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MFTMOM

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About MFTMOM

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    Compadre
  • Birthday 01/17/1976

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    Adopting Parent

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    Black Families in Therapy
  1. MFTMOM

    Baby Announcements 2008

    Congrats Mohlers. We are so excited for you all!
  2. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    I agree that race is not the only factor that impacts fees, and I wouldn't say that I have less qualms about fee differences based on gender, religion, or another characteristic of the child. I was simply highlighting race because that was what we have been talking about. I think the same basic issue is at hand. In terms of the solution, that will definitely take a combination of more brain power than I have. Like I have said before, I don't even know if this problem can be "solved" at the agency level. I think that most agencies are simply trying their best to function in the system that they exist in. And believe me, I have no grand illusions that upstanding agencies are making a profit off adoptions. I can't think of anyone who goes into social work or related human service fields because they believe that it will be financially lucrative for them. I believe that there is deep desire to make society a better place for everyone. I had not intended to send the message that this was the case. Nor did I intend to send the message that agencies have negative motivations for the choices that they make, or as a critique of Abrazo and the fact that it has to charge fees associated with completing its work. Not only does it cost to run an agency effectively and complete placements in a legal manner, but I would hope that the agency is able to pay its employees that work so hard, that is completely understood. While I agree that prices is a difficult word when it comes to adoption and I have no problem changing my terminology in a way that is more sensitive and reflective of the actual experience. I also think that most of us would agree that all agencies do not subscribe to the same ethical standards when it comes to fees in adoptions. I hate the conception that children are somehow "bought" in adoption, but I think that the public holds this view because of the sometimes very large differences in adoption fees. I don't know what the solution to that problem is either. In terms of how to solve that issue, the first thought that comes to mind is more legislation in the field of adoption that regulates what can and cannot be done, which raises all sorts of concerns itself. I would definitely not be willing to recommend that without serious considerations of its implications. Especially considering the fact that many times policies are implemented by those who have no real experience with the field itself. I admit that I am stuck when it comes to solutions. I think that these are problems that have been around much longer than myself and others much brighter than myself have attempted to solve them. But I also consider the idea that to not take action is an action in itself- and I think about how important it is to struggle together through these issues. Because ultimately I believe that although we represent a wide variety of views on these issues and how they should be handled, ultimately we are all passionate about the children involved and want what is best for them. I think that comes through in everyone's posts and the fact that they are committed to talking about these tough topics, rather than simply writing one another off. While I am not trying to send the message that I have this all figured out, because that would just be ludicrous, I do feel compelled to continue to struggle with these issues because I feel a deep commitment to all the communities involved. I wish I had a more eloquent way to talk about this. Sometimes I wish that I truly saw a solution to some of the struggles that we have. What gives me hope is to see how many passionate individuals are truly concerned about these issues overall- even when we approach them from different viewpoints. And I am so glad that others are willing to share their thoughts and opinions. These posts simply represent mine. Warmly, Bobbi
  3. MFTMOM

    1st choice, 2nd choice, 100th choice?

    Ever feel like we need a thread titled- expect the unexpected???
  4. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    I want to make a point of clarification. I think that there is a difference between adoption costs that naturally fluctuate on a case by case basis, and actually having a fee structure that differs based on race. I also wanted to make it clear that I was not saying that children are more or less valuable based on the the cost of their adoption, birth, etc..., but rather that to have a fee structure that is concretely different solely based on the race of the child could communicate how we value people based on their race in the overall society. The reason I bring this up is just because I feel like my original concern is being taken completely out of context. I also wanted to say that while there is a recognition of "why" this takes place, I am not sure that this addresses the overall concern of "why" this needs to take place. Why should some individuals have to be given financial incentives to be willing to adopt a child based on that child's characteristics? Maybe others don't see that as a concern, but personally I have a big problem with that. BTW- Thanks everyone for being willing to talk about this- money and adoption is another very touchy issue and one that I think hits a lot of nerves for all of us based on some of our experiences with others perceptions. As always, I value your willingness to tackle difficult issues and love the way in which you push me to think about things at a deeper level. I am thankful for all of you! Bobbi
  5. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    Thanks for bumping this over for me Elizabeth.
  6. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    I agree that this is a different thread- just to clarify, what I meant to ask was: Why offer adoption fees that are different than for other adoptions, not to insinuate that agencies should not be paid for services rendered. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
  7. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    Elizabeth, Since I have you on a roll One more question. From your perspective, if adopters who are more open racially are generally more financially challenged, why not offer a sliding scale fee based on the financial abilities of the adopters- rather than the characteristics of the child? I know that there have been debates about sliding scale fees in therapy, so perhaps the reasons are similar. I guess my hope would be to find a solution that does not have some of the "side effects" that the existing system can have. Bobbi P.S. I will leave it at this because I almost think that we have moved to another topic and this should represent a new thread.
  8. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    So why offer adoption fees for special needs adoptions?
  9. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    Just an added note to the above post for clarification. I am not saying that agencies necessarily see children as less valuable or that parents who adopt through these programs receive "less service" or there is less effort on the part of the agencies in the placement of these children (that would probably depend on the agency- some being more ethical than others). Rather, that because of the racism that exists in society we are left to struggle with how to deal with the fewer choices that are available to these children- and that sometimes the solutions may create problems that they were not intended to (e.g., reinforcing the idea that children are differentially valued based on their race). Perhpas this is simply a reflection of society itself, but then the question becomes how do we fix the core problem behind each of these issues- institutionalized racism. BTW- I really hate this medium. I think about what a rich discussion we could all have if we were face to face. I miss the face to face information that would make this discussion so much more rich and meaningful. Thank you all for struggling with these issues with me. P.S. Elizabeth, when I reread your post again, I think I misinterpreted part of it. You are saying that the parent is paying differentially based on the child, but the agency is not giving less of an effort or expending less money in placing the child. Is that right?
  10. MFTMOM

    Managing Adoption Expenses

    Elizabeth, This is where that breaks down for me. And I am not speaking about Abrazo in particular because I was not even aware that there was a Promesa program when we entered the program. However, I have read several agency webpages and called for more information on their special programs. Some of them are very clear that the difference that you are paying is based upon the race of the child that you are adopting, even going so far as to have a separate fee schedule simply based on race. My understanding of special needs adoptions- that is the adoption of children who have special medical needs- is that the difference in costs is given in order to offset a lot of the medical costs that the adoptive parents will be taking on. So if you use a similar arguement about the price differences related to race wouldn't you essentially be saying that parents who adopt minority children and African-American children in particular will face more costs in raising their children than those who adopt Caucasian children. I don't really follow that argument. My interpretation has been slightly different and I would love to hear your opinion as someone who I know has struggled with this issue in the field. I believe that there is desire to make sure that all children have homes, irregardless of their race, gender, ability status, etc... As a field overall, I believe that the struggle becomes how do we encourage adopters to move outside of their comfort zone and become more open to all children. One way might be to offset the costs of these adoptions with the fees garnered from other adoptions. I can hear your passion when you speak on behalf of all children awaiting homes and I can only imagine what it is like to face this issue day in and day out and try to find a workable solution. I hope that you are not hearing this as an attack on your hard work, only concerns about the field overall. I admit that whatever the reason, I do have fears about the overall message that the costs differences send. But I also believe that I struggle with the same underlying problem- how do we level the playing field for all children. I do think that adoption suffers from the same institutionalized racism as the rest of society and I am not sure what the answer to the problem is. Interested in your perspective, Bobbi
  11. Just two thoughts. The first is that it is not uncommon in the adoption field for African-American children to be considered "special needs" because they are more difficult to place. Therefore, they are placed within a separate category in terms of costs. There are also agencies that have a hierarchical fee structure in which you pay a differential amount depending on the race of the child you choose. In these scenarios, the adoption of African-American children is always the lowest on the fee structure, even below the adoption of Asian, Hispanic, etc... children. Also, it is not unusual for the adoption of Caucasian children to cost two to three times that of African-American children. I think that for those who have adopted African-American children, this is a reality that they are more aware of, because of the choices that they explored during the process. I will tell you that it has come up so much in my study that it is a theme of experience (which means it came up a lot). Getting back to the more emotional aspect of what this means. Although one can come up with a rationale for why agencies do this, ultimately they are choosing to do this because adopters are not as willing to adopt minority children in generally, and African-Ameircan children specifically. And it is hard to feel like the message is not being reinforced that African-American children are worth less than other children. I know that I have a strong reaction to the cost differences. I think ultimately we have to go back to the personal level of- what does it feel like to constantly get the message that others see your children as worth less- simply because of their socially defined race? And second, what is it like for the children (outside of adoption, as well as inside the adoption) who will have to confront that reality? Adam, I believe that we all make a lot of generalizations when we talk about our experiences, what is interesting to me is how much the arguments have been picked apart on this particular topic. An amazing amount of gneralizations are made on this forum about adopters who are not open in terms of open adoption or those who choose to adopt internationally, but I don't see anyone picking them apart. However, this topic has really seemed to hit a nerve. Do not get me wrong, I think that it is great that there is reaction to the experiences talked about here. I think in general this country needs to become a lot more sensitized to the experiences of minorities in this country. However, I always wonder what personal nerve this topic has hit for people. I know what it hits for me, but I think that we are all individual and therefore our reactions and what we react to will be different.
  12. MFTMOM

    Baby Announcements 2008

    Okay, I am late to the game. But the Darren and Danielle that are blessed with the first baby of 2008, are they also the Darren and Daniel from the August 2004 orientation group- Woo Woo Parenthood club???
  13. MFTMOM

    JUNO- The Movie

    I really struggle with this conversation because I can see both sides of it. I definitely think that it is important for BOTH partner to speak out about their wants and needs in a relationship, rather than expecting the other to be a mind-reader. After all, at least in my experience I have not met a true mindreader yet! Especially in romantic relationships. However, my concern is that we do live in a sexist society and I think that one of the results of this is that women are given much more responsibility in romantic relationships to make sure that the relationship continues to sail smoothly. The result sometimes becomes that it is easier for men not to live up to their responsibilities in these relationships and then to say- "Well she never told me to." Please understand that this is a generalization and it in no way applies to everyone. However, in general men are given less responsibilities in these relationships and are held less accountable to what happens within them. I am a little hesitant to encourage a trend like that.
  14. MFTMOM

    JUNO- The Movie

    I hate to tell you this Loriahn, but I had to wait for others to leave the theatre before I did, because I cried a lot. But Chad says that I cry at the drop of a hat these days- so you'll have to let us know.
  15. MFTMOM

    JUNO- The Movie

    Loriahn- I suppose I can cut you some slack for reading up on the spoilers- seeing that you are out of this world fighting for our country and all Bobbi
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