Single Parent International Child Adoption
Adoption Is For Life
Adoption is supposed to be for life and when you adopt that child you are making a commitment. Parents musn't think that they can give the child back because the child has a behavior problem. Once you legally adopt a child, that child is your moral and legal responsibility for life.
You can't just say okay, this child goes back to the country of origin. That just shouldn't happen. But if it does, the term that is used is "disrupt." Once adopted, if the family wants to disrupt and get rid of the child, that child will go into foster care in the U.S. because that child is a U.S. citizen. The country of origin is certainly not going to take the child back. So what happens is the child winds up going into foster care.
I know of one case in particular where a couple adopted a girl from Columbia, South America. She grew up to have extreme behavioral problems to the point they claimed they couldn't handle her, so ultimately they did give her up. But giving her up simply meant that she became a ward of the State and part of the foster care system. But that couple still had to pay the State "child support" for taking care of her. So once you adopt a child, you can't just give him or her up. There are legal implications to that.
Health Studies May Not Uncover All Problems
Most times adoption agencies can do some very preliminary health studies, but they can never guarantee that any of the information that they are getting from any of these countries is true. And with many of these babies being adopted, there is no way that the country of origin can guarantee that the child will not have a learning disability or a behavioral disability, or even psychosis. It's just like having your own child. You can never know if a biological child will have problems. So why expect that level of assurance with adoption? It's unrealistic.
Prospective adoptive parents must realize a child from a different ethnic or cultural background must be accepted by the local community, schools, clubs, civic activities, etc. For instance, I have a 27-year-old son from my first marriage, a natural birth, and both his father and I are Caucasian. My son and my daughters get along very well. My son is as open-minded as I am. He completely and totally embraced the two girls and had no issue with their race. Most of my friends and extended family are also like- minded. Many of my friends are bi-racial or have children adopted from different races so when we get together there is no problem with that at all.
I have a specific group of people that I met through the adoption that all have children from the same orphanage as my daughters and we have become friends because of the children. We see each other regularly. But they are also very much integrated with friends that I had before the adoption who don't have children or are not part of the adoption circuit. The groups mix very well. Because most of the people I find that have adopted children are usually enlightened, accepting people so they get along well with each other. Because of the nature of the agency, New Beginnings, through which I adopted my kids, is an international agency. I really don't know many people who have adopted children from the U.S. If I did know them, that would be great. I just don't know them. A couple from Korea founded New Beginnings. They had tremendous adoptions from Korea, but then they branched out and are doing adoptions from so may other countries---Vietnam, Thailand China, Russia to name a few.
Most people say what I've done is a "good thing," as if I'm some kind of "Mother Theresa." I try to explain to them the reason I adopted was because I wanted daughters. It wasn't necessarily that I wanted to save the world. Some people don't quite get that. They're more surprised that I adopted these girls as a single parent, because that is a little unusual. It is particularly so because I already had a birth child. I have very little family. I'm divorced. I have my son and I wanted to expand my family and I wasn't going to let the fact that I was a single person stand in my way. I'm an "activist." When I visualize something that I want, I go out and do it.
Veterans And Parents Visited Vietnam
My first trip to Vietnam was in 1999. I returned to Vietnam recently with a group of American veterans of that war who became friends with my younger daughter by way of them doing presentations at her school. So we went back for a number of reasons. First of all, the veterans had offered for us to go back with them, so we did that. We also went for humanitarian causes. We visited and donated lots of medical supplies to a clinic in the middle of Vietnam, near Da Nang.
It's something these veterans wanted to do, so my daughters and I became involved with that. The veterans liked to meet my daughters' family because my younger daughter's grandfather and uncle fought in the war. They were Viet Cong guerillas and these veterans have never been back to Vietnam. Their mission, or goal, was to do the humanitarian works, particularly in Vietnam. So they wanted to go back, perhaps to have closure, and they very much wanted to meet the people who were once their enemies and sit down at the table with them. Everything fit in rather nicely, and we all joined up to do this together.
Lifetime Commitments To Adopted Children
These children, like all others, grow up. Little babies from different ethnic groups and cultures can become obnoxious teenagers, just like in America, and you have to realize that.
You have to be in there for the long haul. If you are adopting a child from a different race, that child will see himself or herself reflected in the community. If you can try to move to, or if you already live in a multi-racial community, that could be a big plus. These children need a variety of different people around their new, mixed family. Even though the community may embrace and accept a young adopted child or children, as teenagers they may face unique problems. One of the problems that may come up is dating. While there are important exceptions, the tendency is that white kids are going to want to date white kids. Children of color may will find greater opportunity if they can go out of that white circle to find social relationships.
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