Friday, March 19, 2004

more on adoption
I guess I forget that I'm unusual, that my family is a source of curiosity for others (I mean that in a good way, I don't mind when people have questions - it's just sometimes I think their questions miss the point). So I thought I'd take this opportunity to write some more about the whole adoption thing...
I worry when celebrities, and normal people for that matter, adopt with a sense of charity: Romanian orphan syndrome. Yes they are in a sense rescuing that child, but I wonder if they are trying to rescue themselves at the same time?
It bugs me that people always want to adopt babies rather than children. I can understand why parents would want babies, but it's so sad that there are children being cared for in homes that should be in real homes with love and family. Perhaps if all those suffering from Romanian Orphan Syndrome could focus a little closer to home these lost children would have a better chance of finding the love and care they need. There aren't that many babies available for adoption in the UK anymore, I wish prospective parents could just be a bit more open minded and generous.
As mentioned in the previous post, I was fostered as a baby and only adopted years later. In fact the situation was much more complicated than that, I was also hydrocephalic and came with the added baggage of birth family contact (as most foster kids do). The choice for my parents was limited: foster and hope this sick toddler responds well to treatment and we are eventually allowed to adopt or hope that social services offer them a 'better' baby at a later date. The 'better baby' was unlikely to happen as they'd already been on the waiting list for over six years, since adopting my brother. Experienced foster parents, they signed up for the emotional rollercoaster of taking on a sick child - and I'm very grateful that they did. Three years later - after four years of fostering they would have been allowed to adopt me - my birth mother took them/social services to court to regain access/block adoption. She represented herself and had access to all the legal papers, including my parents' home address. There have been odd phonecalls over the years, presumably from her, and when I was very small there were concerns that she might try and abduct me. I think it is safe to say that I was taught about 'stranger danger' with greater intensity than most.
I think that my parents answered my questions brilliantly. They were always keen to stress that, while other parents merely have their children, they were very fortunate to be able to choose us. We have a special holiday - Family Day, which is celebrated on 9th October. It's the anniversary of the day we became a family, actually the day I was adopted. I always feel a bit guilty that we don't also celebrate the day my brother was adopted, but it's never seemed to bother him!
People that want to adopt, and try to do so through social services, have to jump through so many hoops to convince the social workers that they will be fit parents. (My mum was asked by one social worker if she was sure she wanted children, because her house was so clean and children would only make a mess. My poor mum had spent hours cleaning to impress the social worker, who wouldn't?) I wish that there was a way to vet all potential parents. Having children is a blessing and a responsibility not a right.
I think there might be even more about adoption in future posts - feel free to ask questions in the comments box.


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