Friday, January 20, 2012

Adoption isn't the only placement route to a happy childhood

So says the headline at the Guardian (UK), with the subhead, As ministers plan to simplify the adoption process, children's services are keen to promote other forms of long-term guardianship. Despite the headline, the article is mostly about adoption, with the exception of this paragraph:

The ADCS points out that adoption is not right for every child and is rare in most countries except the UK and the US. Evidence suggests that children can do just as well in other forms of stable placements such as long-term fostering and "special guardianship" – a court order that gives a guardian legal parental responsibility for a child without removing responsibility altogether from the birth parents.

What do you think of these alternatives to adoption? Pros and cons?


Anonymous said...

I don't really get it. Why would birth parents want "responsibility" without raising their own children? Also, despite the fact that adoption is FIRST for finding a family for the child, adoption is ALSO about finding a child for a family...No matter how much someone wants to walk around that second scenario...It really is true. It doesn't have to be a negative thing. Desire to have a child is what prompts most PAPs to want to adopt, and without that, many children might never find their forever homes. It's a parallel journey.
Regardless, we all know how well foster care has worked out for many children. In the US, the foster care system is broken. Not all, but some people make a LIVING on foster children, and in many cases, birth parents IMO often interfere with the child having a stable home life, by continuing to be in the child's life while retaining the dysfunctional lifestyles that put the child into foster care to begin with. They become a part of the child's life, just enough to make the child want what (s)he might never be able to obtain-reunification.

Anonymous said...

Foster to adopt is a difficult situation. The family hoping to adopt through foster care can see it as a means to an end, while in reality, the child could very well be given back to the birth parents. Not that that's a bad thing necessarily, but it is very difficult for the potential adoptive parents who might have already bonded with the child as their own. And foster to adopt is particularly difficult for families with a child already in the family. Personally, i might consider foster to adopt if it were only my husband and myself. But I would never consider it if we already had another child in the mix who might or might not understand why the younger sibling is taken out of the household later.
If the UK goes toward foster to adopt as their main source of adoption, I believe many families with a child already in the household, will not even consider it. Then what? I see this as putting a cog in the wheel of of adoption, which is already a complex situation. Perhaps more open adoptions would be more appropriate for all involved.

Anonymous said...

You are worng to think that way,this is to the first responder of the article.
Adoption is about the children only and not about the adults needs,the child living with the huge black hole caused by closed adoption is much worse than having thier birth parents in thier lives.

what is offered in the article is a great soultion.

no name change,false birth certificates,which all of these were created for the adults needs to feel the "real" parents.

Gillian said...

I did my first (and probably only) foster care class on Sunday, and they talked about permanent placement options in California, one of which was guardianship. They cited a few examples where guardianship might be preferable to adoption, such as kinship placement when you want the biological parents to maintain a good relationship with both the child AND the related legal guardian. It results in fewer hurt feelings and a more open adoption. In my state, biological parents do retain a few more rights and responsibilities, possibly including visitation and child support. Sometimes it's in the best interest of the child to have that support structure in place instead of an often-alienating adoption by a relative and bad feelings all around. It's a way to ensure an open adoption with the ability to alter the arrangement before a judge should the relationship go south.

I love Adoption said...

Fostering would be very hard, you are "watching" kids in a sense, but then it would be SO hard to say goodbye to them. They also can have hard emotions...because they were beaten etc. You must be willing to go through that when going into fostering.

Also, hosting kids who are going to school in America from another country would be hard too. They may not be the same as you and may not fit in. You also may only have them for a year, and that would be really hard...or really easy.

Adoption is an excellent choice. The best choice besides helping orphans in a country. You could help orphans by going over to another country and help the orphanage. You could start an orphanage, or provide resources as well.

There are so many choices, and I think that the best is Adoption over all. There is money, but if you have enough then this is an excellent choice!

Posted by: I love Adoption

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:55 -
"You are worng to think that way,this is to the first responder of the article.
Adoption is about the children only and not about the adults needs,the child living with the huge black hole caused by closed adoption is much worse than having thier birth parents in thier lives."

This is the Anon you responded to:
In a perfect world, yes adoption would be about the children ONLY. But, obviously, if the child is going through adoption or has been taken away from it's bio parents, that is NOT a perfect world. And people don't just one day wake up and say to themselves, "I wonder if there's someone out there who wants me to take care of their child for them". No. PAPs go through a series of situations that bring them to adoption; including infertility, empty nest syndrome, and just wanting to start a family. I guarantee you that MOST PAPs go INTO adoption because they WANT TO start a family FIRST and foremost. That might not be the end reason for adoption, but it certainly is among the first. To think otherwise is fluffing a situation that is otherwise much more complicated than "the child's need for a family ONLY".
And frankly, I'm glad for that. If the adults did not have a need or desire to fulfill for themselves, I personally do not think that the adults would be able to bond with the child. That does not mean it is ONLY about the adult's desire to have a family, but would have to be very saintly to NOT have the desire to have a family, and in many ways much less ability to attach to the child. It is not a selfish thing to desire to have a family. It is actually a very selfless thing, and should be celebrated instead of treated like an elephant in the living room.

Anonymous said...

Additional comment for Anon 1:55
Also, I don't recall EVER saying anything at all about closed vs open adoption...that was YOUR interpretation of my words. I was referring to Foster to Adopt ONLY.. and, when the child was placed into foster care based on the bio parents unwillingness to get clean or take decent care of the child. Why would you assume I was ever talking about open adoption vs closed adoption??? That's not what this article is about, nor was it what my response to this article is about.

Anonymous said...

Sadly this does sound like a new spin on something sadly broken and already in place in this country: Fostering.

I get the argument for open medical records, relationships with their biological families/ties but also understand that many vulnerable children will be left adrift in legal limbo. Part of a family (possibly from birth until adulthood?) but with no legal entitlements? Not part of a true functioning nuclear family or not legally anyways and what if their biological family still is not well suited to blend them back into their lives? Ever?

How do those problems simply go away? And how does that child feel, knowing their biological family (possibly) paid some support/retained communication but couldn't or wouldn't be hands-on?? Couldn't or wouldn't assume daily care & responsibility for raising a child? Ever?

How might they feel when the family they were raised with was being paid a government supplement for their care?

For the good and the bad, adoption does leave an adoptee with a set of rights and a legal family who willingly tackle and want!! the responsibility to care for, shelter, educate, adore, cherish and all the inbetween for said child. From when they arrive until: forever.

Hmmm...seems to me its another bandaid on a problem that never did have a one size fits all solution.

Anon: Still trying to figure it all out.

Former foster kid said...

I was a foster child with a legal guardian, my grandmother. I was still under the supervision of the state and "emancipated" at age 17. As a guardian, my grandmother didn't have to get a court order to take me on a vacation out of state, as you would for a foster child. I'm sure this was also done to avoid a custody battle of sorts with my dad, who rarely called, never visited, but would've been angry about losing his rights on principle. I don't see a reason for legal guardianship unless the child is placed with a relative who doesn't want to upset the child's parents. The fact that a social worker was evaluating the placement every year didn't leave me feeling "permanent." The state could've made a change in my care if they wanted. At various times my dad did make lame attempts to get custody, but this amounted to writing a few letters to the social worker. a real change would've been bad for me.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say thati am for open adoption,this is what i meant,sorry i realy did not read to much into depth the article.

but there are so many factors to be taken nto cosiderations,really each case should be looked into individual considerations,ther should not be a general rule for how things should be done,too many children were victims of harbirtary decisions.

the article really sounds to me like what people do in divorce but here the non biological side is not going to be able to really go thriough with it with no real feeling that they are being used.

this is why adoption but open.

a child should not belong to the state ever.

planejane said...

This may be of interest:
"Concurrent planning: the rollercoaster of uncertainty", by Jenny Kendrick:

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:29... Im assuming you are also Anon 1:55

This is once again the first Anon.

Thank you for acknowledging that you stepped ahead of the conversation. I too, sometimes do that. And it takes someone with integrity to admit it. I applaud you for stepping up to the plate. I completely understand where you are coming from with open vs closed adoption. To be honest, we adopted from China because we originally wanted to not have to share our daughter with anyone else. But as time goes by, I search for pieces of her past. I do it for her, because SHE seems to want it and need it. When she asks me about her birth mother, I look back and say, "I don't really know" and it breaks my heart for her, not to know. I can't even contact her nanny, who took care of her the entire time she was in the orphanage, because Half the Sky reps tell me that she left the orphanage one day. There are certain people who cared enough about her to do XYZ for her, and it seems so uneasy knowing that she will never be able to go back to those certain people and fit the puzzle pieces together.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the kind words anoy1
IF i had to adopt i wuld only choose open adoption ,because i could not face my child with unknown answers to thier history.

when you adopt a child you adopt thier history also ,that is the big difference from having biological children.

biological children have thier biological parents to mirrrior adoptees don't and its not easy.

I wish you all the best.

my motto is as an adoptee was "never wanted to choose i just wanted an extended family"