Adoption: A Primer

Many people go their entire lives without a thought to adoption or foster care.  Perhaps they see a story on the news or have an acquaintance that decides to care for non-biological children.  When fostering and adoption cross their path, well-meaning people think “what angels they must be” and “gosh, I could never do that.”  (You don’t want to know what ill meaning people say to a parent or child’s face.)

Thus, I’m taking a moment to educate.  In America, there are 3 main types of adoption:
domestic – an American child removed from the home or placed for adoption at the parent’s request.
international – a foreign-born child placed for adoption
kinship – an American child under the physical custody of a family member other than their biological parent, often a grandparent.
Kinship adoptions can be informal (not processed through the court systems) and are often overlooked by a crowded system, or relatives ashamed to admit the parent cannot care for the child.  As a result, these parents are less likely to have access to needed services and support.  Some forms of kinship can later be overturned by birth parents.

No matter what form of adoption, each one begins with a trauma – the separation from birth parents.  In some adoptions, that is the only trauma, and it is followed by much joy.

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