About six years ago, we decided it was time to start building our family. When the old-fashioned way didn’t work for us, I began researching international adoption. The enormous costs, as well as the health problems many children face, were discouraging, so I spoke with our doctor about other options. He referred us to a fertility specialist. Our unsuccessful efforts brought us back to adoption.
In this discussion paper, I hope to open a door for reflection and discussion within the adoption community, meaning adoption agencies, support services, and adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. It is time to examine our underlying values and biases in adoption, and address how the adoptive system advantages some, while disadvantaging others.
We were waiting for the call to pick up our child. One day the phone rang. “There’s been a terrible plane accident at Ton Son Nhut airport outside of Saigon. The back doors of a Lockheed C5A transport plane carrying children bound for the US and Canada were not properly secured. About 15 minutes after take-off, the Galaxy reached cruising level and the rear cargo door blew out. The plane smashed down in a rice paddy a short distance from the airport. Several children and their escorts, who were on the lower deck of the plane, have perished.
This article is based on a trip to Vladivostock, Russia where Douglas visited orphanages and met with Russian government adoption officials.
“There is a problem. This could impact your ability to have children,” were the words I heard from my gynecologist after having laproscopic surgery. My heart sank. I had wanted to be a mom from the time I was four years old. When I thought I would never be a mom, I felt incomplete, ugly, and embarrassed. I didn’t want anybody to know.
Adoption reversal and revocation strikes fear in the hearts of adopting parents. Under section 19 of the Adoption Act, "a birth mother may revoke her consent within 30 days of the child's birth, even though the child has been placed for adoption during that period." In a reversal, consents have not been signed; in revocation, consents have been signed. In most cases the child was living in the adoptive home. Under the old Act, there was no revocation period.
An adoptive family was ordered to give up their 10-month baby girl, adopted at 11 days old, when a birthfather applied for custody of the child. The ruling was later overturned. In light of this case, we have chosed to reprint various clarifications on the legal rights of birth fathers and adoptive families. To put things in perspective, less than one per cent of adoptions are contested by birth fathers.
by Dana E. Johnson
The most difficult area in adoption medicine is predicting the needs of children adopted from orphanages. We are only beginning to understand how these kids are doing. Studies have been too few to say with certainty what percentage is normal (even if we could define "normal"). Also, the situation changes with time. Some children resolve problems, while others begin to exhibit them as the years pass. Because studies only deal with a two-to-five-year period after adoption, no one can speculate on long-term issues.
- Work with informed professionals in adoption agencies that the community regards as offering quality adoption services.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings about substance abuse in general and your experiences with substance abuse—in your own personal background, with family and friends, and in the work place.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings
A summary from Dr Jill Waterman's session at the North American Council on Adoptable Children Conference in Pasadena, July 28 - August 1, 1999, on outcomes for adopted children affected by drugs. Waterman is the head of Clinical Psychology at UCLA and co-instigator on the TIES Adoption Project in LA. TIES provides Training, Intervention, Education, and Services to support the adoption of children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol and/or other drugs.