Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adoption and Religion, Part II

Here's another excerpt from that law blog:

1. It seems to me there is one important reason why we'd want to make sure that
adoptive parents raise the child in the birth parents' faith: To encourage the birth parents to put their children up for adoption, by removing or mitigating one reason for them not to do so (a fear that the child will be raised in a way that endangers the child's salvation). And that's true even if we don't share the parents' beliefs; so long as such birth parent fears are real, they may deter adoption placements that would otherwise happen, and that would help the child, the adoptive parents, the birth parents, and the taxpayers. It's true that there might be some opposite effects, if children end up being unadoptable because of long delays caused by waiting for just the right religion. But I suspect that the effects will quite likely be positive.

2. For international adoptions, there may also be similar reasons focused on the belief system of the birth parents' country. If Morocco stops allowing adoptions to
Britain or the U.S. because there's no assurance that the child will be raised Muslim, then that might materially diminish the quantity of win-win-win-win adoptions.

* * *

So the Times story, if accurate, is pretty troubling, both based on its particulars -- among other things, there's now one child who's more likely to have to spend more time in a Moroccan orphanage rather than in what seems likely to be a loving family -- and in what it says about the mistaken attitudes and priorities of the English child welfare system. I hope U.S. authorities avoid going down that path, both for First Amendment reasons and for the other reasons I outlined above.

Things I find troubling? The a priori assumption that encouraging birth parents to relinquish children is a good thing. The characterization of adoption as win-win-win-win -- sometimes, but it's more usually loss-loss/win-win. I'm not sure I want to put taxpayers on that list, as Prof.V. does.

What to you see -- positive as well as negative -- in these comments?


Wendy said...

I agree, this section was very troubling. All I was reading was commodity! I also do not see the "win-win-win-win" of the adoption situation--I guess if you feel it is your right to adopt or as a sending country that children are basically on the payroll, then you may see the four W scenerio. When are they going to acknowledge the loss of the birth family and the child? Also, is it NOT the birthparents who should choose who the AP's will be? We do that in the US. It doesn't seem we are discussing children already in an orphanage with no indication of the birthparents, we are talking about birthparent choice.


zoe'sfriendsyd said...

I think encouraging a birth parent to give up her child for adoption and a country deciding that religion is a factor for whether or not you can adopt are two different issues. I agree the birth country and birth religion should be respected. In a perfect world a birth parent was not coerced in any way to give up her child. Now, I know this is not true - birth parents can be coerced, even in our own country.
So taking the encouragement issue out - if a child is in an orphanage with no home - rigorous screening of religious background seems kind of pointless. A loving family is a loving family. I am not closing my eyes to the difficulties that may be associated with transracial adoption, but I am saying that having a family & home is a basic need. Many adoptees who feel displaced may be offended by this, but it's just how I see it. No, I am not going down the "be grateful for what you have" road. That is not what I mean. The essentials in life: food, clothing, shelter and a family who loves you.

Wendy from Pa. said...

My next door neighbors are from Egypt. They are Coptic (Christian) and in the minority, when they lived in Egypt. They claim they faced a lot of discrimination in Egypt, by the Muslim majority, that's why they moved to the US. They said there is no adoption in Egypt, at all, because in Egypt, a Musim can only adopt a Muslim child. Since, the authorites don't know the background of the child, they can never know for sure, that the child is Muslim. Therefore, the child is unadoptable. I thought it was sad that these children have no chance to be adopted.

Wendy, from Pa.

Wendy said...

It seems India has/had the same trouble due to the belief in the caste system (although no longer in effect legally). However, there is a movement that seems to be happening among overseas Indians to adopt and I think focusing on changing attitudes will eventually work--unfortunately, there are so many children in India in orphanages and really just a part of the cycle of poverty with/without their parents that something more needs to be done for the whole of India's population. The cities are so crowded and there really is just not enough to go around it seems as the increase of street children is on the rise.
Prejudice is hard to overcome, as we are seeing here as well, I just hope those lost in the shuffel in the meantime find homes or at the very least are able to stay with their birthfamilies, peace, and happiness.

Anonymous said...

zoe'sfriendsyd: I agree with you. No matter what, a loving home IS what a child needs.

The problem is... screening does not guarantee "good" adoptive parents, as we've heard in the news about Jade and a few other adoptees.

I'm not saying that adoptive parents can't be good parents, nor should it be assumed that they aren't good parents just because they have to take a screening test and homestudy. I'm saying that a screening test and homestudy doesn't always *necessarily* prove anything, and there are so many people who like to shot out that fact at adoptees like Defense Class 101. It doesn't always work.