Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adoption Takes Some Stamina

I recently heard a radio clip where the speaker was advocating the adoption as a cure to the abortion issue. While I completely agree that Christians need to really show themselves as more loving and being willing to help out those caught in a hard place, I think the reasoning was very simplistic.

First, the children of such situations are often the most sought after in the adoption area. Many potential adoptive parents are lined up for an infant, making such a child relatively easy to place. In fact, many of these couples are almost begging for a child. The message of this may need to get out, but that isn't the sole problem.

If the child has known special needs, perhaps due to poor behavior (such as drinking or drugs during pregnancy) by the mother, the parents may be in for quite a ride as the attempt to raise a child with serious issues.

Finally, adopting older children, including any that are no longer infants, carries its own serious risks. I am probably very jaded by my own experience, but the myth of "happily ever after" if we just love enough is just that, a myth. Older children carry their own load of problems and taking on such a child (or sibling group as we did) can make for a much more challenging road than most adoptive parents are really ready for.

We went through many "parenting classes" prior to adopting, yet none of them prepared us for the serious challenges we faced. I now vaguely recall being told many "horror stories," but we were too young and naive to believe them. After all, we would be different! We would work through anything and stay committed no matter what! Right?

While the zeal is necessary, some healthy reality is as well, along with a really strong support group, including government and social authorities that believe parents, not trouble teens that are willing to say anything to be free from these interlopers who are attempting to parent them.

Providing such strong support networks is much more important than any massive attempt to place all the waiting children. Not providing that will ultimately harm children more, and the families that try to adopt them. Leaving a child in the foster care system has serious issues, but throwing them into a family that is not prepared is also foolhardy.

Make sure you have some serious stamina if you are going to start down this road. And if you are advocating adoption as a solution, make sure advocate support for parents taking this step to an equal or greater degree. Otherwise, you are setting everyone up for a mighty crash.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Taking the Long Term View

I wanted to post a quick note to say that the process is not all depressing. The problem is that I didn't know how depressing it was until far into the process, so it becomes a little heavy at times. Even though I see serious issues remaining for all my children, I definitely believe we were brought together for a reason.

While it doesn't eliminate the pain from the current struggles and disappointments, knowing that they did make it much farther than they would have made it if they remained in the system is definitely an active encouragement. They all were at least 18 before they had children, for example! While not a normal thing to celebrate, I think it is a major achievement.

BTW, our first grandchild is due in a little over a month, I think. That is going to be another new experience!


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tough to Stay Positive

I went into the whole adoption experience with a lot of positive energy and excitement about the whole thing. While I definitely didn't work through everything, I was sure this was a good way to go and would really work out well.

On the one hand, it has worked out better for my children than it would have, especially if they had stayed in the system for their growing up years, something an older sibling got stuck with. They also almost certainly have been split up.

Yet for all this, they fall so short of achievement in their lives that it is discouraging. I am not referring to the aspect of meeting some parent's goals of living vicariously through them (though the often accuse me of that), I am referring to the desire to really accomplish any major goal in their lives. Somethings they do talk about a goal, but they rarely pursue something with their whole heart.

I should note an exception to that is my youngest son, but his pursuit is in to some weird stuff that is not ultimately likely to really help him much in his career or even in a solid hobby and personal relationships. Ah well.

I have no trouble with failure along the way. I have certainly failed enough myself, but you have to be trying to get somewhere to fail successfully.

I wonder if this is a general "adopted child" issue or if it is special to my children. Probably a mix of both. My wife is not overly motivated, so they can latch onto that to reject anything that looks like motivation in their lives, claiming it is just me wanting them to be "just like me". No, I want them to be the best "them" they can be, but that is an uphill push.