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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

'Anti-adoption drumbeat' leaves kids in foster care

Naomi Schaefer Riley hears an "anti-adoption drumbeat" from the media. "In the wake of the Dobbs decision, the Left wants to make sure that no one thinks adoption is preferable to abortion," she writes.

In fiscal 2021, 114,000 children in foster care were waiting for adoptive parents, according to federal data. Only 54,200 found a "forever family," a 6 percent drop from the previous year and an 18 percent decline from 2019.

White couples adopting non-white children are accused of a "savior" mentality in an Atlantic discussion between Nicole Chung, who was adopted from Korea, and Tony Hynes, a black adoptee raised by a white lesbian couple.

"Especially when people learn that my birth mother is schizophrenic, or that I was in an orphanage and experienced the foster-care system, they want to believe that my adoptive moms saved me," says Hynes, who now works with adult adoptees.


Chung responds: “Yeah, sometimes it’s hard for me not to hear the assertion that ‘more kids should be adopted’ as ‘more kids should experience the trauma of being separated from their families of origin.’”


Children are "removed from their homes because of chronic or severe abuse and neglect," usually before the age of three, writes Schaeffer Riley. It's not about seeing "families of color" as "less fit," as Hynes puts it, she argues.

Fewer children are coming into foster care, and those who are placed stay there longer, she writes. Despite federal law calling for states to end parental rights if a child has been in care for 15 of the past 22 months, the median time in foster care has crept up to 21 months.

If a parent cannot reunify with a child after the first year, the likelihood that he or she will ever be able to do so diminishes significantly. But while we move children back and forth from their biological family to a foster family, or between multiple foster families, we are preventing them from developing a secure attachment to caregivers, subjecting them to trauma beyond what they have already experienced from their families of origin, and making it harder for them to find adoptive homes.

"Almost 20,000 kids aged out of foster care last year without being reunified or finding an adoptive home," writes Schaefer Riley. Their prospects are bleak. "Acting earlier to make sure that children spend less time in foster care when they are younger could result in fewer of them exiting care without a family."

Federal adoption law discriminates against low-income mothers. argues Sarah Katz, a clinical law professor at Temple, in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The vast majority of children in foster care are there not because of allegations of physical or sexual abuse, but because of allegations of neglect," she writes. Often that means the family is poor.


Federal law, designed to ensure children are "not trapped in foster care forever," severs children's ties to their biological parents -- and the rest of their family. "Too often, they don’t gain a new adoptive family, so they are left with nothing."

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7 Comments


Guest
Nov 22, 2022

We adopted our daughter out of the foster care system; she was placed at age 6 after her father sexually abused her and she came to live with us (adoption isn't immediate, it takes about a year) just before she turned 13. Her extended family said they couldn't take her (though, of course, it would be more accurate to say wouldn't take her), so she spent 6 years in foster care.


I wish I could say we were able to persuade her to bind with us and take advantage of what we had to offer her, but she decided to go her own way (refused to live with us after turning 18, made an arrangement with a school friend to…

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lady_lessa
Nov 22, 2022
Replying to

How awful for the girl. I appreciate your openness and loving for her.


I can't blame her for not trusting easily, with an average of less than 6 months/placement.

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Guest
Nov 21, 2022

Poor does not equal neglectful.

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lady_lessa
Nov 21, 2022
Replying to

I agree that poor doesn't equal neglectful, but sometimes social workers are blind to the effects of poverty.


Think a mother allows her middle school child to walk to school along a dark road. Social worker: "You are not a good mother because you could just drive them to school on your way to work.

Mother, thinking to herself, so that she doesn't antagonize the SW. "How can I do that. I have to take the bus to work, and leave before my daughter has to leave for school."

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Guest
Nov 21, 2022

Years ago, when feminism was first becoming very popular, two members of NOW, on finding that I was adopted, declared that It would have been better had I been aborted. This was way back in the 70s. Abortion was their sacrament then as it is now.

I am 69 years old now, and I am so very thankful my birth mother chose life.

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Guest
Nov 20, 2022

Why not place them with relitives? Thats better than with total strangers.

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Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
Nov 20, 2022
Replying to

I worked in juvenile corrections when I was younger. If there were anyone with any viable relationship to the kids who wasn't already in the corrections system or in treatment for mental illness or rehab who was willing and capable to take on the responsibilities any judge would place the child there instead of the juvenile system in a hot minute. The problem is the need so far outpaces the supply it's impossible to help so many kids. What these kids need is stability - my brother and sister-in-law adopted 2 kids who had severe health issues from infant malnutrition but now they're regular American slacky teens - ones in college and one works for Amazon - but think …

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