Adoption Link Up 3: Adoption Ethics

The topic for this Adoption Talk Link Up is adoption ethics, a topic that I, as an adoptive parent, take very seriously. When I was considering adoption before bringing home Little Man and Baby B one of the most important parts of the process was making sure my agency was ethical.

So what exactly is an 'ethical' adoption agency? 

For me, that meant that there was evidence the agency was doing everything in the power to keep children with their birth families, if at all possible. This could involve anything from help with finding employment, to providing supplemental food while the families are getting back on their feet, to providing access to schooling, community gardens, and wells for clean water.

Helping the families and community rather than just taking their future (the children) away from the them.

It also meant that safeguards were in place to ensure that the children being placed were truly in need of a home, that they were not being stolen and/or that the parents were not being forced or coerced into letting their children go to another family, with false promises of being reunified one day.

On one occasion, during my adoption from Haiti, I was able to see the director of the agency have a conversation with a young birth mother. The mother was wanting to place her baby in the creche but the director was adamant that what she needed was to first find a job, so that she could provide for her child (support was provided from the agency for her to make steps towards this goal.) Sadly, relinquishment happens when a loving birth families who lack the resources to provide for their children's most basic needs-food, clean water, medical care, or shelter.

During my adoption journey, I worked with three different agencies. Two were very ethical, and have in place programs like the ones I mentioned. One agency I left (several thousands of dollars into an adoption) because red flags started popping up. I didn't feel comfortable that they weren't using coercion to find children to place with their adoptive families, so I walked away.

So how does a person find an ethical agency?

1. Talk to anyone you know who has adopted. Ask them what their experience was like and if they would recommend their agency to others.

2. Search the internet. RESEARCH A TON. Make a list of agencies that have in place safe guards to maintain high ethical standards, and providing support for the birth families.

2. Interview agencies. Make a list of your questions. Call and ask to speak with the director of the program you are interested in. Do a gut check. Any red flags yet?

3. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints with the agencies you are looking at.

4. Take your narrowed down list, call back those agencies, and ask for references...families that have adopted through them. Most adoptive families are very open to talking about their experiences.

By going through these steps, you will, hopefully, have narrowed it down to one or two agencies. Take your time and don't rush this part of the process. You want to find an agency that not only is a good fit for you but, perhaps even more importantly, respects, honors, and supports the birth families as the struggle to make the best choice for their child.

Don't forget to check out the other blogs in the link up (here's one to check out) and leave a comment.


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Adoption Link Up 2: Strong Willed Children

For the second Adoption Talk Link Up the topic is "Anything Goes," so I decided to do a re-post of one of my most read posts, Parenting a Strong Willed Child. 

I was what people call a 'strong willed' child. I knew what was expected of me and would behave appropriately in public (most of the time). At home however, it was a different story.

My poor parents. I know that many of their gray hairs have my name on them. They told me when I was out of college that they seriously wondered if I would survive to adulthood (yep, that bad).

The ironic part of all of this is that I am now raising not one, but two strong-willed children. Each one has their own strong-willed tendencies. This doesn't mean that they are bad children. They have definite leadership potential. They are loving, sensitive, creative kids. Thankfully, the battles they each pick aren't the same ones. Usually, they aren't at the same time either.

The funny thing is, at the end of a day full of battles, my kids aren't the problem...I am.

Being a former strong willed child, part of me wants to pull on the gloves when I sense conflict. I think the word that my mom used to use for it was being 'ornery' or 'contrary'.  You say yes? Well then, my answer must be 'no'. Try to back me into a corner decision wise...I'll come out fighting.

I know, it makes no rational sense and is completely juvenile. In most adult situations, I can mentally talk myself down from this mindset. With my kids however, I have the added piece of 'Hey, I'm the grown-up here. Just obey me now, okay?' My kids know exactly which buttons to push to get me going. The last thing they need is a mom who is playing a headbutting game of wills over ridiculous things, just for the sake of having my own way.

So, what's a parent to do?

I've narrowed it down to eight things for myself.

1. Admit that I have a oppositional streak. Ask myself "Is it really the kids picking the battle, or am I just in a 'mood.'"

2. Take a break. Don't discipline until I can do so calmly and rationally.

3. Look back to look forward. I was a strong-willed child and I turned out okay. I just need to work the rest of my strong willed 'kinks' out. What did my parents do to help me turn into a successful adult.

4. Make a research project out of it. I've been trying to figure out what things are triggers for me, and what my children's triggers are.  If it helps to avoid conflict in the long run, it's worth it.

5. Laugh a little. Talking to other formerly strong willed children (and parents) helps a ton. Not only does it help me to be able to laugh a little at my struggles, but suddenly I no longer feel so alone in this journey. Plus, most of us have at least one strong willed child so we have a lot a stories to share.

6. Take care of myself. The better I eat, the more I sleep, and the more I move the better I parent. Remember how crabby you would be the day after Halloween as a kid when you were coming down from your sugar rush and had gotten to bed too late? Enough said.

7. Admit defeat. Sometimes I will be wrong. I will make the wrong decision. I will jump to the wrong conclusion and I need to tell my kids those two words, "I'm sorry." It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength and it's something that my children need to see me model.

8. Pray for wisdom and discernment. God will point out to my flaws and weaknesses if I ask him. I might not always like what I discover but it's worth it.

Becoming a parent didn't mean that I automatically had all of the answers. Boy, was that disappointing to discover! But, being a parent does mean I need to be the best that I can be so that I can help my children become their best. To do that I need to take care of my strong willed tendencies, so that they don't raise their ugly head during the sometimes stressful journey of raising two amazing human beings.

I think I am up for the challenge. Remember...I'm kind of strong willed. ☺

Now, don't forget to check out the other blogs in the link up (here's one to check out) and leave a comment.


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