Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Competition for Children

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, thinking about a third child. I decided on Foster Care and I still feel good about that so far. I feel like there is another child our there for's just a matter of finding him or her.

But even in foster care there is competition. These children are placed in your home expressly because there is not a parent or family member to properly care for them. It seems crazy to me that it is so cutthroat. The truth is, the younger, the healthier and the whiter a child is, the more they are in demand. Fees are high and the competition is fierce for a healthy caucasian newborn. Frankly, ranking high in any one of this seemingly "golden triad" is going to cost you. Only the creme de la creme of adoptive parents are going to even get a shot.

That's not a pretty statement. I recoil as I type it, but in my opinion, it happens to be true. I'm caucasian and have mostly caucasian children. Most people would think I went to Russia because that was important to me. Truth be told, Russia was not my first choice, but my third and I went there because I'm single and they said yes.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit the fact my children and I look alike didn't make our lives easier. My children and I are very proud they are adopted and proud of their Russian heritage. But I have to admit that sometimes you want your life to just be your life. Sometimes you just want to get groceries without some nice Grandma lady asking you if you know who their "real" mother is.

Theres a lot of people who have a lot to say about cross-cultural adoption and I admit I can see all sides of the arguement. I have never cared about the race of my children. They could have been pink and purple polka dot for all I cared. BUT there's more than just what I want, to consider. My children were given up at birth, lived in an orphanage before moving half way around the world to be raised by a single mother. Would it have been fair to me to throw the race card in there as well? I don't know.

While race and gender are still non-issues to me, what is important to me this time around, is their age. Most parents want younger children and I understand. I do too. But of course in my head my reasons are better. I'm more justified. Just as, I'm sure, every other prospective parent feels like their reasons are more important.

Being a single mom, I feel it is only fair to the children I have and the child I may add to our family keep within some parameters. As much as I wish there weren't any. I wish I could parent any child--every child, but I know that's not possible as much as I'd like to. One of the hardest parts of being a parent, I have learned, is to know your limitations.

At this point in my life, I think any new child should be a young as possible. I don't want to upset the birth order of my kids and at 4 and 7, they're still young. They are still too vulnerable to a child who's tragically been forced to grow up too quickly.

My Case Worker literally rolled her eyes when I answered the question of age. I don't care about gender, race, religion etc. etc. I'm willing to consider many special needs and medical conditions. But I really don't feel like I can budge on age. I realize she probably hears a lot of that.

Many parents want infants and toddlers and I found myself apologizing for my choices. But I don't think I should have to. I know what's right for my family. I will stick to my guns on that because it's important. My first and foremost responsibility is to the children I have already promised to care for.

I fear in the end the placement of a child in this family will come down to a fight and I dread it. I still don't know if I'll go a few rounds or walk away. It's not that I wouldn't fight to the ends of the earth for my kids, I just wish there was a system where I didn't have to. Maybe it's naive to think we could all work together and make this world a better place for children, but I can still pray for it. As my Dad used to say, I always want "sunshine and roses on rainy day." But why not? Don't we parents who long for children deserve that? Moreover, don't the CHILDREN deserve it?

I know I don't get out much and the only movies I've seen in years in an actual theatre have been rated G. But I love movies made for children. My favorite quote lately is from Katie, in Horton Hears a Who.

Katie says: "In my world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies."

That sounds good to me too.

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