Author Topic: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?  (Read 1275 times)

waltworks

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Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« on: August 12, 2017, 01:43:16 PM »
My wife and I have 2 kids (3 and 5) but have decided not to have more for a variety of reasons (primarily that she has some health issues that were really exacerbated by the last pregnancy and we'd rather not risk more problems). But we also really enjoy kids and have more than enough resources (and time, I work 1/2 time from home and she's a SAHM) to take care of 1 or two more. We have a stupid huge house filled with cardboard forts and toys and bikes. Plus there are a lot of kids in the world who live in terrible circumstances and could have a great life as part of our family.

But the adoption system(s) are intimidating for a couple of reasons. We hear horror stories all the time about people spending *years* trying to adopt a child (we'd only be interested in kids our own kids age or younger, probably) without being able to, people being disqualified because they were missing an outlet plug in their sub-basement, etc. The whole adoption agency system seems a bit sordid and scam-like. Then there's the question of domestic (we're in the US) or international adoptions, worries about health problems for kids with the US healthcare system seemingly always in crisis, etc.

I know there is lots of other information out there about adoption but I was hoping to hear from folks in this community (you guys are the best/smartest part of the internet, in my experience) who have had experiences with adoption both good and bad, along with any tips on what questions we should be asking and how navigating the various systems works.

-W


gaja

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 02:20:14 PM »
How does your foster care system work? In my country it is possible to adopt foster kids if the parents don't get their act together. Often, the foster care workers have an inkling about the chance for rehabilitation, and will take this into consideration when they match you with a kid. We didn't want to adopt, and were matched with teenagers who just needed a few years in a stable home before moving out on their own. A friend of mine got a sweet little four-year-old with a mother who was aware that she was incapable of  caring  of her. The process took several years before it went through, but they got to take care of the kid all those years. Sometimes the parents do step up, and the kid moves back home. For a lot of people, that hurts too much, and they shouldn't be foster parents. But if you are able to focus on the kid, it can be a great comfort to have given them some time off from a bad situation.
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waltworks

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 02:33:51 PM »
The state we live in (UT) is sort of weird for foster care, because 95% of the foster situations are handled through the LDS church (we are not religious/members). I think that it is rare for foster kids to go out of state (though I guess I don't know?) so I would *guess* that's not a strong possibility, but I definitely need to do more research.

For the sake of the existing family dynamic (and because we have clothes/gear of appropriate size already) I think we'd probably only want kids the same age or younger than our oldest (5). That might make it hard, though.

-W

ixtap

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 02:40:43 PM »
The state we live in (UT) is sort of weird for foster care, because 95% of the foster situations are handled through the LDS church (we are not religious/members). I think that it is rare for foster kids to go out of state (though I guess I don't know?) so I would *guess* that's not a strong possibility, but I definitely need to do more research.

For the sake of the existing family dynamic (and because we have clothes/gear of appropriate size already) I think we'd probably only want kids the same age or younger than our oldest (5). That might make it hard, though.

-W

That's silly. Why couldn't you get bigger clothes for an older kid and pass them on from there as the younger ones grow? Why does it matter which kid is oldest?

waltworks

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 02:55:10 PM »
The state we live in (UT) is sort of weird for foster care, because 95% of the foster situations are handled through the LDS church (we are not religious/members). I think that it is rare for foster kids to go out of state (though I guess I don't know?) so I would *guess* that's not a strong possibility, but I definitely need to do more research.

For the sake of the existing family dynamic (and because we have clothes/gear of appropriate size already) I think we'd probably only want kids the same age or younger than our oldest (5). That might make it hard, though.

-W

That's silly. Why couldn't you get bigger clothes for an older kid and pass them on from there as the younger ones grow? Why does it matter which kid is oldest?

You might be right, and this is one of the reasons I am asking for folks to share their experiences. Did you adopt an older child (older than your existing ones)? If so, how did it work out?

I guess I hesitate mostly because I feel like I know how to deal with kindergarten and younger. I have very little/no experience with older kids (at least since I was one myself). So I'm apprehensive about how we would handle that. Maybe my concern is misplaced.

-W

slappy

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 03:07:10 PM »
I have friends that are attempting to adopt through foster care right now. It's great in the sense that you can kind ask for a certain age range, but it's a very emotional process. The bio parents have 12 months to clean up their act and have the child returned. If that doesn't happen, there is a hearing to terminate parental rights and a lot of times the parents appeal. So you could actually have the kid for years before the adoption is official. Also, you have to deal with the constant worry that the kid could be returned at any time. As another poster said, the social worker generally has a good idea of what the outcome will be, but that doesn't really ease the foster parents minds, because they get so attached to the kids. Also there is the concern that your children will get attached to the foster kids and then they will be returned home. I know a foster parent that took a break from fostering when his kids were young because they started to get really upset when the kids were returned home. He knew and expected the kids to go home. He wasn't looking to adopt, but it was hard on his kids.

I'm sure someone will come along with a list of great reasons to adopt from foster care, as there are many. I just figured I'd give my two cents based on my experiences. I believe there is financial assistance as well, which may not be important to you. I know foster parents get paid a small amount to help cover expenses, but from what I understand it's nowhere near enough. Again, it doesn't sound like that is super important to you, just figured I'd mention it in case you didn't know.

waltworks

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 03:09:03 PM »
Yes, unless we were fostering/adopting a child that had some sort of crazy expensive special needs, finances are basically irrelevant here. We can easily afford to care for kids, with or without any sort of support from the state.

-W

Pigeon

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 03:23:20 PM »
We have two children who are now late teens who we adopted internationally.  My kids were each about a year old when we adopted them.  Best thing we've ever done.

Find some local adoption support groups, non-LDS, if you can, and start attending events.  The way the foster care system works can vary hugely by state and even by county where I live.  Things also change a great deal over time.  We have been active in a couple of adoption support groups and know many families who have adopted.

I think the fear of being turned down by the homestudy provider is way overblown.  If you lacked the proverbial outlet in the basement, you would not fail the homestudy, you would be asked to fix the problem.  They aren't looking for palatial accommodations, they are looking for safe, loving, supportive families.  All the red tape is annoying as can be, but it is there to protect the kids.  You have to understand that they aren't looking to find kids for families, they are looking to find families for kids.

Adoption through the foster care system will be much cheaper, and it can be a wonderful route for many people.  Like any major decision, you need to walk into it with your eyes open.  Most of the available kids are older and/or part of sibling groups.  Most of the kids have had to deal with a variety of very difficult family situations and most of the kids will have some level of physical, emotional, psychological and behavioral issues.  Many of the issues will resolve with therapy, stability and good parenting, but you have to be willing to put in a lot of work if it's required.

Most of the kids in the foster system are non-white.  This is an issue if you are of a different race.  It really is, and it has to be acknowledged.  You will need to make an effort to raise kids who are comfortable with their cultural heritage and there will probably be social adjustments for your whole family.

Most people who want to adopt want healthy white infants.  That usually means private adoption and it is expensive and can be emotionally draining.  Pregnant women change their minds and decide to parent.  It will also be largely controlled by the LDS church depending on where you are, so you may need to locate potential birthmothers who are out of state.

International adoption will be expensive and complicated and lengthy.  Each country with a program sets it's own rules.  You will probably want to contact agencies with programs in multiple countries and see which ones you qualify for.  The sending countries can have rules about income, home size, number of siblings already in the home, parental health and weight, religion, age, etc.  Programs and rules change all the time, so you will need current information.

Good luck!


Bracken_Joy

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 03:31:08 PM »
Posting to follow. I wonder about this for myself as well.

Warning: rambling thoughts paragraph.
I think I have a deeply skewed view with what I do for work (nurse for medically fragile children, have had my notes audited as part of a child being removed from the home, etc) and because of my family (lots of drug problems, kids in and out of foster care, grew up with foster siblings both official and unofficial). So I have a ton of fears and biases about adoption. It seems to me like you either work with a pregnant woman who intends to give up the child, and then around 36 weeks she changes her mind and keeps the baby... or the states that allow her to change her mind weeks after you have taken the child in... So you're on an emotional rollercoaster there. Otherwise, domestic adoption which is so often through foster, and has a ton of concerns there (Oregon's foster in particular has some major issues, the system itself is being sued and also we have tons of meth out here, so that doesn't help), and especially with babies lots of neonatal withdrawl concerns there; or an international adoption where you have to worry about exploitation of families (ie, children aren't actually willing surrenders, it's an economic duress type situation where the company offers to pay the parents for the children, and the money is too good to pass up- or the orphanages where there are such developmental concerns).

The question I may need to answer, eventually, is: is the cost and emotional turmoil and challenges worth it to have a child, if I cannot in any other way?

And I just don't know the answer to that yet.
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waltworks

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 04:06:32 PM »
We don't need an infant, and we don't need a white kid. But your point about dealing with a kid of a different race is well taken. I like to think it doesn't matter, but I know that it would require some adjustment on both our part and the kids. Our community is pretty much 100% white/wealthy (very wealthy, it's Park City).

There are a few parents in the area who have adopted (I think?) Kenyan children internationally. I should ask them how that process went and how they adjusted.

-W

Pigeon

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2017, 04:25:15 PM »
It absolutely matters and living in a very white area is definitely an extremely negative thing for a child being adopted transracially, especially if your family isn't diverse.

Your child will need people of color in their lives and you will need to figure out how to make that happen.  Many families move to more diverse neighborhoods.  It's that important.  Your kid will need that in order to figure out how to be comfortable in their own skin.  It's really easy to underestimate this when you are in the early stages.  Having mostly grown kids, I can tell you that's a big mistake.

My kids are Chinese.  We are white.   We have some diversity in the family and live in an area with some diversity, a pretty high percentage of Chinese people and the schools are reasonably diverse.  We've got Chinese friends and belong to the Chinese Community Center.

Still, there are times when I think we might have done more.  My BIL lives in a very white area and we can tell the difference the minute we visit.  You get stared at in the grocery store.  People do a double take in restaurants.  It's very uncomfortable.  Kids pick up on this immediately.

SwordGuy

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2017, 04:45:56 PM »
Thanks for considering adoption.   Yeah, you!

As for MMM perspectives, I would say it fits under "spend your money on things that bring you true joy."    Sounds like you're planning on doing just that. 

We need to start lobbying to make adopting children in this country a very easy and inexpensive process, instead of the jackassery of a process it is now.

Step 0) Parents giving up their kids for adoption can specify all kinds of limitations on what kind of people can adopt their soon-to-be-ex-child.  They can specify race, gender, sexual preference, religion, hell, even whether the prospective parents like ponies.  As soon as they leave the social worker's office said restrictions will be tossed in the trash where they deserve to be, and the kids will be free to be adopted by any citizen.

This would be a fast-track process.  Those who don't qualify for it would have to keep trying the old-fashioned way.

Step 1) Run a basic financial check on the prospective parents.  Can they afford to feed, clothe and house the kids.  Not to consumer sucka levels, just basic healthy levels.  This is fast and easy to do.   Provides basic proof the family can probably handle the expense of a child.

Step 2) Run a criminal check on the prospective parents and those they would be living with or are in the parent's immediate family (i.e., their siblings and their parents).   If the prospective parents are pretty clean and they aren't part of a family with strong criminal tendencies (as evidenced by criminal arrest warrants or convictions), they're good.  This is also pretty fast and inexpensive.  This weeds out folks who are highly likely to be unsuitable.

Step 3) Require the prospective parents to find 5 adults who have known them for at least 3 years and who are willing to swear on oath that they believe the prospective parents would do a good job.   Those 5 adults would be on the hook for a $1000 fine if the prospective parents don't do a good job and cannot be employees, felons or relatives closer than 2nd cousins.   Why do it this way?  Because it means that other folks think well enough of them to take that risk.  If no one will back them it probably means that they lack the social skills to make friends or actually are untrustworthy with the kids, either of which means they would probably be horrible parents.

Step 4) The kid has absolute right of refusal.  They can not be overridden.  Obviously, a really young infant can't say that one way or the other.  Seriously, if a kid is creeped out by the prospective parents it's probably a bad idea to proceed.

Step 5) The social worker has right of refusal.   Not based on "the rules", but based on gut-feelings.  No set of rules can replace a caring and attentive person overseeing the process.   Care should be taken to record religious and ethnic data of the parties involved to provide statistical evidence of bias on the part of the social worker.

Step 6) If the social worker refuses, the prospective parents can appeal to a supervisor.  The supervisor can also refuse based on a gut feel.  Ditto on keeping stats and reviewing them. 

Step 7) If the supervisor refuses, the prospective parents can appeal to a half-jury of fellow citizens.   If the half-jury refuses, the prospective parents have been deemed unsuitable as parents and that ends the process.  Period.

The entire process could be done in one to six months assuming the prospective parents aren't refused.  The biggest variable would be how much time it took for the prospective parents and the kid(s) to bond.   A lawyer wouldn't need to be involved unless the prospective parents were turned down.   

Anyway, that's my current thinking on a desirable process based on getting kids adopted in a fast, equitable manner that provides reasonable safeguards.

It's one thing I intend to lobby for once I quit my day job.

babysnowbyrd

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 07:30:57 PM »
The state we live in (UT) is sort of weird for foster care, because 95% of the foster situations are handled through the LDS church (we are not religious/members). I think that it is rare for foster kids to go out of state (though I guess I don't know?) so I would *guess* that's not a strong possibility, but I definitely need to do more research.

What?!  Umm...no. Foster program is a state-run non-profit contracted through Utah's Division of Child and Family Services.

Google is your friend. I found this there: https://utahfostercare.org/

There's even a KSL article just from last month about about increasing numbers of children being placed into the system resulting in a Foster Parent Shortage: https://www.ksl.com/?sid=44990217.  There's a lot of good you can do here if you're interested. EDIT: Especially if you can take on siblings so they don't have to be separated or possibly get adopted into different families, or have one kid get adopted into a loving home but the other one bounces around.... etc

"I can't foster because I'm not Mormon" is the silliest thing I've heard all day.

Also, someone said something about taking kids out of state? My understanding is that this is a huge no-no. You can't get Foster kids from different states, and from some families I know who've fostered kids (various states) they couldn't take the kids on vacations or trips across state lines until they were officially adopted.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 07:35:33 PM by babysnowbyrd »

Pigeon

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 07:55:32 PM »
The state we live in (UT) is sort of weird for foster care, because 95% of the foster situations are handled through the LDS church (we are not religious/members). I think that it is rare for foster kids to go out of state (though I guess I don't know?) so I would *guess* that's not a strong possibility, but I definitely need to do more research.

What?!  Umm...no. Foster program is a state-run non-profit contracted through Utah's Division of Child and Family Services.

Google is your friend. I found this there: https://utahfostercare.org/

There's even a KSL article just from last month about about increasing numbers of children being placed into the system resulting in a Foster Parent Shortage: https://www.ksl.com/?sid=44990217.  There's a lot of good you can do here if you're interested. EDIT: Especially if you can take on siblings so they don't have to be separated or possibly get adopted into different families, or have one kid get adopted into a loving home but the other one bounces around.... etc

"I can't foster because I'm not Mormon" is the silliest thing I've heard all day.

Also, someone said something about taking kids out of state? My understanding is that this is a huge no-no. You can't get Foster kids from different states, and from some families I know who've fostered kids (various states) they couldn't take the kids on vacations or trips across state lines until they were officially adopted.

You can adopt children from the foster care system who are legally free from adoption from other states.  https://www.adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/overview/faq

waltworks

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 08:54:08 PM »
Yes, I'm aware of the KSL article. Experiences of folks on the ground here do not seem to match up with the "we are desperate for foster parents" narrative but maybe the folks I know locally who have tried did not have a normal experience.

The LDS thing pervades everything here - you have to understand that. The state may not directly say that they want a certain religion, but the effective reality is that in many interactions with the state government you are treated very differently as a non-mormon. We had to pull permits for a remodel recently and it was a real eye-opener (and this is in Summit County, which isn't very mormon by UT standards).

I'm also not sure we could do a foster situation where there is a decent chance the child will end up leaving. I would have to think quite a bit about how I feel about that. Obviously you would be doing a great service to the child (and the parents) but it would be very hard to bond with a kid and then have them leave again.

-W

marty998

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 09:16:15 PM »
It absolutely matters and living in a very white area is definitely an extremely negative thing for a child being adopted transracially, especially if your family isn't diverse.

Your child will need people of color in their lives and you will need to figure out how to make that happen.  Many families move to more diverse neighborhoods.  It's that important.  Your kid will need that in order to figure out how to be comfortable in their own skin.  It's really easy to underestimate this when you are in the early stages.  Having mostly grown kids, I can tell you that's a big mistake.

My kids are Chinese.  We are white.   We have some diversity in the family and live in an area with some diversity, a pretty high percentage of Chinese people and the schools are reasonably diverse.  We've got Chinese friends and belong to the Chinese Community Center.

Still, there are times when I think we might have done more.  My BIL lives in a very white area and we can tell the difference the minute we visit.  You get stared at in the grocery store.  People do a double take in restaurants.  It's very uncomfortable.  Kids pick up on this immediately.

It's obviously not your fault but this is a really poor reflection on your community.

waltworks

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2017, 09:35:59 PM »
Yeah, nobody gets stared at in the grocery store around here, because there are a ton of people training for the olympics (from all nations) and then there are a ton of very international rich tourists of all sorts of skin tones. Plus the kids on international work visas who come in the winter to teach ski lessons and work at the resorts.

There aren't that many year-round residents/locals so once a kid is around for a few months at the usual soccer/park/bunny hill type places they are going to be recognized by basically everyone anyway.

-W

Pigeon

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2017, 09:36:46 PM »
It absolutely matters and living in a very white area is definitely an extremely negative thing for a child being adopted transracially, especially if your family isn't diverse.

Your child will need people of color in their lives and you will need to figure out how to make that happen.  Many families move to more diverse neighborhoods.  It's that important.  Your kid will need that in order to figure out how to be comfortable in their own skin.  It's really easy to underestimate this when you are in the early stages.  Having mostly grown kids, I can tell you that's a big mistake.

My kids are Chinese.  We are white.   We have some diversity in the family and live in an area with some diversity, a pretty high percentage of Chinese people and the schools are reasonably diverse.  We've got Chinese friends and belong to the Chinese Community Center.

Still, there are times when I think we might have done more.  My BIL lives in a very white area and we can tell the difference the minute we visit. You get stared at in the grocery store.  People do a double take in restaurants.  It's very uncomfortable.  Kids pick up on this immediately.

It's obviously not your fault but this is a really poor reflection on your community.
I'm not sure what you are saying. My kids were received just fine in my somewhat diverse community. The difference is with what the kids see as their reality. They will look different than their moms and dads,siblings and extended families. That matters more than we tend to believe it would to a kid. If they don't have a fair number of role models in their daily lives who look like them it is hard for them to grow to be comfortable with themselves and to know who they are.

As for the staring in my BIL's community that is going to happen anywhere with little diversity.

Pigeon

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2017, 09:40:01 PM »
Yeah, nobody gets stared at in the grocery store around here, because there are a ton of people training for the olympics (from all nations) and then there are a ton of very international rich tourists of all sorts of skin tones. Plus the kids on international work visas who come in the winter to teach ski lessons and work at the resorts.

There aren't that many year-round residents/locals so once a kid is around for a few months at the usual soccer/park/bunny hill type places they are going to be recognized by basically everyone anyway.

-W
I'll bet if you asked a few minority residents, they would have a different take on it from having been the "curiosity" themselves.

waltworks

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2017, 10:15:34 PM »
I will do that. To be clear: everyone knows everyone here, basically. The year-round population is probably only ~5000 people. So if you want to stare at Bob the Jamaican dude and his kids, it's going to get old fast because you'll see them all the damn time.

It sounds almost like you are saying that white people shouldn't adopt non-white kids unless they plan to move to an amazing multicultural wonderland and learn a foreign language. Or am I misunderstanding? If we're being honest, a young kid raised in my household, no matter what they look like, is going to end up being part of the nerdy upper middle class ski town culture, no matter how many books I read them about China or how many cultural festivals we go to or how well I speak Spanish (poorly, if you must know).

Realistically, it seems nuts to deny a kid all the resources and love they need to be successful just because you're afraid of offending someone or worried that it will make them unhappy that their skin tone isn't the same as their parents. I assume *all* adopted kids have to struggle with the idea that they aren't biologically related to their adoptive parents eventually, skin color match or no. Unless your community is openly racist/unfriendly... what is the problem?

-W

Freedomin5

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2017, 01:11:14 AM »
I will do that. To be clear: everyone knows everyone here, basically. The year-round population is probably only ~5000 people. So if you want to stare at Bob the Jamaican dude and his kids, it's going to get old fast because you'll see them all the damn time.

It sounds almost like you are saying that white people shouldn't adopt non-white kids unless they plan to move to an amazing multicultural wonderland and learn a foreign language. Or am I misunderstanding? If we're being honest, a young kid raised in my household, no matter what they look like, is going to end up being part of the nerdy upper middle class ski town culture, no matter how many books I read them about China or how many cultural festivals we go to or how well I speak Spanish (poorly, if you must know).

Realistically, it seems nuts to deny a kid all the resources and love they need to be successful just because you're afraid of offending someone or worried that it will make them unhappy that their skin tone isn't the same as their parents. I assume *all* adopted kids have to struggle with the idea that they aren't biologically related to their adoptive parents eventually, skin color match or no. Unless your community is openly racist/unfriendly... what is the problem?

-W

I've worked with kids adopted by parents who are not of the same race, and specialize in cross-cultural families in my work, and I have several friends who have adopted. Some families adopted kids of their race. Others adopted kids of a different race.

Instead of thinking of how your neighbours will react to the kid, you also need to think about the kid's experience growing up in an all-white neighbourhood and their identity development. I've worked with several kids who are depressed/conflicted/rebellious and who see themselves as being "less than", not  through any fault of the adoptive parents or the neighbourhood community, but because they saw themselves as being "alone in the world". I know as adults, we might be fine being the only ____ person in a non-____ community, but that kind of critical thinking skill and emotional maturity is a lot to ask of a young child. For that reason, and based on interaction with adopted kids, I personally feel that having some sort of set up such that the child is not the only [black/white/Asian/Hispanic/etc.] child in your community would be most beneficial for the child.

This does not necessarily mean you need to live in a racially diverse neighbourhood or have friends from many different races, but it does mean that you should provide the child with opportunities to interact with others of their race, and to learn from others who are similar to them. So, for example, one white family who adopted three kids from Africa show pictures of their birth parents, talk about Africa, participate in African cultural festivals, and have play dates with other adopted children from Africa, so their children don't feel so alone and different. It's about fostering a sense of belonging in the child, and I think everyone needs to feel that they belong somewhere and are truly understood by someone. I mean, isn't that why we hang out on this forum? Because we don't fit in with the cultural norm?

Then, at the end of the day, if the adopted kid chooses to identify as being white, or green, or purple, or whatever, that's up to them how they choose to identify themselves.

Also, anecdotal experience has been that it's typically (though not always) better to adopt a child who is younger than the birth children, for a few reasons (again with the caveat that each kid is different, I'm generalizing, yada yada yada...):

- Older kids tend to have more behavioural and emotional problems due to longer exposure to unstable home environments, lack of opportunity to develop attachment to primary caregivers, etc., which may lead to them acting out towards your younger children.
- Your older birth child will suddenly become the middle child with all its ramifications. For example, he may feel his/her position as big brother/sister has been usurped.

Anyway, those are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. If you are seriously considering adopting, there is a whole subfield of psychology focussed on adoptive issues. It would be best to educate yourself by reading the research and learning from the experts rather than asking a bunch of Internet strangers, as essentially we are just giving our (not necessarily fact-based) opinions.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 01:19:36 AM by Freedomin5 »

hoping2retire35

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2017, 01:25:29 PM »
following.

diddo on not disturbing the birth order. If it is difficult to find a 3yo to adopt, wait a couple of years.

I have looked into international adoptions. Haiti and Liberia are the cheapest and easiest to adopt from; maybe even cheaper than the legal process of foster adoptions. I think Haiti had an influx children needing homes after the earthquake; that might still exist.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2017, 02:15:11 PM »
It my extremely limited anecdotal experience (as in, n=2 families I know), the adoptions of same-race newborns has been overwhelmingly positive for the family, although in both cases the newborns were the first and only kids (both couples have infertility). One family adopted through foster care Ė bio mom was a drug addict, with other kids who she didnít have custody over, all from different dads (none of whom were in the picture), and expressed virtually no interest in keeping this baby either. She was a clear cut case of someone who was unlikely to keep the baby, and only a year or so after the family first picked the baby up from the NICU, he was officially adopted. This is a classic smooth sailing story I imagine most adoptive foster families hope for Ė baby is born, goes right into foster care (their home), bio mom terminates her parental rights with barely a blink of an eye, and the govt issues the adoption in a timely manner. That doesnít mean there werenít many challenges and unknowns though Ė the baby was born addicted and so far developmentally normal, but no one knows if there will be long lasting effects due to bio momís drug abuse in pregnancy. Similarly, there are all those unknowns about genetic history and how that will impact everything down the line. But luckily because the baby was immediately whisked into this familyís care right away, they eliminated any potential issues of lack of attachment to a primary caregiver, abuse, or neglect.

If I were to adopt, this is probably the only route Iíd be open to (newborn of the same race via foster care) with the understanding that such rigid criteria are unlikely to result in an adoption opportunity. I donít know if Iíd have the guts to go for an older child given that I already have kidsÖI donít know if I could take that risk of adopting a child who is likely to have serious attachment or behavioral issues that could jeopardize my current kidsí health and happiness in the process. Similarly, while I would have no problem adopting a baby of any race or ethnicity, my all white environment is certainly not suitable for raising a black child in a way that is healthy for them. If I look at myself honestly, I am just too far removed from black history, culture, and social circles to really provide even a mediocre level of social integration with the black community. Ditto for Latino, native American, or various Asian communities. Sadly, the only person I am really equipped to raise in a racially healthy manner is another white person. Itís not that I wouldn't try as hard as I could, I just doubt my ability to execute my good intentions in a manner sufficient enough for the childís best interests :/

Before I became a parent, I really wanted to adopt at least 1 child into our family (my ďidealĒ plan was bio and adoptive kids). Now, I have to think of whatís best for my existing kids first and foremost, and as selfish as it sounds, Iím  worried about f*cking everything up for them by adopting a child with significant behavioral or medical needs. The only way Iíd consider it now is if I could have as much control as possible from day one to try to mitigate risk and harm to both the adopted child and my own kids. I used to have romanticized images of me adopting all these beautiful children, of different races, but now as a parent I realize the closer I could make an adoption to be a recreation of the typical biological plan (baby goes right to primary caregiver, baby has same racial identity as parents/family/community, etc) the better it would probably end up being for that adopted child.

brokemom

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2017, 02:38:55 PM »
We adopted two kids internationally.  We both work in the child welfare system and based on that decided we did not want to adopt through the state.  If you have a month, I could explain why, but bottom line, adoption is not something you have much control over, and we had more control adopting internationally.
We did not disrupt birth order, both because our social worker was opposed and because our bio kids were older enough at that point.  We adopted an 8 year old from Russia and then eight years later, a 16 year old from Ukraine. It cost money.  We felt it was money well spent to keep the state out of our business.  We were able to meet the kids and they each spent a summer with us as "host" kids so we could all make a decision.  We actually hosted three other children who for various reasons were not adoptable.  We did manage to get some needed medical care donated for those kids while they were here.
I would hesitate to take on a 16 year old again, because too much damage had been done and she may never completely attach.  We can live with that, because she is a great kid and will have an infinitely better life than she would have in Ukraine.
An 8 year old was totally workable and you would never expect she is adopted.  People regularly tell us she looks
"just like her mom!"  She doesn't and we find it amusing.
Both kids were EXPENSIVE and a lot of work.  Any child removed from their parent at any age has suffered trauma.  Other adverse life experiences are stacked on  top of that by being a ward of the state- in any country.  We needed specialists, tutoring, OT, PT, ESL, translators. evaluations, neurologists, IEPs etc etc.   This is not out of the ordinary with adopted kids, whether domestic or international.
When all is said and done, we have two beautiful kids who are thriving and will be productive citizens, who would otherwise probably be throw away kids in Russia and Ukraine.  The prospect of being in the sex slave trade was a strong probability for either of them.  We did this to give them a better life, and not to have them meet any needs we had for a child raising experience-  they are kids number 5 and 6 in our family.   All too often the preadoptive families I work with are in for devastating disappointment as the state does not in any way adequately disclose the history and needs of foster children, and the pre adopts are rarely really prepared for the roller coaster ride of attempting to adopt a child with minimal support and little information.  Some can do it, other, especially those who want to adopt a baby due to infertility and are starry eyed, are in for a tough road.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2017, 03:02:20 PM »
Someone in my family adopted. It took them about 5 years total, including one adoption attempt that fell through. They were looking to adopt an infant so that might be why it took longer.

Dee18

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2017, 03:48:08 PM »
For a beautiful blog on one family's experience with international adoption you might look at underthesycamoretree


oldladystache

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2017, 05:25:51 PM »
About 20 years ago my dutch friends went to Colombia to adopt a pair of sisters. Because of some law they could only adopt children under 7. The girls were represented as sisters, 5 and 6 years old.

Eventually the girls learned enough Dutch to tell my friends they were not sisters, and had met for the first time when they were given to my friends.

When the older girl started puberty at 8 the parents were alarmed and sought medical attention. The next year the younger one did the same. That's when they realized the girls were probably 4 or 5 years older than they claimed, but their growth was stunted from lack of care in early childhood.

The girls are grown up now, and doing OK.

YummyRaisins

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2017, 06:06:48 PM »
Things you have going for you (might sound insensitive, but they do matter):

- You are white
- You are a heterosexual couple
- You are generally healthy (presume based on activities)
- You have money
- You have a good home situation

Things that could work for or against you:

- You already have kids
- Age (not sure how old you are, but sometime over 30 is too "old" for some birth mothers)

Things that likely work against you:

- Not religious (assumption reread your posts). Some birth moms want adoptive parents that praise Jesus in some form or fashion. (we BS'd this one a bit)
- Utah is "weird" to anyone not from there

All in all, I'd say you would have a relatively short wait for a domestic adoption, but you never really know. It's not up to you in the end.

One suggestion if you go the domestic infant adoption route is to retain an adoption consultant. It costs more money, but they are your advocate in the process, which is immensely helpful when nobody else seems to give a $hit about you, what you think, or how you feel. They also free you from being restricted to specific agencies until you are ready to adopt.

As others have mentioned, transracial adoption requires extra consideration about how you will work in positive same-race role models and cultural experiences into their development.

Foster to adopt could be quicker and cheaper, but it has potentially greater emotional costs. International adoption is pricey and takes longer, but less risk of have children taken back by birth parents. We didn't go either of these routes, so take the info with a grain of salt.

GettingClose

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2017, 11:25:31 AM »
We adopted four older kids (7, 8, 10, and 11 at the time of their adoptions, three separate adoptions) internationally.  The first one is a gem and everything anyone could wish for in a daughter.  She's loving, sweet, happy, has a useful and fulfilling job and  a good marriage, and has three beautiful children. The others have brought about 97% heartache to 3% joy.  Despite 15 years of intense effort, endless love/support/attention, pets, trips, private schools, counseling, therapy, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, I think that we made no difference at all to the younger three - they don't even feel loved and are all very unhappy people, causing unhappiness to all who become close to them. 

The sad truth is that there is no good story that results in a child ending out in an orphanage, and the events leading up to that seem to mark a child for life.  We went into the adoptions thinking that with enough love, consistency, and support that we could make a difference. 

If I were in your shoes, and interested in adoption, I'd look for a child at least three years younger than your youngest.  Also set limits ahead of time for how much disruption you'll allow in the lives of your current children if the new child ends out to have severe emotional problems or reactive attachment disorder.   It is profoundly disturbing for a kid to have a sibling who wants to kill their parents, for example, or to have the police show up at 11 pm because of false accusations of abuse.  Interestingly, it seems as though most emotional damage is done before a child is 18 months old, so if I were to do it again, I'd look for a newborn.

I know this sounds very negative - but the possible outcomes are not all roses and sunshine.  Which isn't right when your hearts are loving, brave, and kind, but is the unfortunate reality in some cases.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2017, 11:44:39 AM »
/\ /\
did you adopt them a while after you adopted the oldest or all basically simultaneously? If 15 years after a 7 year old was adopted and is still acting up at 22 then that could be teenage rebellion combined with additional adoption problems. Or are we talking way beyond normal rebellion, like not doing well in college and sitting on the couch with 'ehem' homemade cigarettes or more like jail?

Not trying to be noisy, just I would consider older adoptions when i think the time is right.

PoutineLover

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2017, 12:30:29 PM »
I have two adopted cousins from India, their mom is Indian and dad is white. I don't think they get questioned too much about their ethnicity because of their mom, and I know that her side of the family has actively included them in their cultural traditions. The older one was very tiny due to malnutrition as an infant but she got way healthier, and now both seem fairly well adjusted other than the expected difficulties of teenagerhood. Personally I think adoption is great especially if it helps a kid get out of an otherwise shitty situation but I think when adopting kids from other cultures/races it's really important to make a huge effort to teach them about their background and include the whole family, because it's still an important part of their identity and you can't just pretend that they are white. I've also heard some horror stories of kids in orphanages not really being orphans and their parents sold them or they were kidnapped so I think it's really important to do lots of research and maybe hire professionals when adopting internationally.

StacheyStache

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2017, 03:31:04 PM »
I previously worked in a specific subsection of family services as an attorney.

I wouldn't going into fostering with the expectation that you'll adopt, at least not in my state.  Be prepared for a lot of misery unless your state laws are very different than mine or you are very lucky.

In my state (and I imagine many others) best interest of the child is presumed by law to be placement with the bio parents, no matter how crappy they were and no matter how wonderful the foster parents, as long as the "risk" (reason the child was brought into care) was "removed."  We define "removed" very loosely in my state.  There is a legal duty of social workers to do everything they can to remove the risk and reunite the child with the family.  This means chance after chance after chance and trying every sort of treatment under the sun before the court finally says enough and allows the state to seek termination of rights.  Desire of the foster parents to adopt, desire of the kid to be adopted, and suitability of the foster home are all irrelevant if the parent says "I want my kid" and there is some minute possibility the risk can be "removed" or a treatment plan is completed.  I once had a parent refuse to take a final drug test prior to return of the child and STILL get the child back because she "completed" her non-intensive outpatient drug treatment plan (yet is afraid of taking one more drug test?  Hmmm.... )

These cases go on for YEARS and some parents fight every step of the way.  In far too many cases where the parent fought tooth and nail, I'm not even sure it's because they truly want their children back (because they had every opportunity and many resources, often free of charge, thrown at them), rather that they don't want to see what's "theirs" taken away. 

Guess who the witnesses in a lot of these contested cases are?  The foster parents.  When mentally unstable bio mom shows up for a visit and screams at you and the kids or tells the kids you're trying to poison them or tries to hit one in front of you, you can become a witness in the state's case.  Then you get to enjoy being cross examined by the defense attorney who heavily implies you're lying because you're a no good baby snatcher who wants to tear a family apart.  Any inclination that you want to adopt a child who isn't legally free for adoption is seen as a bad thing until the court determines the family cannot be rehabilitated.  In rare cases, the parents agree or there is some compelling reason where it is blatantly obvious the kids can't and won't be able go home (dad and mom are both convicted of serious crimes and receive lengthy prison sentences).  I didn't see many of these cases. 

I'm no longer in that job for a number of reasons but I will never consider fostering and certainly not fostering to adopt.  Read your state laws on child welfare very carefully and consult a family law attorney prior to making any decisions.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2017, 04:11:17 PM »
It's unfortunate that things can turn out that way.

cacaoheart

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Re: Mustachian perspectives on adoption?
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2017, 01:50:57 AM »
If cost were not an issue, I wanted more kids, and the main issue was how prior pregnancies affected my wife's health, I'd consider looking at surrogacy as an option. It's not a perfect solution given legal issues (the surrogate can't sign away their own rights as a parent until after birth, even if it's not their eggs), but seems to involve less stressful hurdles than adoption, crazy as that may be. Surrogacy may involve using your spouse's eggs or those of a donor, and IVF for the surrogate. All of it is expensive even if you go with international IVF/surrogates. I would be hesitant to skip IVF and use the surrogate's eggs and your sperm, even if artificially inseminated.

A potentially cheaper but more emotionally complex option would be if someone you know/trust would like to be a surrogate.