Family Preservation or Child Preservation?

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?

2 thoughts on “Family Preservation or Child Preservation?”

  1. This is a blog by an adoption agency?? It certainly sounds like one. It is most certainly not a blog written by a mother who had relinquished. And not by a mother who has relinquished many many years ago.

    How about when is society going to recognize the deep and unbreakable bond between mother and child? When is society going to do everything in it’s power to help mothers rather than help themselves to their children?
    When is society going to understand that growing up with your own mother is far better than growing up adopted in MOST cases.
    Adoption should be the absolute last resort when all other efforts have failed.
    FAMILY PRESERVATION IS CHILD PRESERVATION because it is a huge loss to be separated from your family.

    When are people who make money out of adoption going to be stopped from seeking out pregnant women who are vulnerable and feeling like they don’t have support.

    When we help the mother we help the child. It’s really that simple. You can choose to do the right thing and life a decent life. You can sleep better at night and feel good about yourself when you are not making profit from people who are in a vulenerable situation.

    1. Thank you for your response. This post was actually written by an adoptee who wished to remain anonymous. Keeping the family together should always be the goal but often times this is done at the expense of the child. Being shuffled around from foster home to foster home until they age out of the system or are broken by repeated attempts to reunite with their biological family is not in the best interest of the child. It may be a huge loss to be separated from your biological parents but with open adoption this is often not the case. Many biological and adoptive families remain in touch and have visitations with the knowledge that the biological family is important.

      Although when the biological family has abused the child, has drug related problems etc. is it really in the best interest of the child to remain in this home? And how long should social services try before they place a child in an adoptive home? Is being kept with their biological family more important than the mental and physical health of the child?

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