Adoption in the United States has changed since 1997. Child protection agencies have changed their mission from finding permanent homes for children in need and long term foster care to snatching adoptable children to service the lucrative adoption market in the United States. The federal adoption incentives signed by Bill Clinton in 1997 has a requirement that in order for a state to receive the funding in the current calendar year, the state must adopt out more children than the previous calendar year or lose ALL the funding for the current calendar year.
The increased pressure to come up with more adoptable children every year puts pressure on intake workers to snatch up those babies for any, all, and no reason. Permanency planning supervisors already know what the quota is....and the race is on.
This pursuit of "adoptable" children has had two effects on the market. It leaves abused children in need of services, still abused and still in need of services and it leaves a sector of hard to adopt, disabled, older, unwanted children languishing in foster care and institutions (the original issue that lawmakers wanted to solve).
To try to market these hard to adopt children off to an unsuspecting public, The Child Welfare Bureau came up with an website that the public, and prospective adoptive parents (posing as foster parents) can peruse in search of the "perfect fit" for their family.
This innocuous "gallery" of photos makes adoption shopping very simple for prospective adopters, you don't like what you see.....scroll down.
You can go on the site, pick a state, and shop. All the best qualities of this human being are described in a brief paragraph for your selection convenience. Under each state heading are a possibility of three categories; The State Child Welfare Agency's "available" children: children who did not make the first rounds of adoption. A Waiting Heart Gallery: the long term hard to adopt (marketed in a new and refreshing way). The Adoption Exchange: for some reason to view this category you must contact an adoption specialist. My first thought about this section of the website is this is where adopters trade in the old one for a newer model. Rehoming is a new, fairly disgusting, adoption word that defines the return of a child that is "not a good fit".
The psychological damage to the "unadoptable" child in the group of siblings must be just awful. To be snatched away from your parents, cling to a sibling, and then get dumped anyway, under the nice word "rehomed".
I met a young mother, struggling with the loss of her two sons. I offered various ways to search. One of the ways I suggested was to search the adoption sites, and i gave her the OKAdopts website. I must say I was fairly shocked to see her post stating she had found her son on the website I had given her.
I was mortified that I had caused my new friend more pain. Her next words shocked me, "I am so happy to see his face. At least I know he's alive." He hadn't been adopted to strangers at that point.
Is this what our nation has come to? The sale of America's children on the adoption block? Apparently so. A nice neat website, devoid of interaction or emotion. Pick and choose...don't like one?...put him back. Just ignore the damage, the pain, of the unwanted, picked over children.
That's how it is, adoption in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
One last thought......why are there no children from well-off families in these galleries? Could it be that our government targets the poor? After all it serves a dual purpose to get poor families off of services because they no longer have children.
This is the adoption industry in America. The barter of flesh for federal dollars.