Lately, I’ve been interested in the future of adoption and what can be done to fix the existing system. However, I hadn’t thought much about the history of adoption until I came across this site from the University of Oregon. The site offers an interactive history of adoption in the United States beginning in the 1800s. And, as anyone who’s ever taken a history class knows: we can’t understand where we are today, or where we’re going, without understanding the past. If you’re interested in the history of U.S. adoption, visit “The Adoption History Project.”
It’s National Adoption Month again. In honor of this “event,” I’m starting a new series called “The Future of Adoption.” In this series, I’d like to explore what adoption can and should look like in the future. I’ll also make suggestions on how we can get there. I’m not a social work, law-maker, or adult adoptee, so I certainly can’t claim to be an expert on the topic. So, if you are an expert, please feel free to kindly correct my misconceptions. And, even if you’re not an expert, I still want to hear your thoughts.
If you’re a regular reader, you may be sick of me talking about Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control by Heather Forbes and Bryan Post. One of the book’s foundations is that there are only two primary emotions: love and fear. I’d like to build on this idea for “The Future of Adoption” and use it to explain what could be changed in a very broad sense. In future posts, I’ll talk more about specific changes.
What if, in the future, those involved in adoption did not make their choices based on fear?
1. What if pregnant women did not choose adoption based on their fear of being rejected or being an inadequate mother?
2. What if adoptive parents weren’t afraid of their children’s first family?
3. What if adoptive parents and their friends and family (and society as a whole) were not afraid of those who are different? (older children, children of other races, same-sex couples).
4. What if families could stay together because the parents did not make unwise choices based on fear?
I think many people believe about adoption as others believe about abortion: both should be legal, but rare. If we addressed these fears, could we make adoption less common? Could we keep families together? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll be posting more specific ideas and action items at a later time.