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Old 04-08-2013, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
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I got to thinking about this due to a comment made in another thread. Who should be allowed to adopt? What should and shouldn't be considered? Should personality and viewpoints be considered or only circumstances such as ability to provide? What kind of personalities and viewpoints should be considered negative? Should people with little means be allowed to adopt? What about background? Should someone who have had psychosocial problems in the past be barred from adopting? What about people with alternative lifestyles, such as people who are part of unconventional religious group?

I run a small cat rescue so I do cat adoptions. Of course cats and children is very different and I'm not trying to compare the two. However, I think some points are similar. When someone contacts me about adopting one of our cats I have them fill out an application and then I visit them and ask more questions. Unlike many other rescues that will inspect people's homes and yards to ensure that it's safe and up to snuff and consider their finances to make sure they can pay for extensive vet care I'm looking for a particular personality and viewpoint on pets and pet care. I want someone who sees pets as family members whose welfare and happiness is important and who is willing to sacrifice and go out of their way to ensure that welfare and happiness. I could care less what their home looks like, what they do for a living, or any other circumstances unless of course it's something that is specifically bad like if they're living in filth. I believe that if the adopters have the "right" viewpoint, attitude and beliefs they will make the right decisions. At the same time the flip side applies. Even though someone may come across as nice, has a great home and great resources if he or she has an, to me, undesirable view of pets and pet ownership I will deny the adoption.

Should the same apply to people looking to adopt a child? If so, what kind of viewpoints are undesirable for adoptive parents?
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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Good topic but need to mull on it. There are a few really obvious answers - someone who is mentally (not the right word) at the point where they are just trying to replace a child they lost - they are not ready yet, and it would be hard on the child to live up to the perfect ghost child.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:50 PM
 
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Way too hard :+) Especially if the criterea need to be measurable. Then you are stuck with stuff like income, police and mental health records, employment stability, square feet of living space for family members.

What matters to most human beings are qualities that are subjective and therefore not measurable: compassion, adaptability, realistic expectations, good decision making processes and a hundred other things. But there's the crux: if not measurable, who get to decide?

It's so much easier for me to come up with what I would or wouldn't rule out !
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:45 PM
 
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I think precisely because intangible qualities are so hard to measure that the system ought to focus on things that are objective and are tangible. For example:

1. Not so much income, but stability of employment.
2. Absence of a criminal record.
3. Absence of proof of a drug or alcohol problem.
4. Duration of marriage and absence of evidence showing separations during the marriage and heaven forbid, domestic violence.
5. Credit scores (not so much to show wealth), but to show constancy and integrity when it comes to paying bills.
6. School records including grades.
7. Medical records to establish that adoptive parents are actually in reasonably good health.
8. Mental health records if any. Seeking counseling certainly shouldn't disqualify adoptive parents, but evidence of severe mental health disturbances clearly should disqualify them.

I would recommend two interviews given to two separate adoption counselors. Writing samples should be submitted as well. Questions asked in person and in writing should be open-ended, rather than calling for short and simple answers.

References should be given and always consulted.

Qualities like compassion, adaptability, and decision making processes should be considered. However, all these qualities are very subjective. Adoption workers, like all people have their prejudices and biases. This is why the process should be as objective as possible.

I know that we were considered unfavorably compared next to another couple in our own neighborhood. That couple has subsequently had many problems. Father served 28 months in prison for a theft offense. Mother and Dad have been separated. Couple lost home when mortgage was foreclosed. None of those things have ever happened to my wife and I, yet we were thought of poorly when compared to this particular couple. I can only guess its because I was not one to spend a lot of time cracking jokes and warming up to the adoption workers. Such is life. However, what I have describes highlights the failings in basing a process like this on subjective factors.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I think precisely because intangible qualities are so hard to measure that the system ought to focus on things that are objective and are tangible. For example:

1. Not so much income, but stability of employment.
2. Absence of a criminal record.
3. Absence of proof of a drug or alcohol problem.
4. Duration of marriage and absence of evidence showing separations during the marriage and heaven forbid, domestic violence.
5. Credit scores (not so much to show wealth), but to show constancy and integrity when it comes to paying bills.
6. School records including grades.
7. Medical records to establish that adoptive parents are actually in reasonably good health.
8. Mental health records if any. Seeking counseling certainly shouldn't disqualify adoptive parents, but evidence of severe mental health disturbances clearly should disqualify them.

I would recommend two interviews given to two separate adoption counselors. Writing samples should be submitted as well. Questions asked in person and in writing should be open-ended, rather than calling for short and simple answers.

References should be given and always consulted.

Qualities like compassion, adaptability, and decision making processes should be considered. However, all these qualities are very subjective. Adoption workers, like all people have their prejudices and biases. This is why the process should be as objective as possible.

I know that we were considered unfavorably compared next to another couple in our own neighborhood. That couple has subsequently had many problems. Father served 28 months in prison for a theft offense. Mother and Dad have been separated. Couple lost home when mortgage was foreclosed. None of those things have ever happened to my wife and I, yet we were thought of poorly when compared to this particular couple. I can only guess its because I was not one to spend a lot of time cracking jokes and warming up to the adoption workers. Such is life. However, what I have describes highlights the failings in basing a process like this on subjective factors.
Good reply, Mark.

Just out of interest, do you think all of the above should be part of the homestudy? Do you think there should be a set standard of what the home study involves?

Those qualities you mention are of course excellent qualities for parents to have though, as you say, they are very subjective. Should it actually be adoption workers doing the interviewing or a 3rd party trained in character analysis?

I also think education is very important and should always be part of the home study if it isn't already. It is my observation throughout the last few years that some prospective adoptive parents seem to have been well educated about adoption beforehand and others not so much. A mandatory booklet with ins and outs of the adoption process and also what adoption is all about might also be worthwhile to give to prospective adoptive parents so that they can read it and keep it as a guideline.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:22 AM
 
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Great reply Mark and Susan. I think that everything you mentioned is excellent.

Some other thoughts. I think that prospective parents should be interviewed about their support system they have in place. My husband and I don't have a very strong system being only children and living far from any relatives that could help out. Fortunately at the time we had some good neighbors and friends that could step in. We knew a single, older woman who adopted a Chinese girl 10 or so years ago. This woman was a strange bird but somehow was approved. She was obese, had diabetes and didn't take care of herself. After she had adopted, she got very sick. Really had no friends but her church stepped in and took care of the child until she recovered. She was certainly not a prime candidate to be an AP and we felt sorry for her daughter who stated getting fat just like her mother. This lady was proud of it too...."K is fat, just like me."

Which leads me into the next comment. Even if a prospective parent gets medical clearance from a doctor, if a social worker comes into the house and sees a person who is huffing and puffing trying to get around or is obvious bad health, there needs to be some kind of judgment call or a note a social worker could make. The woman cited in my example was morbidly obese and not in good health. How she was cleared was a bit of a mystery.

Mark, I know what you mean by the bias of social workers. The one that did our homestudy was very through, helpful and did a bit of coaching/educating while she was here. We had to do 4 post placement reports after our adoption for 3 years. She always came but on the very last one, we got another social worker who frankly made me uncomfortable and he obviously didn't like us much either. When he inspected our house, from top to bottom, I felt like we were being investigated. Did not get a warm feeling from him at all although our post placement report was positive,
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:33 AM
 
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I'll comment more on the other questions you posed in the OP later, but first & foremost I wanted to say who I believe should adopt. Those who meet all of the objective criterion that Mark listed &:

1. Who prioritize what is best for the child over their desires, expectations, or insecurities.
2. Who expects the child's feelings about adoption to evolve over time & possibly well into adulthood.
3. Who is empathetic to the fact that (even for infants) adoption is not possible without loss & sometimes trauma.
4. Who has/plans to continue to educate themselves on the experience of adoptees & adoptee issues.
5. Who respects the child has another family & does not feel threatened by contact with anyone who is not a safety concern.
6. Who expects to help support & facilitate contact (does not anticipate the adoptee will be disinterested in contact).
7. Who does not feel entitled to someone else's child & instead views it as a privilege to be entrusted with parenting.
8. Who has fully resolved grief due to any fertility issues if they had them.
9. Who has/plans to continue to learn about race-related issues an adoptee may endure (if applicable).
10. Who plans to spot & learn how to nurture any natural traits, talents, interests that may be different from their own.
11. Who embraces differences, rather than denies them.

Last edited by thethreefoldme; 04-09-2013 at 07:59 AM..
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:19 AM
 
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I like Mark's list but I think a single parent alternative to #4 is needed and #7 medical - from what I have gathered some forms provided by the agencies just want the prospective parent certified that they are healthy enough to parent now - I do think there should be a reasonable expectation of health for a foreseeable window (I know things change and there are no absolutes).

I do think there should be a mental health fitness check - perhaps like Mark's #8 and I am assuming the SW is looking for that in interviews? I do think they need to evaluate why they want to adopt from that standpoint - have the got to a level of acceptance if they have infertility or inability to carry a pregnancy - it's in the best interests of the child.

I do think the reference letters are a bit of a joke because who is going to ask someone to write it if they think they will get a bad reference? What would make it better?

I keep going back to one of the questions originally posed "unconvential religious groups" - which I don't see as much a problem with per se - but I see a set of red flags for specific individuals within perhaps any religion. Those are the ones who end up in the newspapers after starving their child or harming them severely. The rescue meme (vs just wanting to parent), combined with homeschooling (not against homeschooling - it's the setting for isolation), combined with taking something to the extremes (as in certain methods of childrearing). Some type of red flag review to rule each out as a danger or trigger deeper review. (please no wars here if I have worded it wrong).

I do believe there should be federal minimums that each state has to incorporate into their own requirements for homestudy approval. I don't think that an adoption agency should also be a homestudy agency - some separation is needed when the bottom line of the business is on the line. How - no idea, my era it was the court who iniatiated a friend of the court investigation of the family.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:09 AM
 
1,014 posts, read 986,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
What about people with alternative lifestyles, such as people who are part of unconventional religious group?
I don't have a problem with any lifestyle simply because it is viewed as alternative. Some people consider LGBTQ families an alternative lifestyle & I don't really agree with that. However, as Artful Dodger pointed out there can be some concerns associated with isolation, methods of punishment, etc.

Perhaps a thorough questionnaire that includes describing motivations for adopting, intended parenting styles, & methods of discipline (including attitudes on spanking) would make it easier to at least identify red flags.

Last edited by thethreefoldme; 04-09-2013 at 10:34 AM..
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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all these criteria should be used for ANYBODY to become a parent- not just adoptive parents. sometimes I cringe when I read about folks who are spitting out kids one right after another and not taking care of them.
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