There’s a right way to do adoption, and there’s the wrong way to do adoption. And how you go about it matters, because the impact it will have on any child involved can be lifelong– for good or bad.
The Right Way to do Adoption
The right way to do adoption is not the easiest route (and it doesn’t always result in placement, ironically, since adoption is not always the right outcome in every single instance.)
When you do adoption the right way, whether you place or adopt, there’s going to be lots of paperwork and conscience required. Tough questions must be asked. There will need to be licensed professionals involved, like social workers and counselors, and also an agency and/or attorney.
Nobody can promise the process will be quick nor painless. Anyone with ethics isn’t going to guarantee you adoption is easy, nor will they pressure you, or promises that it’s the right choice (even if you want them to,) It can’t be all about what you want or need, because any adoption done right has to be about what’s best for children.
Adoptions done right may involve fees being paid by adopting parents, but those placements shouldn’t ever be financially-driven arrangements. (Which means nobody should be profiting from the adoption arrangement; not the professionals, not the placing parents, and not the adopting parents– even if they’re applying for grants to adopt.)
At Abrazo, we believe that the right kind of adoptions require all the adults to meet the needs of the child/ren involved– before the placement, after the adoption, and across the years that follow. This is why we think open adoption is so essential; because it honors an adoptee’s right to know their truth as well as all their people.
Again, the adoption that gets done the right way is always more than a quick transaction. It isn’t intended to fulfill adult desires– it’s got to be forever focused on meeting the adoptee’s needs, which may change over time.
So What’s The Wrong Way To Do Adoption, Then?
A new documentary called “Where Is Baby Gabriel?” airing on Peacock clearly depicts the wrong way to do adoption. In it, a vulnerable mother is targeted by a couple desperate to adopt her blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy. They blatantly coveted her child and were seemingly willing to do nearly anything to get him, including reportedly altering legal documents, making false promises, providing foster care without a license, and coaching the child’s mother on how to evade a father who clearly wants custody of his child. The story does not have a happy ending (so far). The mother of Baby Gabriel fled her state with her child, who was never seen again. She and the would-be adoptive mother both were convicted of charges related to her child’s disappearance, and Baby Gabriel has yet to be found. (Authorities continue to debate whether the child was ultimately murdered or illegally adopted by strangers.)
The wrong way to do adoption nearly always involves adults/parents putting their own wants or needs before a child’s best interests. Too often, there’s force or coercion or monetary incentive involved. That contaminates any adoption proceedings to follow, and potentially creates a voidable adoption, as well. Money is the root of all evil, as they say, and adoption decisions should never be made on the promise of financial gain, for anyone involved. Adoption is a permanent and lifelong commitment, so the best of adoptions require much forethought and usually some counseling, as well (before and afterwards.)
These days, there are far more people wanting to adopt babies than there are infants available for adoption. That creates a dangerous situation for the most vulnerable citizens of American society– mothers and newborns. The rise of DIY adoptions arranged online by unlicensed advertisers, facilitators and consultants puts all adoption consumers at considerable risk. It also has created a fertile breeding ground for con artists running adoption scams, few of which ever face criminal prosecution.
Worst of all, adoptions done wrong endanger the welfare of adoptees– both in childhood and adulthood.
Adoption: A Selfless Covenant
Whether someone is placing a child for adoption or seeking to adopt, the best litmus test of whether it’s being done right is the level of their concern for whether or not the adoption is truly best for the child involved. People who are placing or adopting to meet their own needs typically won’t question how what they’re considering will impact the adoptee over time because it’s all about them and what they want.
Yet at the center of every adoption ever contemplated is a child, and any adoption done the right way requires the participants to look beyond the baby blankets. How will the person that adopted baby will one day become view these choices made on their behalf? How will they feel about what was done to make their adoption happen? And what will they view as having been their gains and their losses, for having been adopted?
The best of adoptions are a selfless covenant between four parents: the two who place the child, and the two that adopt, with all four remaining committed to supporting each other as the adoptee grows. They want him or her to know and love all of them. After all, they know the difference between adoptions done right and the wrong way to do adoption, and all are dedicated to nothing but the best for the child they share.