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Why children from our country aren't being adopted
Scripps Howard News Service


January 04, 2006

For the past several years I've seen many acquaintances and friends adopting children from overseas. At first children were adopted from Europe, then the Baltic States, and now Asia and Africa.

What's wrong with babies born here in the United States of America? Why are people opting to go to other countries to adopt their children?

The Administration for Children and Families estimates there are 132,000 children in foster care in the U.S. waiting to be adopted, as of 2004. And the number is growing. Most of them will never find loving parents. Yet the number of children being adopted from overseas keeps swelling.

I found this fact difficult to understand, so I turned to a friend of mine who has adopted 10 children from foreign countries. I asked why he had to go to Africa, India and Asia - such a long way to find a child when we have so many here waiting for someone to adopt them.

His answer was shockingly honest and opened my eyes to the terrible situation we have here in our country with our unwanted children.

"All my kids," he wrote me, "came from orphanages (a dirty word in the U.S.) and yet, none of them were 'drug babies.' All of them were born to parents who loved and attempted to care for them. Each was placed in the orphanage by a loving mother who hoped and prayed that someone would adopt them and give them a better life."

(As I read my friend's words I thought if all those thousands of individuals who are so against abortion adopted at least one unwanted child into their homes to love and nurture, all our unwanted child problems would be solved.)

"Many of the kids that are available for adoption in the U.S.," he continued, "are throwaway kids, at least in the eyes of the parents. Teen pregnancy babies, or kids that were born to mothers who didn't take care of themselves. Cocaine babies, fetal alcohol syndrome, kids that are available because the state decided the parents were too disinterested in their children's basic needs."

He went on to say, "the level of care that children get in foreign countries is typically much better, sad as that sounds. The orphanages struggle to give them basic necessities, but they get love and attention. Also, the foster-care program (in the U.S.) is so concerned with giving parents multiple chances that it often takes years for a child to be available for adoption. By that time, the kid has often been in and out of foster care multiple times and lived in a home environment so awful that the state dictated the parents no longer are allowed to have custody. These children are broken. It's a tragic thing that we do to many foster kids."

My friend writes the truth. For years while I worked in social services, we tried to protect the child by limiting the amount of time children could be dumped on the state by their parents without legally cutting their parental ties. We wanted to free up the children for adoption while there was still a chance for them to have a healthier and happy life.

Our emphasis on the biological parent as the best parent becomes ridiculous when you see a crack baby or a 1-year-old child who has been tossed like a football against the walls of his parent's home because they don't want to care for him.

There's nothing easier than making a baby. Yet, there's nothing so demanding and wonderful as being a loving and good parent.

If there were a law that was fair to the unborn it would be one that made certain its parents were truly able and ready to become parents. If that ever happened, all children would be born blessed, as they should be, with a good future.


Contact Barbara Bova of the Naples Daily News
in Florida at

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