The more I read and learn about adoption, the more I’m convinced the problems associated with the practice go much deeper than just the act itself. Our problems are based in our culture, and the way adoptions are executed today is a symptom of those cultural issues. The adoption industry is taking advantage and making a lot of money. Unfortunately, it is also leaving a lot of bodies in its wake. Society at large does not comprehend the issues because they are so caught up in the concept of “the child’s best interest.” What isn’t realized is “the child’s best interest” often translates to “an adults best interest.”
My first clue to this disconnect was a conversation I had with a lawyer about seeking visitation of our granddaughter. In the State she lives in if we had a relationship with our granddaughter we could try to get custody by claiming her parents were unfit. So, this discourages her adoptive parents from allowing visitation because visitation would allow us to build a relationship. A relationship would allow us to seek custody. Are you dizzy yet?
The real loser in all of this is our granddaughter. I pointed this out to the lawyer I spoke with. His reply, “You have to see it from the child’s perspective. It’s whats in her best interests.”
“No, what you are really telling me is it’s what’s in her parents best interest.” I said.
“Yes,” was the reply. He went on to say, “These types of cases are why I wish we had a psychologist on staff.” This indicated to me he saw the flaws in the logic of letting an obviously biased adult decide what was in a child’s best interest.
How many times have children been taken away from their parents because of poverty issues? Rather than assisting the family, the children end up in foster care which is proven to be one of the worst possible outcomes for a child. This is done because it is seen as being “in the child’s best interest.” Somehow we’ve conned ourselves into believing that relative wealth correlates to the “best interest of a child”. An assumption that has often proven, although not necessarily visible to the populace as a whole, to be false.
Now, we’ve stretched this belief to include unplanned pregnancies of women who may not have the financial support to care for a child. We don’t support her and her child. We opt, instead, to allow people to tell her it’s best if she give her child away to someone who deserves to be a parent. We destroy a family to build a new one all in the misguided belief that it is in the “best interests of the child”.
The case before the Supreme Court, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (12-399), is another misplaced “best interests of the child” case. The true best interests of this child would have been served if she were returned to her biological mother when the father challenged the adoption. However, the adoptive couple were allowed to keep the child creating a complicated and difficult situation that’s found it’s way to the Supreme Court.
Ultimately, we are using what we consider “the child’s best interest” to excuse ourselves from taking responsibility for the results of decisions made for children. The decisions made are almost always in an adult’s best interests, not the child’s. How many children are best served by being adopted and having their pasts erased? How many are best served being taken away from their parents due to poverty? Not so many we can justify the policies which ultimately tear families apart.