Category Archives: Quick Thoughts

In Whose Best Interests?

February 9, 2011

The professional consensus in the child-welfare and adoption worlds is that decisions relating to the placement of children into new families should be made, first and foremost, to benefit the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society. You know the mantra: “In the best interests of the child.” Trouble is, too often, it’s lip service paid by sometimes well-intentioned and sometimes less high-minded adults who have other agendas – economic, political, ideological, personal or all of the above. Kids don’t vote, don’t lobby and don’t legislate, so the grownups most often get their way.

All this comes to mind because Arizona’s Senate is considering legislation (SB 1188) that would revise state law to mandate that “ a married man and woman” receive preference in the adoption of children. Individuals would  be permitted to adopt under specific circumstances, for instance if a married couple was unavailable, if the alternative was long-term foster care and – ready for it? – if it served “the best interests of the child.”

Looking at a state that does not have married couples lining up around the block to provide homes for children in need of them (that goes for every state, by the way); in which gays and lesbians are not permitted to marry; in which about one-third of children in foster care, including some with the toughest special needs, are currently being adopted by singles – and in light of research clearly showing that children grow up far better in permanent, loving families regardless of the number or type of parents – I think it’s fair to ask whether the idea here is to engineer a better future for boys and girls, or to conduct some social engineering.

 

Crime and Punishment

January 26, 2011

Here’s some news for The Outrage File: “A Korean woman in Arizona, who was adopted and brought to the U.S. when she was eight months old, is facing deportation after a second conviction for theft, reports the Korea Times. The 31-year-old mother of three is currently being held in a federal detention center in Arizona.” Follow this link to read the whole story: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/01/korean-woman-adopted-as-infant-facing-deportation-in-arizona.php.

The bottom line is that this woman’s adoption took place before the implementation of current law – which gives automatic citizenship to children adopted from other countries – and neither she nor her parents applied for citizenship for her. So, even though she has lived in the United States all her life, has given birth to three children on our nation’s soil, has never as much as visited Korea and doesn’t speak the language, American authorities want to send her “back.”

Should people who commit crimes be punished? Absolutely. But this is a crystal clear example of how adopted people are sometimes treated differently, and I do NOT mean for the better. Can you imagine something comparable happening to someone born into her/his family, whatever the crime? Of course not, but this woman isn’t the first adoptee against whom deportation proceedings have been initiated and, alas, some have been successful.

The law needs to be fixed, and such proceedings have to stop. They’re not just unfair – they’re outrageous.