There has been an unending stream of stories of abused, neglected, murdered, and abandoned children. For the most part these children were victims of their “real” (biological) families. Perhaps more surprising is that many of these victims and their situations were known to their community social service agency.
Unfortunately for these children the weight our society places on family preservation – on keeping the biological family intact – has tipped the scales in favor of a dysfunctional sometimes frustrated biological family over the welfare of the child or children involved. Many family and child welfare professionals continue to believe that , given a few years, they can “fix” the problems of families that have been dysfunctional for generations. Also contributing to our society’s feelings about family preservation is the belief that children belong to only one family, their “real” or biological family and that if they do not remain with this family they will feel abandoned and insecure for the rest of their lives. The truth is that it is far worse for these children to remain in families plagued with addiction, poverty and despair than to be adopted by a stable nurturing adoptive family.
When is society going to give women a positive view of adoption which allows them to consider this option instead of making them feel that they are doing something wrong? Adoption has changed so much over the years. The majority of adoptions now are open where the birth family can choose the family they want to raise their child and remain in communication with the adoptive family after placement. Many birth parents receive photos and letters, and some even have visitations with the adoptive family and the child.
In educating the public about adoption and empowering women consider making an adoption plan we can hopefully provide children with a stable family yet still enable them to retain connection to their roots. Isn’t it time for family preservation to take a back seat to child preservation?