Friday, December 22, 2006

Adoptive parents share their insights

Foreign adoption is personal, worthy choice
Daman, Roger. Lexington Herald-Leader, Nov. 20, 2006, pg. A12.

As the mother of a daughter adopted from a foreign country, I feel compelled to respond to the statement that there "seems to be a certain cachet among the elite that adopting a child from exotic parts of the world is cooler than giving a home to a child in Tomahawk, Ky. or Crum W. Va., or for that matter New York City."

Most internationally adopted children in the United States are not just adopted by celebrities but by people of very modest means. Please rest assured that there is nothing "exotic" about the countries or orphanages where these children live. There is nothing "cool" about traveling halfway around the world, enduring weeks of hard travel, expenses and paperwork to adopt a child.

The author seemed to cast judgment on the decision parents make to adopt internationally versus domestically. These decisions are highly personal, and many parents do not view them as decisions, but as a calling.

As a social worker, I certainly agree with Stephen Dye regarding the number of children in the United States who are in need of permanent homes.

And I applaud his efforts as the director of a foster-care agency to continue to find safe, secure homes for these children. I admire anyone willing to adopt or foster any child, domestic or foreign-born. This is a lifetime commitment, and I doubt anyone does it because it is a "cool" thing to do.


As an adoptive parent of a child from a foreign country, this article was offensive, intrusive and degrading to all who have adopted internationally. The article makes it sound like these celebrities could have traveled around this country, adopted from any area they wanted to, choosing any child they wish.

We chose to adopt after our attempts to conceive led to several miscarriages. Much of our decision to adopt internationally had to do with the fear of losing another child. We couldn't bear the thought of attaching to a child only to have a flawed court system possibly tear that child away from our family.

I admire people who choose to adopt domestically. I have close friends who have chosen this route with awesome results. But I don't think people should demean celebrities, or anyone else for that matter, for choosing to adopt internationally, which is a family decision and not a decision open to public opinion.

With foster children found in cages or lost by the system, with courts viewing biological parents as the only true parents of a child, with long waiting periods with no timetable given to prospective adoptive parents, and with the difficulties of adopting from a different states, I suggest the writer mind his own business or focus on these issues.

-ROGER DAMAN, Lexington, KY

At issue: Nov. 6 commentary by Stephen L. Dye, "Stars don't need to go overseas to adopt"


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