Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is What National Adoption Month is Really About

It isn't about getting a healthy, white newborn as quickly as you can, or about adopting from China or Ethiopia or Haiti or Russia. Not saying anything's wrong with that, it's just not what National Adoption Month is about. National Adoption Month was conceived to highlight the outrageously high number of children in foster care who need permanent families.  And the centerpiece of National Adoption Month is National Adoption Day:
National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 107,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. This one day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with policymakers, practitioners and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care. In total, more than 35,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day.
And I am proud to say that students at my law school volunteer each year to help finalize adoptions from foster care during National Adoption Day:
Teddy bears, children’s books and balloons filled the courtrooms of the Tarrant County Family Law Center during National Adoption Day. Fifteen Texas Wesleyan School of Law students participated in the event, held on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at the Family Law Center in downtown Fort Worth. Forty-one children in Tarrant County were adopted by 30 families. Since 2000, more than 35,000 children nationwide have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day. . . . [Judge] Boyd also recognized the contributions of the students at Texas Wesleyan School of Law who volunteer their time to assist the lawyers. “Every year [the students] have worked with National Adoption Day, and this is a wonderful opportunity for students who will become new lawyers to get their first experience in a courthouse.” The law school students, who worked with mentor lawyers throughout the fall semester to prepare the adoptions, stood with the children and their new families as the adoptions were finalized before a judge.
Gotta love feel-good stories about lawyers and law students! (Um. And maybe this is a good time to mention that the views expressed at this blog are solely my own and not those of my employer!)


Mirah Riben said...


You are absolutely right. it is also the INTENDED purpose of the tax credit, though it is MISS-used more than used for it's intended purpose. See http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2011/11/us-federal-adoption-tax-credit-dollars.html

Without being rude or crude or insulting - honestly I don't want to be - but I have a question for you and don't know how to ask it without being blunt.

Don't you feel a tad hypocritical having adopted from China and NOT from foster care (as far as I know - I could be wrong about that) to post what you posted?

Mirah Riben said...


Here are my thoughts on national Adoption Awareness Month: http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2011/11/adoption-awareness-2011.html

malinda said...

You're right, Mirah, I'm certainly vulnerable to a charge of hypocrisy here and take no offense. But keep in mind, I'm talking about National Adoption Month, not adoption. I don't think it's completely hypocritical to say that what we should do in November is focus on foster care adoption, without making a broader statement about where/how people should adopt.

Leah said...

"Don't you feel a tad hypocritical having adopted from China and NOT from foster care (as far as I know - I could be wrong about that) to post what you posted?"

This is something I've been struggling with as well. While on the one hand I love your blog, on the other I am very, very, VERY critical of non-special needs international adoption. It can be difficult to reconcile your criticism of adoption practices with the fact that you were the consumer in this system not once but twice. It's all well and good to talk about different adoptive practices, but how about acknowledging that certain adoptive practices -- like international or domestic adoption of healthy infants -- is to the direct detriment of other adoptive practices -- like the adoption of kids in foster care or of children with special needs. Again, I love your blog and I don't want to start a firestorm. I suppose it's just difficult for me to understand how you can blog about the amount of children in foster care given the fact that you adopted babies internationally.

malinda said...

Leah, like I said to Mirah, I don't deny the charge of hypocricy. But one can, of course, start out thinking one way and change one's mind, right? Does that still make one a hypocrit? Certainly, you could say I should keep my mouth shut, simply because I benefitted from the system I utilized to adopt, regardless of any change of attitude. But keeping silent about my opinions simply isn't in my nature!

Leah said...

I'm definitely not asking you to shut your mouth! I love this blog. I love that instead of using your voice to perpetuate the lies of the system (like some AP blogs) you use your voice to question the system. But whenever people who've adopted as you have (healthy infants) go on to question the system, I have to wonder how much was ignored. It's very convenient to decide that the system is screwed up after you're done exploiting it. Bear in mind that I'm saying this as a PAP and prospective foster parent who is barren (a word I much prefer to infertile, which lacks a certain drama), so I deeply understand the desire to turn away from uncomfortable truths. Still, it only took me few hours of general internet research to find the First Mother Forum and other sites that question adoption practices (including yours). These truths are hardly difficult to find. This makes me question even more what adoptive parents chose to confront and what they only decide to be concerned about after the adoption papers have been signed. That's a deeper kind of disingenuousness than hypocrisy, I think, and that's what bothers me about this blog and others like it.