Ordinarily, each week in this column I address something that I find important and that typically relates to my own experiences somehow or is just something I am passionate about. However, this week I am writing about a topic I am far more passionate about than probably anything else I have written, and it is something that is very personal to me. I was adopted at the age of one week, and I am extremely grateful for that, because it placed me in a situation that gave me a very good life that I likely would not have otherwise had.
Adoption is a true gift and blessing to those who are adopted, it is an incredible act of love and sacrifice for those who have placed their child for adoption, and it is a wonderfully blessed experience to the parents and family who have adopted the child. It is an incredibly important part of what can be great about humans on this planet, and it is something that seems sacred and essential to humanity. Adoption saves lives, and it improves the lives of everyone involved. This is not an article about pro-life versus pro-choice. This is an article about adoption and the salvation of millions of children.
UNICEF estimates that there are more than 140 million children in the world that have been orphaned by both parents, most of whom will be raised in group homes (or in extreme cases on their own), possibly neglected, without family or parents for the rest of their lives. This does not account for children in hardship circumstances that could be awaiting adoption. In the US alone, according to statistics in 2014, there were over 105,000 children in foster care that qualify for and were awaiting adoption, but only some 50,000 were adopted. Part of the epidemic of children not being adopted is due to a lack of interest from people wanting to adopt, but there also exists far too many legal restraints.
It is regretful that so many hurdles are placed in front of adoption by burdensome regulations and bans of different kinds. Both China and Russia have placed bans on adoptions, either to families of certain countries (the US) or banning all adoptions. The US and other countries have sometimes placed blockades to homosexual couples or single individuals to adopt except in certain circumstances. Courts have favored birth parents in removing adopted children from their families, which acts as a formidable fear of adoption by potential adoptive families.
The adoption process should be relatively simple. It should be a contract between two parties – birth parents (or a birth mother if the father cannot be found) or guardian, and those who desire to become the parent(s). There really is not much need for government involvement, except to ensure that children are being adopted into safe circumstances (i.e. they are not being adopted by some sick pedophile), and as is the case many times, that can even be handled by a third-party agency that is a private enterprise. The circumstances of the adoptive family should be considered by the parties involved and not by the state. In other words, if a birth family believes their child needs to be placed with someone who happens to be gay or is a single parent, then that decision must be made by birth parent or guardian. Only the parties involved have adequate information to determine what is best for the child.
The most disconcerting hurdles to adoption come from a sort of prideful motive of many nations to imagine a child being raised in another nation with another culture. These governments desire to maintain their culture within anyone born there, and are willing to sacrifice the well-being of children in order to attempt to gain those goals. Sometimes, nations use adoption policy as a tool of negotiation with other nations. What a despicable treatment of human life! These lines of thinking come from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of “family.” A child that has been adopted into a family is no less a part of the family than one born into it. It simply arrived by a different means, and therefore, the child is of the culture of that particular family. A child does not belong to a nation for any government to make such decisions. Adoptions should always be freely given for any two parties who are willing to enter into the agreement, regardless of where in the world those parties reside.
Adoption is far too important to place political goals into the mix. The lives of children are on the line, and giving them a chance at life with a loving family is a goal much more important than any sort of political goal or secondary motive. In order to encourage more people to adopt, there needs to be as few hurdles as possible. The rights of adoptive parents must be protected, and adoptions should be as freely granted as possible, with only the welfare of the child in mind. Social encouragement for adoption is great and necessary, but just as necessary is the removal of the state – as much as is possible – from the adoption process. It is simply too important for such hurdles.
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