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Too Expensive For Black People to Adopt?

Here is a video I found, and my response to this post. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfVRnOUTg6M

Common responses:

"We [black people] adopt all the time, but it's not centered on paperwork and formalities."

"Black people do adopt, but media sensationalizes those elite white people who rescue [adopt] kids so, people don't hear about what we're doing."

"It's too expensive to adopt."

I am thankful to  have heard so many honest responses and am gathering that the definition of adoption differs amongst cultures and ethnic communities. It seems as though the black folks who responded to the last post and in this video feel that adoption means that a biologically related family member would simply take care of a child - short or long term and the lowest two rungs on Maslow's hierarchy of needs being the most important (safety and physiology). In my professional adoption work, and continued involvement with adoption communities, I hear adoption discussed more as a permanent solution, stability and permanency being the pinnacle of the equation, and all of the needs being attended to (security, physiology, social, esteem and self-actualizing).

Thus, I still feel that my basic question has gone unanswered. Not all children are so fortunate to be informally adopted by a relative, so why aren't black families adopting already born children of color through foster care (generally no fees - thus dissuading the argument of the high costs of adoption).?

A WORTHY VOICE: "I'll take it to my grave."

I was so grateful to have received a beautifully honest post submission from Jesse, a birthmother. Her voice is worthy to be heard. These are her words:

It was 1958,  I was 16 years old when I had my daughter. I came from a white, middle-class family - no one expected this from me.  I couldn't even tell my family.  I am now 72 years old and I finally understand that all those years of therapy and trying to resolve that grief just wasn’t going to happen.  While watching the documentary, Closure, I lost my breath hearing your birthmother, Deborah say; “I’ll take it to my grave.” I now accept that the pain and anguish will go with me to my grave too, just like Deborah.  I understood Deborah’s secrecy.  I also understood her family’s anger with her for not trusting them with The Big Secret.  Explaining the lifelong grief and pain that comes with losing your baby is a hard thing to explain for anyone.  After searching for my daughter for 30 years, I finally found her 5 years ago! She denied any contact.  I learned that she is a professional musician (jazz pianist) in Chicago, this is beautiful because I also play jazz piano and my mother and both my grandmothers were classical pianists.  It is so sad that she has no idea where her music comes from.  I was able to see her at one of her performances a few years ago - anonymously, of course.  I sat just 15 feet away from her and watched her incredible talent for a couple of hours, then I got up and left without approaching her.  It was hard, indeed, but just seeing her face made the huge, gaping hole in my chest a little smaller.  I know she is well and doing what she loves.

My wish is that people – especially adoptive parents – are educated about the totality of adoption, including the dark side.  Some adoption agencies see people like me (and the other women in my birthmother group) as being bitter, angry birth mothers.  We may be that at times, but losing your child for any reason is life-altering and not in a good way.  People who lose a child due to a death have support and support groups there for them to work through their grief as much as they can.  Birthmothers are not allowed to grieve, we have no support sometimes, and in my generation, we were supposed to be quiet and disappear.  So we’re left with unresolved grief which manifests in depression, substance abuse, failed relationships, etc.  I know I did the right thing in relinquishing my daughter  but it was not a choice.  There was no choice - as it is for most of us, whether due to youth, poverty, family or societal pressure, or religious pressure.

- Jesse 

Babies and emotional intelligence

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIsCs9_-LP8 I've often wondered what emotions pre-verbal babies feel when being transitioned from their birth parents to an adoptive family. I've wondered if young adoptees feel anything, or even know what's going on during trauma. This video makes me think that not only do babies feel, but they are emotional sponges, feeling all that is around them. I'm glad this little child is feeling joyous emotions and crying tears of passion at the mother's voice. If only every child's first felt emotions were positive, too.

Original Birth Certificates

I feel a sense of power as I sit in my office with an adopted child's original birth certificate on my desk. The certified birth certificate will go into the child's file, and locked away in a vault never to be seen again as mandated by Washington State law. The birth certificates list the full names of the child's birth parents as well as the name that the birth parent chose for them. The adoptive  family does not know the birth parents last names. Nor do they know the name the birth parent originally chose for the child. As I look at the vital document, I feel that I'm committing an infraction of sorts, in knowing that the child to whom this information belongs will never be allowed to view it.  The irony and weight of the moment is not lost, as I am keenly aware of the hours of time, money and longing that I've personally spent wishing for my own original birth certificate.  It's eerie to think that a social worker in the State of Tennessee, someone not too unlike myself, filed my birth certificate away, and locked it up and sealed it  for my eyes never to see.

Why is it that I, an arbitrary social worker, gets to hold, handle, file and seal a document away? A document to those whom are not adopted, consider a vital document- one to be stored next to their marriage license and social security cards in a locked, fireproof box.  But, for the adoptee they lost that right to have access to this document, simply for being born?

I know this debate is hot and raging in many states, but I can't help but feel a sense of debasement as I do to this child what I fought so hard for and wished wasn't done to me.  If all individuals should have the right to know basic information about themselves, what gives a state the right to act sovereign  and supreme over an adopted child?