by Cindy Hering
Everywhere in America there are children going to bed without being told goodnight, that they are loved and that someone hopes they sleep well. These children would do almost anything to be in a loving home with loving parents. This is why I believe that people should adopt children in America from America.
Why should I adopt? People normally don’t just wake up one morning and decide they want to adopt a child; normally there are reasons behind such a decision. For some there are many reasons, while for others there is only one: to give a child in need a home. Others adopt because they cannot have children of their own, the stepparent wants his/her name on the child’s birth certificate or they want to expand their family in a certain way. Each couple will have their own reason why they choose to adopt children. As woman age we stop being able to have children naturally and we become infertile. When this happens if the couple still wants to have children they can look into alternative options. Some couples could physically have children but they risk passing on diseases to their children. Other couples are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender couples (LGBT) who physically cannot have a child as a couple. Couples that are capable of having children may choose to adopt as well. With these couples they can choose to adopt because they want a girl but they have only had boys so far, or they may just be a couple who wanted one biological child but also want to help a child who doesn’t have a home (Patricelli).
There are three main types of adoptions: private domestic, foster care, and international adoptions. There are four types of people who adopt: married couples, unmarried couples, single females, and single males (Harden).
(In order to give my readers the most recent statistics on this topic, I interviewed the Site Manager for the Missouri Foster Care Division. She gave me the statistics for 2012; this source will be referenced as “Anonymous 3.” I have also researched published numbers and figures.)
The foster care program is big in the United States of America. A lot of kids who are in bad situations (abusive parents, child has not been fed in days) are put into it yearly. Some children get out of the system, because people who love children adopt them and make them part of their own family. There are a few requirements a person must complete before they can become a foster parent. These requirements include being at least 21 years old, being in good mental and physical health, completing a child abuse and neglect check, passing a criminal record check including fingerprinting, having a stable income, living in an apartment, condominium or house that meets licensing standards, and being willing to partner with the child’s family (“Missouri Foster“). In the United States between January of 2012 and December of 2012 400,540 children were put into the foster care system; 39,000 were infants under the age of one. Last year in the same period 50,514 children were adopted, some of these children had been in the system for years, while others had just been put into the system before getting adopted (Anonymous 3). In Missouri alone between June of 2011 to July of 2012 16,487 children went into the foster care program, 3,056 were available to be adopted and 1,143 of the available children were adopted. The foster care program has a lot of classes you must take to be able to become a foster parent where you give temporary or permanent homes to children. In order to adopt a child who is in foster care you have to take the required courses to become a foster parent and you must have your foster care license (Anonymous 3). In September of 2011 400,540 children were the foster care system. 50,516 of the children in the system were adopted during fiscal year 2011 (“AFCARS”). 56% of foster care adoptions are free, 29% cost $1-$5,000, 6% cost $5,000-$10,000 and 9% cost $10,000 or more (Harden).
Private domestic adoption generally refers to the adoption of U.S. born infants through independent adoptions or adoption agencies (“Private Domestic”). 22% of private domestic adoptions are no cost, 33% cost $1-$5,000, 13% cost $5,000-$10,000, 33% cost $10,000 or more (Harden).
International adoptions are where someone from the U.S leaves the U.S to go get a child. 2% are no cost, 1% are $1-$5,000, 5% are $5,000-$10,000, and 93% are $10,000 or more (Harden). The most common places for U.S citizens to adopt from are: China, Russia, Korea and Guatemala. International adoptions are normally finalized in the country the child is from; that way when you come back home the child is legally yours (“Getting Started“).
Out of all the children who are adopted yearly through whichever path you take, 37% are White, 23% are Black, 15% are Asian, 15% are Hispanic, and 9% are everything else that I have not named. Out of all the children that are adopted 6% are aged 0-2, 9% are 3-4, 30% are 5-9, 19% are 10-12, 14% are 13-14 and 23% are 15-17. Out of family structures that adopt 70.2% are married couples, 1.6% are unmarried couples, 22.7% are single females, and 5.5% are single males (Harden).
I interviewed a woman who adopted through the foster care system. This is her story.
After we were married we thought about having children and expand our family but because of health reasons we knew we could not physically have children. By the time I was 29 I knew I really wanted to be a mommy so we started to search for answers. We spent months looking into ways to adopt children: how much it would cost, how long the process would take and what the guidelines were to be able to adopt. After many long discussions and many long nights looking up information on the computer we decided we were going to adopt through the foster care system. We knew we didn’t just want to be foster care parents we knew we wanted to adopt our children, not get children into our home get attached to them and then their parents be able to get them back. We took all of the required classes to get our foster care license and we passed the state home inspection. We were finally able to get children into our home and start to fill the hole that was in our heart. We got a call from the foster care office telling us they had three children that were up for adoption and asked if we were interested? We told them we were interested and we got the children into our home. We got two girls and a boy they were 1,3 and 5 when we got them. Our adoption process took one year. It did not cost us anything extra because we already had the children in our home and the adoption did not cost us anything. If I had the chance to do it all over again I would. I would do it through the foster care system again. “I love my children they are very special, they complete my family” (Anonymous 1).
I interviewed a couple who adopted internationally. This is their story.
I have two beautiful children thanks to the adoption process. Once we decided that we wanted to adopt children because there are a lot of children out there who need homes. We researched how we wanted to adopt and we found an orphanage in Guatemala that had a really good reputation and a quick adoption process. With each adoption we had a different experience and we enjoyed both experiences. Jada, our first child cost 30,000 just for the adoption we still had to pay for our plane tickets, lodging when we got there and our food, her adoption took nine months from the time we started talking to them till the time we got her home. With our second child Jake the adoption cost 30,000 including the plane ticket, food and lodging, Jake’s adoption took nine months as well. The adoption process was really good and if I could do it all over it again I would definitely do it (Anonymous 2).
I think that when it comes to adoption we should adopt American children first. I believe this because I was lucky and I grew up in a warm loving home with my parents and my siblings, but not every child has the option of growing up surrounded by love. Some children grow up in homes that feel like prison cells. They have a room they share with other people, they have set dining times and they get looked at by interested families–if they are lucky. As a child in the foster system, you grow up knowing that people look through your file, and they can come meet you before they decide if they want to adopt you. When a child meets an interested couple they get their hopes up, they start thinking this may be the one time I get to go to a loving home. But then something happens, the couple changes their mind or something else happens and the child is left at the home until he or she is adopted or until he or she is of the legal age to take care of him or herself. Yes I understand there are children all over this world who have this problem; they are in need of families too, but why would someone go overseas to get a child when there are children in the USA who would love to go home with them and have a loving family? What makes one life more important than another? Why are we more worried about other countries’ child problems than our own? Because the media show us on our television sets pictures of hungry children who live in poorer countries we automatically feel we need to help, but they don’t show you how the adults look or how the country itself looks or survives. They play with your emotions as human beings and they try to get you to help them because they are so needy. Americans: we are proud of who we are. Yes, we have a lengthy adoption process sometimes, and yes, adoption anywhere is going to cost a lot of money. By the time the adoption is over it will have cost you some money, and that just starts the bills of having a child. A benefit of adoption is that you can raise yourself a fine outstanding, respectful, responsible citizen of this great country.
While I do believe that there are a lot of children who are in need internationally, I also know that there are children who live in America who need our help. They are living in children’s homes; they are living on the street. I believe we should help our own country first. We need to make it so that the children of this country can go to bed with pillows under their heads, and wake up in the morning knowing they are in their own bedrooms, with four secure walls and a roof over their heads, with a family in the other room that loves them and will always be there for them. We as a country see disaster overseas we see starving children overseas and we run to aid them. We try to help them grow, and when we do it we forget that here at home we have problems, we have hungry children who need food, we have children who would give anything to have that nice pair of shoes you just sent half way across the ocean to someone you have never met. Our needy youth here in America need some attention too. I have always been told “Charity starts at home” by my parents, and I never really caught on to what they meant until I saw all these commercials for feeding the starving children and I could think to my home town and the number of people my age that only get fed at school because their parents don’t have money to buy groceries.
I am not saying don’t help others. I am however saying before you send that dollar overseas, before you go overseas to help a child, keep in mind our problem here in America. Adoption is a way to help people who want a family–but are unable to make a family physically–to have a family. Adoption is also good because it helps out our society by making good, upstanding citizens. And you are saving a child’s life by giving him or her the option to grow up as a healthy, normal kid, with a loving family in a loving home.
“The AFCARS Report.” Children’s Bureau. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport19.pdf>.
Anonymous 1. Interviewed by Cindy Hering. 8 April 2013.
Anonymous 2. Interviewed by Cindy Hering. 8 April 2013.
Anonymous 3. Interviewed by Cindy Hering. 8 April 2013.
“Getting Started with International Adoption.” Adoption.com. Web. 23 Mar. 2013. <http://international.adoption.com/>.
Harden, Seth. “Adoption Statistics.” Statistic Brain. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. 23 Aug. 2012. <www.statisticbrain.com/adoption-statistics/>.
“Missouri Foster and Adoption Guidelines”. Adopt US Kids. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.adoptuskids.org/for-families/state-adoption-and-foster-care-information/missouri>.
Patricelli, Kathryn. “Choosing to Adopt.” MentalHelp.net. 22 Jan. 2007. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=10041>.
“Private Domestic Adoption Facts.” The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. 2002. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. <http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/FactOverview/domestic.html>.