Next week, somewhere in the Midlands, around 30 children and 30 adults will meet up for a fun afternoon of circus skills, craft activities and soft play. To the casual onlooker, it will probably look like any other kids' party. There will be invitations, balloons and party bags, lots of laughter and running around. But if you were to take a closer look, you might begin to sense that this was no ordinary children's party.This seems like a good time to repost a link I posted about six months ago -- this commentary in the Christian Science Monitor by an adoptee who attended "adoption parties" as a child and concludes:
This is in fact an "adoption party", a pilot project in the UK for children in care for whom all other family-finding methods have failed. The adults are either approved adopters or well into the process of approval, while the children all desperately need adopting. Neither the adults nor the children have met before, but the hope is that once they do, connections might be made.
These parties are controversial. They have been described by critics as "cattle markets" and "shopping expeditions". But they have formed part of the adoption fabric in the US for decades and in some states the matches made at these events represent almost half of all placements.
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.When I posted about this issue before, I asked: "So what do you think about adoption fairs? Photo listings? "Wednesday's Child" features? [I could have added "Test-Drive-an-Orphan" programs?] 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?"