Sunday, March 6, 2011

Speed Dating is Not For Children

From the Christian Science Monitor, a heart-wrenchingly personal and impressively researched article about adoption fairs:
Singles everywhere are still faced with the arduous task of finding love. It’s a job many children up for adoption know well.

Potential adoptees often engage in their own pursuit of love, a speed dating of sorts called adoption fairs. At least 20 states run adoption fairs these days. Children available for adoption are brought together in a party-like atmosphere to mingle with would-be parents. The idea is to see if there is a mutual attraction. And like speed dating events everywhere, there’s usually an imbalance in attendees (sometimes the adoptees outnumber the prospective parents) and everyone wears nametags.
Alas these fairs are not all fun and games. Adoption fairs are ineffective, set the wrong expectations, and are damaging to the children. They should be eliminated. Instead of speed dating, kids would be better off if states used “arranged marriages” to place them in homes with certified “professional parents” – parents ready to handle all the challenges and joys that adoption brings.

I would know.

When I was ten years old in the early 80s, I participated in an adoption fair.
So what do you think about adoption fairs?  Photo listings"Wednesday's Child" features? Up side -- may work to find a family for a child in need of adoption.  Down side -- smacks of marketing, commodification, objectification; invades a child's privacy.  On balance, is it worth it?

8 comments:

thewonderfulhappens said...

Yikes. I've never heard of adoption fairs. They sound terrifying, actually.

As for photolistings, I can see where they might be considered an invasion of the child's privacy. It seems that now, many agencies password-protect the pictures/descriptions. We found our son on a photolisting, where he had lingered for 18 months. Once we saw him and found out more information on him, we switched country programs in order to adopt him. So could it be possible that the benefits outweigh the downsides.

I suppose only these children could answer that question.

Sandy said...

Adoption fairs - just makes me think of The Orphan Trains...just a different century...or the Home Children sent via ship from Britian to Canada, Australia and other countries...

Von said...

In a word...sick!And in 3,dangerous, disempowering and disturbing.

LisaLew said...

I read the whole article - very interesting. The author is certainly a survivor - look at her list of accomplishments. But, she states how her background has hindered her relationships.

Can you imagine children parading themselves around prospective parents, having to "sell" their attributes? There's no word to describe this... it is just very very very very very very OFF.

Reena said...

I think adoption fairs still continue in a state neighboring where I live. Yeah, definitely disturbing to say the least.

Photolistings-- I have mixed feelings. Our youngest daughter was listed on a photolisting-- I wasn't intending to 'find' a child listed in this manner-- but it did happen.

I didn't really look at her photo so much as I looked at other details. I did not want to see pictures.

Aside from privacy and objectification concerns-- there are also concerns about afamilies deciding to adopt from a photolisting based on how a child looks. Really inappropriate and irresponsible-- but it happens.

Reena said...

I think adoption fairs still continue in a state neighboring where I live. Yeah, definitely disturbing to say the least.

Photolistings-- I have mixed feelings. Our youngest daughter was listed on a photolisting-- I wasn't intending to 'find' a child listed in this manner-- but it did happen.

I didn't really look at her photo so much as I looked at other details. I did not want to see pictures.

Aside from privacy and objectification concerns-- there are also concerns about afamilies deciding to adopt from a photolisting based on how a child looks. Really inappropriate and irresponsible-- but it happens.

Anonymous said...

Adoption fairs continue today, mostly for older children. These kids audition, hoping to get the part. Then they are adopted and within a few weeks the honeymoon phase is over. Troubling.

I have mixed feelings about photolistings like Rainbow Kids. I think if they continue password protection is a minimum, but more needs to be done to protect the child's privacy.

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