Tuesday, 12 November 2013


I do not profess to be an expert on adoption, but I do have a personal perspective to share. And my experience is clearly biased as adoption was the means to which we became a family of 3.

After years of trying without much such success. It became abundantly clear that we could never add to our family naturally. Infertility would win, or so it would seem. 

But ever being the planner, in the last year of IVF treatments, I had already been investigating alternative options to form our family.

It would be fair to say, that we did not get to this place willingly or easily. It took time to get our heads around this , and eventually M and I ended up in sync. We would go down the adoption route.

For various reasons that were important to us, we chose to adopt through international channels. From our perspective, we felt that we were able to offer a child a loving home and stability.

After months of form filling, interviews with social workers, we were finally approved. Paperwork seemed to be an inherent part of the process alongside waiting. In the end the waiting would be worthwhile, our child today is happy and greatly loved by his family. 

One thing that did surprise me when we shared our news upon my son's arrival, is the number of people that we knew unbeknown to us that were touched by adoption. 

This week, November 10-17 is National Adoption Awareness week.

In Australia, the number of adoptions finalised during 2011-2012 was 333 of which 149 from intercountry adoptions, 59 local adoptions and 129 from known child adoptions. Adoption has been on decline and we have one of the lowest adoption rates in the world. At the same time we have the a disproportionate number of abortions in the country.

In 2012, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare there are 40000 children in out of home care. Children who are unable to live with their families due to neglect or abuse. Yet the adoption has not been seen as an suitable alternative to create care for children in the system. 

You hear of kids that are in care that move from foster family to foster family, can you imagine how unsettling would that be.

I recall in an adoption seminar that I went to, a teenage boy who had been in long term care with his foster family, shared that all he wanted was to be adopted by them. 

You hear of the shortage of foster carers.  I can rationalise why that would be, who would like to care and love for child and know that at some point in time the child would move on. 

It is heartening to me that here in our state of New South Wales since late 2012 that there are moves to change the current policy and consider adoption as an option for neglected kids that are in care.

I know that adoption is not a black and white issue, it is not clear cut. Throughout out history both here and abroad there have been issues with this; forced removal of children has left bitter memories for those impacted. I feel sad about that.

Practices have changed. Today, adoption is an open affair, where birth parents know who is adopting their child and provide their consent. Contact can be or is maintained. And at the heart of it, is the what is in the best interest of the child. 

From my point of view, adoption offers a child a secure place, it gives them a sense of belonging where they can flourish. The image I have in my head is that of a child learning to jump into the water, waiting for the outstretched arms of their parent. As they hesitate, they are reassured and knowing that there is someone to catch them, they leap into the water into their parents waiting arms.

To me adoption has been the most marvellous way to love!

Have you been touched by adoption? 

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