Adoption is a cause close to my heart. I was not adopted, but my best friend and her brother were. I’ll never forget when my friend told me she was adopted. I looked at her, and I looked at her mom and I said, “But you two look so much alike!” She just smiled and looked at her mom and said, “That’s because we were meant to be together.” Her mom, who chose to adopt children after finding out she couldn’t have any of her own, was fond of saying that she and her brother were especially special babies because they were so desperately wanted. Every year, my friend gets two celebratory days – one for her birthday, and one for the day she came home.
At her wedding, we were waiting in the church basement for the ceremony to begin and her mom started crying. When we asked her what was wrong, she said that, at these times, she often thinks about her daughter’s birth mother, and is so grateful her birth mother gave her the opportunity to raise a beautiful child into a beautiful woman. Now, my friend has a beautiful biological daughter, and often talks about how she and her husband would maybe like to adopt more children down the road.
November is National Adoption Month, and November 17 was National Adoption Day. According to the National Adoption Day website, the annual event has allowed more than 40,000 children to find their forever homes, and currently there are over 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted.
These statistics are staggering. More and more women are waiting to have children until later in life, and are willing to freeze their eggs or go through numerous painful and time-consuming fertility treatments to have their own children rather than adopt a child that desperately needs a home.
Why aren’t more people adopting children?
According to Susan Newman, Ph.D. at Psychology Today, the reasons are varied. Many partners who want children want newborn babies so they can experience those cute baby years, but oftentimes the heartbreak associated with trying to adopt a newborn is too much to bear as birth mothers can, and do, change their minds about adoptions when they see their babies. Most of the children waiting for homes are over the age of three and, by that time, are often the victims of considerable physical and/or emotional abuse.
Furthermore, cost is incredibly prohibitive. Adoption.com states, ”Adopting from the U.S. foster care system is generally the least expensive type of adoption, usually involving little or no cost, and states often provide subsidies to adoptive parents…Agency and private adoptions can range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more depending on a variety of factors including services provided, travel expenses, birthmother expenses, requirements in the state, and other factors. International adoptions can range from $7,000 to $30,000.” This can be especially prohibitive considering many insurance carriers cover fertility treatments as well as doctors appointments leading up to and including the birth of the child.
As if all that weren’t enough, Newman says that the legal issues when it comes to adoption are considerable. With tighter restrictions, hopeful parents often have to wait years before they can bring their child home.
If only adoption were easier
If adoption were easier, and less expensive, it might be a more feasible option for many couples, not to mention it could help solve our world’s population crisis. However, there are lots of good reasons for the delays and costs adoptive parents experience. Adoption agencies need to be sure that the adoptive parents are good parents, birth mothers need to be fully aware of their rights and medical bills need to be taken care of. While it might be frustrating or prohibitive for adoptive parents to pay all that money and wait for a child, you wouldn’t want to be put in a situation where a birth mother changed her mind because she wasn’t informed, and we certainly don’t want children going to bad homes.
I hope that National Adoption Month continues to raise awareness about this important issue and continues to put deserving children in good homes for years to come.
Have you had an experience with adoption? Please share them in the comments.
Photo Credit: paparutzi