By Ellen Rardin
January 09, 2006
As a veteran social worker, with over two decades of experience in adoption, I am compelled to respond to columnist Barbara Bova's misleading column purporting to "explain" why children in the US are not being adopted, and why so many couples chose to go abroad.
The column states that parents place children in orphanages because of their love and care for them. Let me state this fact bluntly... parents place children in institutions out of sheer desperation. To imply that they do so to enable their child to have a loving home in the United States is a sad joke. Children are institutionalized for a variety of reasons. These reasons are very similar to those that bring American children into state foster care: poverty, drug use, alcoholism, domestic violence, family pressures and neglect.
The large numbers of children being placed from orphanages into families in the US has allowed us to see the negative impact of institutional care on infants and children. There is much substantiated research on the damage done to developing brains and personality by orphanage care, no mater how "good" that particularly place may be.
All children, whether in the American foster care system, or languishing in an orphanage abroad, deserve loving families. However, encouraging Americans to adopt abroad because their child will be problem free is a myth that needs responsible debunking.
About: Ellen Rardin is a veteran social worker, with over two decades of experience in adoption.
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