people who don’t belong. If we stopped taking children from good homes, stopped tearing apart good families, we would have more time, money and other resources to help those who truly need help. Just the amount of money spent on my family alone could have provided the local agency with 2 more workers. The time spent on my family could have freed up the workers to focus on more important cases. The resources, the courts time, could have helped other families get their children back sooner. Or helped find homes for the children who have no chance for reunification.
This is where the focus should be. Request your state child welfare agencies are audited. If your state was recently audited read the reports. Push for laws that strengthen family rights and oppose laws that violate family rights. Push for more programs that facilitate reunification. Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep a family together and help them on their feet rather than tear them apart and expect them to rebuild on their own? Taking a child from a parent doesn’t motivate them, it destroys their spirt and diminishes their motivation. Allow decent people to foster and adopt, but making a stricter screening process based on humanitarian matters not religious, political or pholisoppical issues. A same sex couple should not be denied based solely on relationship status.
Just the few changes can make a huge difference in the lives of anyone who has been involved in the foster and adoption system, regardless of what the circumstances are.