I’ve written about my feelings regarding the Presidential Proclamation for National Adoption month in the past. This year, of course, hasn’t seen any great changes in how Bush is addressing the month. Once again, birth parents are not mentioned. A commenter tried to argue that birth parents are included under the umbrella of “adoptive families” but, as birth parents, you and I know that is not the case.
But I’m going to urge you to look past the blatant oversight this year. I hope that you and I both know the importance of our presence in our child’s life with regard to open adoptions. Birth parents in reunion are learning and growing with their adult child and can hopefully see their importance as well.
This month, of course, acknowledges that, for a myriad of legitimate and not-so-legitimate reasons, children are languishing in foster care in our country. I’m not talking about the children in orphanages in any number of poverty-stricken countries. I am talking about children within our own country that need homes. The anti-adoption camp will argue that they shouldn’t be there anyway, that we should do away with adoption all together. But, in this moment that we live in 2008, that is not a reality. Children are waiting. Whether they were removed without real reason (as happens) or whether they were abused or neglected, these children need stability. Until someone comes up with the perfect answers to adoption and foster care reform, we’re going to have to recognize, acknowledge and move to make changes in these kids’ lives.
I’m not asking you, as a birth parent, to run out and adopt a child from foster care. (Though, let it be known, that parents who have voluntarily placed children for adoption are not automatically exempt from adopting and don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you such nonsense.) Instead, I am asking you to consider mentoring. Or donating diapers, clothes or formula samples to your local foster care office. Or talking with your friends who are adopting (because I know you know some) and asking them if they have considered an older child from foster care. Or any number of ways that you can positively work in the life of a child waiting to be adopted. There are a thousand and one (and more) things you can do. Can you put aside your own adoption issues for a day, a week or a month and concentrate on those who, if they aren’t helped in some way, are going to have ten times the adoption (or, sadly, non-adoption) issues that you and I will ever experience?
It’s not easy. I hate that it sounds as though birth parents have absolutely no importance in their child’s life by the words of our current President. Read for yourself the two mentions, or, rather, non-mentions:
During National Adoption Month, we recognize the compassion of adoptive and foster families as we seek to raise awareness of the need for every child in America to have a safe, loving, and permanent home.
During National Adoption Month, we honor adoptive and foster parents who have shown America the depth and kindness of the human heart. Their love and dedication inspire the next generation of Americans to achieve their dreams and demonstrate the true spirit of our Nation.
Yes. It hurts. I am a compassionate person in the adoption triad. And I do agree that children need safe, loving, permanent homes. I also possess a very deep, very kind heart. I am loving. And dedicated. And I am inspiring my generation of children, parented and placed, to achieve their dreams. I do so in different manners for my parented sons than I do for my placed daughter, but, darn it, I do it!
All the same, I’m working this year to put aside those hard feelings. (Maybe it is easier to do as this President is on his way out the door and, no matter who wins the election tomorrow, I am hopeful that adoption reform is coming. Do I expect much from whomever is elected? No. I expect much from people like myself and you!) I have a big load of formula (as we never used any with my youngest), coupons and disposable diapers (as we use cloth) that I will be taking to our local foster care office. It’s what I can do this year. It’s not as much as others can do. But it’s what I can do this year. I’ll pick back up with necessary adoption reforms in December. Right now? Children and families need my support.
What are you doing?