Friday, September 19, 2008

For a Wee Bit Of Controversy

But you are used to that now aren't you?

Okay so a fellow blogger has posted about a conversation with a friend in which the friend states that singles shouldn't be allowed to adopt because a two parent family is best. And you know what? I agree. So let me preface this post first.

First of all, any family is better than an orphanage which has no stability period. Even if the orphanage is in the same birth culture as the child, a forever family outside of the child's culture is better than an orphanage. I know lots of adult Korean adoptees would disagree with this statement because they feel they were ripped away from their culture. But that is the point isn't it? They were ripped away and placed where they could then grow up and complain about being ripped away verses those children who continued to grow up in the orphanages to adulthood with no formal forever family, never belonging to anything but the culture.

Plus, there is mistreatment in orphanages. That is not to say that children are necessarily mistreated on purpose, but due to logistics of number of babies to caregivers, there will be neglect. Sometimes there is mistreatment on purpose, and we all hope and pray that was not the case in our own child's orphanage. We all adopt claiming that our child’s orphanage really loved each child and our child was so well cared for because we couldn’t be there and have some sort of misplaced guilt (that is another post).

Second, the two parent family instituted by God is for the best interest of children. It takes both the male and female to give a balanced perspective of God to a child's life. The male gives, among other things, adventure and challenge to help the child grow and take chances; where the female gives, among other things, the nurturing, emotional side to help a child grow into a compassionate adult who cares for others.

Third, single parent adoption is not wrong and is not forbidden even in the Bible. Case in point, Pharoah's daughter adopted Moses (transracial/ethinic adoption) and raised him as her son in line with the throne of Egypt (despite what the cartoon movie indicated) before he returned to his Jewish roots. But even then she found (God provided) Moses' bio mom to nurse him and nurture him for the first 3 years of his life before living full time with the royal family.

Then there is Esther who was raised by her uncle, no mention of his wife, could be assumed he was married but maybe not. Esther became a queen and saved her nation from destruction.

Also, Ruth gave her first born son to her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, to raise as her own son (familial adoption, cutom/culture) to save her deceased husband’s family’s name in Israel as was custom, and Naomi was relatively old by then. That son became King David's grandfather. Ruth was semi (not formally) adopted by Naomi when Ruth's husband died and Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem.

There are also plenty of single parents listed in both the old and new testaments, two of which are Ishmael's mom (old testament), Timothy's mom (new testament).

So there is not a command against single parents adopting or against being a single parent if the spouse leaves or dies. Now there are direct commands against sex outside of marriage and against sex within the same gender. Both are condemned equally, not one more than the other, but equally condemned.

Based on that explicit command, the conclusion would be to forbid adoption to same sex couples (acting within the relationship), as well as those singles who are living together without the benefit of marriage. Now, if a single person, who chooses to identify herself as a homosexual, wishes to remain celibate, then adoption could be a legitimate option. Same would go for a single person, who identifies herself as a heterosexual, adoption would be an option as long as she remains celibate. It is behaviors that are forbidden or condemned not people.

So now having said all that, I am a single adoptive parent and would do it again if I could. And I would also say it is hard without support systems in place, PERIOD. I agree with the stance China took regarding the two parent family. I wish it didn't have to be. I wish stable couples in China would step up giving the children a forever family within their own culture.

I support singles who adopt. I encourage it in most cases. I also encourage making sure your support systems are in place. I am an adoption advocate because there are too many children who haven’t forever families.

I am sure everyone by now has heard of the single mom who lost her mind and tried to kill her two Chinese adopted children and then herself? She had recently lost a high paying job after doing an extensive (costly) addition to her house. She had gone from job to job, nothing steady apparently due to her age (older single). She had lost both her mom and sister to death, and then her house was going into foreclosure. That seemed to be the last straw. She lost it. She lost reasoning and her ability to see beyond the difficulties. She had no one to reach out to.

Does that happen in two parent families? Yes, one family I remember, the husband killed everyone and then wrecked his car to kill himself. All of the kids were Korean adoptees. He was about to be caught embezzling money from the bank where he worked. He was committing an illegal act. I think there is a huge difference. That difference being that he acted illegally which brought outside pressures into him and his family, he couldn’t ask for help. She on the other hand acted legally, reaching out even to others for help, but received no help or not the help she needed, so her pressures became insurmountable.

I also know of two SAHM's recently returned from China, one killed her baby (Nashville area) and the other either killed her or crippled her from smacking the babies' heads on something out of stress? Pressure? No support system? Depression? Who knows? But the point is as a married person there are alternatives, in-laws, spousal support, within the relationship that could help if asked.

I also realize bio parents mistreat and kill their children too. I am not immune to that. But single adoptive moms have a two-fold issue. First, we chose this route. So we feel an extra sense of needing to prove we can do this alone. I mean this adoption wasn't by accident. No one caused us through an unprotected pen work to complete all that paperwork, submit to humiliating SW visits and get our I-600. So we in a sense have a pressure from inside ourselves to prove that we are capable of handling all the obstacles most parents face and we must do it alone.

Second, most singles are not independently wealthy nor are there many perfect work from home job situations. So by default, single parents must work outside the home. We must leave our children in the care of another person or people for longer than we actually see them awake during the day.

Even if we have relatives caring for our children, we still are not the primary caregiver as that is based on the child’s awake hours. The primary caregiver is the one responsible for care during the majority of the child’s awake time during a week. Guess what? Working parents aren’t it!!

Therefore, single parents by definition of being single, aren’t the primary caregiver, can’t be.
Married couples generally speaking could make the frugal money management sacrifices to allow one partner the benefit of staying home. Are there married couples who must work? Sure, but most married couples are choosing lifestyles that if changed slightly would afford them the luxury of the stay at home privilege. Single parents do not have that option, to eat, we must work.

So if we strictly look at the benefit or rather look at what is in “the best interest” of the child, and not what we as adults want (to be parents), then a single parent is not the best. However, as long as children are left in orphanages to grow up or left in a foster care systems that remain broken, and married couples do not step in to adopt, single people should be given the option to adopt. And I think when looking at the issue of single parent adoption we need to remember it isn’t a matter of what is right or wrong morally speaking, it is a matter of what is in the best interest of the child, a two parent (male and female) home is best.

Just to clarify so there is NO misunderstanding: I am also not saying that because of one single parent situation going badly all single parent adoptions should be banned, because again it is not wrong to be a single adoptive parent.


Johnny said...

Great post!

Vivian M said...

I think a loving home is better than an orphanage, period!
I commend you for speaking your mind and being true to your beliefs. And I am very glad Glenys is home with you and not in an orphanage in China.

lisa said...

Though my reasoning is different, and I am not a Christian-I agree with most of your conclusions. Decisionmaking is usually stronger with two, and we all need built in support.

I'll try to do my post soon. ~lmc

Kay Bratt said...

Very interesting post, Beverly. It is also sad, as it is these few tragedies with adoptive children that media report back to the country of adoption and then the people there think the abuse or neglect is rampant.

I recently answered a question from a young Chinese woman that went something like, "how do you know that an adoptive family for *Susie will treat her well and not abuse her?" She had heard snippets of news stories of the kind you speak and felt that most adopted children from China were in danger.

I was once a single parent, (not adoption) and I can vouch for the utter exhaustion and feelings of loneliness that is so common with that kind of life. I also felt quite guilty that my little girl was spending the majority of her waking hours with someone other than the one that loved her the most, her mother. I left that life behind many years ago, but I have a special place in my heart for single mothers and all that they must survive on a daily basis. Sometimes it is by choice they are single, but many times it is just life's circumstances and the fate they were dealt.

All of that being said, I agree with you that a 2-parent home is much better for a child. Those that are single and want to adopt should be an exceptionally successful and dependent individual who has proved that they are strong enough to excel at parenthood alone.