I've got the blues this morning. Last night VanGoghGirl was talking about her friend Junebug, again. Junebug goes to school with her and they are very close friends. She lives in a group home because the state has custody of her. In other words, she's up for adoption. Ever since she found this out, VanGoghGirl has been trying to get us to adopt Junebug. I've met the girl and she's simply charming. She's smart and witty and pretty and one year older than VanGoghGirl. In other words, she's just perfect in my daughter's eyes.
Last year, a few days before Christmas vacation, VanGoghGirl got the blues because she was worried about whether Junebug would be getting many presents since she didn't have any parents to buy her anything. That thought bugged me a lot too, so we went out and got her a bottle of lotion and a bottle of perfume from one of those places in the mall that the teens down here like a whole lot. If it had been up to VanGoghGirl, we'd have spent our entire budget on Junebug. I was really glad that we got Junebug a present but doing it also made me feel kind of crummy inside because I know this child needs so much more than that.
Last night, VanGoghGirl said that she and Junebug were talking and she asked my daughter what her last name was again. When VanGoghGirl told her, Junebug said her first name out loud along with my daughter's last name, then she said, "Hmm, that sounds sort of weird together but I guess I could get used to it." Well, I almost broke down in front of my daughter when she told me about this conversation. I mean, this girl REALLY wants to be adopted.
I grew up with kids who were in state's custody. By the time they reach five years old, they aren't cute little babies anymore, so most of the couples who feel as if they need to experience that stage with the child won't even consider one that's older than this. When you're a teenager like Junebug, the chances of getting adopted are so slim that the majority of them will just end up aging out of the system without ever finding a family. If that weren't bleak enough, on top of everything else, Junebug is African-American. I can't even begin to explain how much that works against a child seeking to be adopted.
Over the years, I've interacted with white couples who'd pay upwards of $20,000 to adopt a child from overseas before they'd adopt one of the minority kids in their own country. They'd even adopt a child from Africa before they'd adopt an African-American. Now tell me that isn't all about exoticizing people of color!
God knows I wish I could adopt Junebug today. It's just that the shitty system we have makes it so damned difficult for families like mine. Right now, the state has to pay for Junebug's health care, food, clothing (including their super expensive school uniforms), and housing costs. If someone or some family could provide an environment that is at least as safe as a group home, wouldn't it be in the state's best interests to let those individuals or families assume some of those costs and give the child the opportunity to grow up outside of an institution? It would definitely be in the child's best interests.
If the state allows me to keep VanGoghGirl in my custody even though I might eventually die of cancer, why would it have a problem with allowing me to adopt a child because I could die? Any parent could die, no matter how healthy they may appear to be at a given point in time.
This whole issue makes me so unbelievably bitter. I'm at a loss for words at this point.