Friday, April 03, 2015

The Problems with Adoption

I am a person who looked into adoption after I found out that I wouldn't be able to have another child. I desperately desired to raise another child, to have a sibling for my child, to give all of the economic advantages that my partner and I had to offer. First we looked into adoption overseas. We found out that this is an industry where children, the vast majority of whom are people of color, are often needlessly taken out of their communities and extended families and sold to affluent people around the world (mostly in white-dominated Western nations that are responsible for the social conditions that lead to families seeing no other choice than to give up their children). So, that was just too unethical for me to participate in. I couldn't justify taking a child out of their culture just to satisfy my own desires for my life.

So, we started looking into adopting here (Turtle Island aka "The USA"). Well, it turns out that the same thing is true here. It's an industry. Children are shuffled around for the sake of personal and corporate profit. The racial aspects of it are just horrific. As a Black Indigenous woman, I have seen how quickly the state will take a child of color from their family, even when there are plenty of extended family members who would gladly care for their kin. This happens while white families are given multiple opportunities to keep their children even when abuse has been proven. Those who do lose their children usually have multiple chances to get those children back. The same can not be said for families without white privilege. The majority of kids in foster care aren't orphans and the majority do have family members outside of the system. The same money used to warehouse and incarcerate them in "group homes" and "foster homes" could be used to keep kids in their own family. Of course, the state doesn't have anything to gain by that, nor do the other organizations and businesses that depend on this corrupt system of child trafficking.

The Lakota People's Law Project is doing excellent work to address this issue. They are a great starting point if you want to learn what's going on.

You know, something I've admired is the way that many majority-Muslim countries deal with these issues. Even when kids are taken care of people outside of their immediate family, they keep their names and identities. They still have the same rights of inheritance, which means you don't wind up with situations where a person gives up one child who ends up poor and then leaves everything to the children they keep.

I also prefer community solutions. If a person really cares about children, there will always be children they can care for. There's no limit on the number of people who can love and care for a child. We really don't NEED to remove them from everyone they know in order to share in the joys of raising them. In my faith tradition, we have "godparents". Even adults who are baptized into the faith are given godparents. These godparents are responsible for both the spiritual AND emotional and physical well-being of the person they are committing to. It creates family ties instead of destroying them like adoption does. My child's godparents have no children of their own. They dote on hir. If there is anything going on in my child's life, they are there. They are whiter than the driven snow, but they have made themselves an integral part of my child's life. I no longer have to worry about who would look out for my child if something happened to me. I don't have to worry about if my child needed something but didn't feel comfortable turning to me. With me, they ensure that my child will NEVER lack for somewhere to live, food to eat, loving arms to turn to no matter what's going on.

The thing is, all of these things can be done without the religious aspects. There's no reason why we can not create family ties that increase the support systems that children can rely on. There's no shortage of kids who have parents who would welcome extra mommy and daddy figures in their child's life. I don't know a parent in the world who wouldn't want an extra reliable and responsible adult in their life who can be trusted to watch the kids, have them visit over the summer or weekends or for no reason at all, make sure someone is there for open house night as school, join the cheering section in the audience when the child stars in the school play or football game, help with buying school supplies or just pretty trinkets that the kids these days like to have.

We're really only limited by our willingness to sacrifice our own preferences for the sake of children growing up with more love in their life. I've found it very fulfilling to work as a caregiver for two young people who are disabled. This satisfies that part of my heart that still wants to play a mothering role even though my own child has grown up. You can have what you want without participating in the exploitation of kidnapped and trafficked children.

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