Adoption is a process of bringing children together with people who are not their biological parents in order to create a family. It is necessary to mention that in the USA adoption has long been practiced through informal processes because of the lack of necessary legal procedures. At the present time, in the USA, this phenomenon has become a legal process and assures the protection and welfare of children whose parents died or cannot take care of them. One cannot say that adoption is characterized by only positive opinions in American society. On the contrary, it provokes many issues and public debates. Thus, the paper argues that although the adoption process in the USA raises many concerns, this procedure should be reformed and simplified by the government for decreasing the level of children under foster care.
The Problem of Adoption
Garton has aptly noted that, Adoption, all in all, has served women, children and society well. Nonetheless, some people suppose that adoption is a negative and dysfunctional phenomenon that influences badly on adopted children. However, in general, American society sees adoption an altruistic act as children deprived of family love and care have chances for a new family and a good life. Life in orphan house is not an appropriate perspective for children who are absolutely lonely since social employees cannot give them the love that they can receive in the family circle. Adoption transforms children’s life and makes abused, unwanted, neglected, orphaned and abandoned children happy and loved. Hence, it is evident that for American society the problem of adoption has two sides – positive and negative ones; that is why it is necessary to study this social phenomenon.
Donaldson Institute conducted a survey and established that 6 of 20 Americans dealt with adoption. It means that the level of adoption in the USA is really high. It is a positive fact whereas children deprived of nurturing, caring and loving families can live in stable and loving environment. In most cases, adoptive parents are people who strongly want children and can care for them, raise and love them. However, statistics shows that because of the long process of adoption some parents are afraid to deal with these procedures. In the USA, there are more than half a million of children that are eligible for adoption, and they should be given the chance to live in a real family. Every year, Americans adopt more than ten thousand children. In the USA there are more than one million potential parents who are eager to adopt a child.
Long screening of adoptive parents cannot be the evidence that a child will be happy in this family. Nevertheless, this procedure is necessary to clarify that adoptive families will provide good lives for children in all aspects. Adoption can provide waiting children a real permanence, overcoming psychological traumas, coping with sadness and grief and other issues connected with their lack of family. Psychologists are convinced that adopted children have more probabilities of becoming responsible and compassionate adults who will be good family people.
Adoption can benefit not only a child but also the birth and adoptive parents. There are biological parents that are not ready to have children. Therefore, on the one hand, it is better to refuse from them than make children suffer and be deprived of love while living in the family. This circumstance concerns young birth mothers who are not prepared to family life and have no support in their pregnancy. On the other hand, adoption benefits adoptive parents as they become happy to have somebody about whom they can take care. Sociologists state that the adoption is better than abortion as it raises the population rate.
It is evident that in most cases adoption has a positive effect on an adoptive child, the adoptive family and birth family. The main problem is that it is necessary to simplify the process of adoption in order to give a chance and a stimulus to everybody who wants to adopt a child and is capable to do so.
Challenges of Adoption
Despite the mutual desire of parents to adopt children and children to be adopted, this process has many challenges. Without a doubt, the intentions of adoptive parents are very noble and good but they cannot avoid difficulties with potential for stumbling blocks and setbacks, involving complicatedness and complexity of procedure itself. In any case, many families go through all difficulties and wait patiently for their child.
There are legal requirements for the adoption process. First, all parents should complete a home study before adoption approval. The home study is an indicator of readiness of parents to raise children. Adoption process also demands the use of a facilitator who arranges the transferring of a child from the birth family (or foster care) to the adoptive parents. International adoption is more complicated than domestic one as it requires permissions from the foreign government and US government.
Moreover, adoption is an expensive process. Thus, many families refuse from this option when they hear how much money they need to proceed it. Agencies that are looking for a child for the family demand payments for paperwork and connection of adoptive parents with birth ones, to list a few. Besides, parents who want to adopt a child should also pay to social workers who assist with background checks and home study. Apart from that, adoption process requires expenditures for birthmother, document translation and travelling abroad if it is an international adoption. Parents ought to take into consideration court costs and legal fees as well. The financial reports state that potential adoptive parents should spend from $500 to $2,000 on court, $2,500-6,000 on legal procedures, approximately $ 2,500 for domestic adoption, $5,000-40,000 on a private adoption, and $15,000-30,000 on a foreign adoption.
The statistics shows that older children are not adopted as often as small babies. The advantages of older baby adoption concern shorter wait. Most parents are afraid to adopt older kids because they can discover their special needs sooner. Additionally, parents do not want to adopt older children due to their life history that is connected with memories about their birth family. Furthermore, the older children are not adopted so often as smaller ones owing to that they have already been raised up by their birth parents that could have had bad habits, such as drug addiction, smoking or alcohol abuse. However, the advantage of an older child adoption is that parents can see their deviation in physical and mental health. Toddler adoption is risky because one’s possible disabilities can be observed only when a child is becoming older.
As a rule, adoptive parents have more grief issues with handling a child’s past when they adopt an older child. This is another reason this type of adoption is frequently avoided. What is more, it is generally believed that children adopted in older age tend to leave their adoptive parents and look for their biological ones. Hence, adoptive parents try to hide the information about their birth parents (e.g. life books) from their children as this can make adopted children look for them. In any way, there is a risk that adoptive children cannot live with their adoptive family, and that is why they conflict very often. Conversely, there are families who do not know how to take care for toddlers, so they choose older children. They tell that it is easier to bring them up. It is more interesting to spend time with older children and share family’s interests with them in this case.
Adoption among Celebrities
Speaking about adoption among movie stars and other celebrities, it is necessary to note that it is very popular nowadays. For example, Madonna and Angelina Jolie can be named among such starring adoptive mothers. However, the most curious fact is that celebrities tend to go to foreign countries instead of adopting children from the US. The level of children without families is higher in developing countries than in developed ones. Therefore, many famous people adopt children from poor African countries. To illustrate, Madonna adopted her second child in Malawi. She did this as she wanted to support Malawian people who are extremely poor and isolated from happiness and potential rewards of Western life.
Many Americans debate about adoption of Chinese and African children by celebrities as there are many American orphans who need love and care. To my mind, this is their choice from which country to choose a child to adopt. Thus, these discussions are irrelevant as parentless children from all countries want to be loved and cared. Nevertheless, critics advocate that adoption of African children by celebrities is the way of attraction of publicity to their image. For celebrities, this process is the way of reinforcing of a growing positive public image. Moreover, at the contemporary time, it is fashionable for famous and rich individuals to go to a developing country for adoption.
Meanwhile, adoption and governmental agencies report about more than 500,000 American children that have no families and are under foster care. They are waiting for adoption, but there are no people who would adopt them. Consequently, it is very strange that celebrities do not want to adopt American orphans, who want to find a home and loving family. Knowing about serious adoption problems in the USA, Hollywood celebrities are still interested in poor African children.
Another problem of American adoption is that it is more complicated than in African countries, which is another factor leading to American celebrities choosing their orphans. American parents who are not extremely rich are waiting for years in order to receive the right for adoption. It follows that the American government should simplify the procedure of adoption and gives the opportunity to many orphans live in families. Massive adoption reforms are needed for shortening of the level of children under foster care. These are local, state and federal election officials who are involved in the adoption process and complicate it. In the USA, 50 different states have their own peculiarities of adoption and they oftentimes make no sense. Every state has its own procedure of putting children in adoptive homes, which leads to nonsense when it comes about adoption of a child from another state. As a result, it is evident that American legislative system requires reforms. One of the US presidents, Bill Clinton, is an adopted child. He has succinctly emphasized, we must work tirelessly to make sure that every boy and girl in America who is up for adoption has a family waiting to reach him or her. This is a season of miracles, and perhaps there is no greater miracle than finding a loving home for a child who needs one.
In my opinion, adoption is a normal social phenomenon that should exist in our society as children under foster care do not live full life. As to my family, we also dealt with the adoption process. The issue concerned my cousin of 10 years old who has lost her parents. Social services took her, and she was bounced from one group home to another before my parents were able to adopt her. I do not understand why close relatives should face with complications of adoption. To my mind, such children who have relatives ought to be easily adopted.
I am convinced that adoption has to be encouraged in the USA as the rate of orphans is constantly increasing. Children should be educated and raised up in families for being socially integrated individuals. Foster care does not allow them to die from hunger and gives a shelter, but they remain homeless and lonely people. Adoption should be encouraged as a solution to abortion and single parenthood. In the USA, the level of abortion is too high, and the problem of a simplified adoption process may become a sound means for the government to address this issue among other approaches. Apart from that, Adoption is a way to solving of many social problems, such as homelessness, poverty, drug addiction, to name a few. Adoption benefits building stable family structures and creating families by those who cannot have children. The American society should see the adoption as a positive phenomenon since its misconception leads to abortion and single parenthood. Our community has to ruin the stereotypes about adopted families and adoption at large whereas this process as a whole helps to overcome prejudices and intolerance.