We know what this month is right?
Outside of November. Outside of Thanksgiving coming up. Outside of Christmas approaching , quicker than we expected, or might even be ready for . . .
It is, as it is every year, National Adoption Awareness Month.
The time set aside supposively to heighten the awareness of children in foster care waiting to be adopted. To shed adoption in it’s typical positive, glowing light, so couples everywhere will stand up and help a child in need.
It does sound good in the way it is worded.
Who in the world would not support such a thing? Who would ever question such a noble campaign to help children TRULY in need of a family to love and care for them?
You would have to be a pretty cold-hearted monster not to jump on that bandwagon and join in the festivities.
. . . EXCEPT . . .
. . . yes, I know, shocking that I would have an “except” to all of this . . .
The meaning of this month and the actual reality of this month are two different things entirely.
Where it might be stated that this month is only about raising awareness about foster care children, it, as always seems to happen, spreads its way into all forms of adoption. Muddying the waters, as the industry likes to do, so that every adoption is seen as a great rescuing effort executed by amazing couples saving children from lives of doom and gloom.
And their “awareness” falls short of what everyone, involved in adoption or not, should be knowledgeable about.
That’s my biggest problem with this month – the lack of true “awareness” that is actually offered while continuing to circulate the sunshine and roses stories.
I would just love to see honesty come from this time. I’m not seeking an excuse to try and discredit the love and dedication of adoptive parents. A denial of the sad truth that there are children in our world who truly are alone and deserve a family. Or a justification that any child should have to remain in a life of abuse or neglect.
But portraying only happy, wonderful stories of adoption, for whatever reason, fails adoptive parents, first/natural parents and adoptees alike. And worst of all, it fails those children truly in need and still waiting for a family to give them the security and love they deserve.
In 1990, the National Adoption Awareness Week was expanded into a full month and yet how much change has it really encouraged? Nothing has truly differed in the two decades that have passed. Children in foster care are still being overlooked. There continues to remain a ratio of over thirty couples waiting to adopt every one infant born. Corruption continues to exist in the International world and laws remain that literally leave mothers with NO choice.
And the adoption industry continues to profit billions of dollars, mostly unregulated, while thriving under the support of our very own government.
At this rate, we could have National Adoption Awareness Month into the next Millennium and there would still be nothing changed.
If we don’t make a conscious effort to also address the more difficult truths, we will never get anywhere. If we don’t address the reasons why adoption happens to begin with, acknowledge where so many have been failed and left with no other option but to lose their child forever, we will continue to spin our wheels without any positive outcome to the fact that so many children are left without the stability of someone to love and care for them.
If we want to have a TRUE month of awareness than we need to address issues such as NO child should ever be expected to give up their past to become a part of a future with another family. Their records should never be falsified or locked away from them, denying them the basic human rights the rest of us take for granted.
Lack of support, marital status, or financial strain should NEVER be an accepted reason to separate mother and child. Every mother, in every country, should be given the tools and help to keep and raise her child unless there is a solid case of the child being at risk for abuse or neglect.
And if there is that risk, and there is NO other choice but to remove a child from their mother’s care, than the importance should become one where a child remains within their biological family, their home-country, their own heritage and roots.
Adoption should not be an option. It should be a last choice. That final step that must be taken because every other resource or opportunity has been thoroughly explored and determined, morally and ethically, that it fails ONLY for the benefit of the child.
And even then, drastic changes need to be made. Hopeful couples should be required to be educated and well informed about any issues their children might face. Support should be mandatory for any adoptee from any situation that offers them the freedom to feel and react in the way they want without ever having to fear judgment or lack of support.
Adoptive and first/natural parents alike, should have no choice but to be made aware of the importance of always supporting and encouraging an adoptees right to know where they came from. Their family’s history. The talents, traits, and other quirks that tie them to so many that came before them.
Corruption, profit and deception, in adoption of all types, needs to be demolished. Honesty and true understanding of every truth that comes with separating a child from their family, their past, their roots, needs to not only be acknowledged, but accepted and understood before one can even be allowed to step a foot into the adoption world.
Our adoption awareness needs to be redirected, changed from where it resides today into a new perception.
If we truly want to make a difference than we need to start with building the “awareness” that adoption, as it exists today, fails children in so many ways. It does not make them most important, center on what is best for them and their future.
It doesn’t, because it can’t. And it never will as long as a child’s past is not respected. Falsified and denied records are allowed. Support is not offered and family is not preserved before separation becomes reality.
Until then, brace yourself, prepare yourself, and know the month of November might mean many things but it does not, and cannot, mean a true awareness of adoption and all the realities that come with it.
In Other Words: Susan Harness and Sandy White Hawk
26 minutes ago