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Top Seven Reasons Why Adoption Fundraisers Are Problematic

[Note: I originally wrote this piece for The Huffington Post after it approached me to draft it. Huffpo decided it to was too edgy. Do you think it is?]

There are two statements I need to make before I begin talking about my thoughts about adoption fundraisers. First of all, contrary to what many within the adoption community believe, I’m not “anti-adoption,” which by the way is a rhetorical wedge used by the multimillion dollar adoption industry to shut conversations down with those who question adoption practices. From my perspective, adoption should be one of several options, just not THE option. In fact, it should be the last. Second, I’m not an “angry” adoptee, which is a label used by the adoption industry, some adoptive parents, and even members of the media to delegitimize the thoughts, experiences, and expertise of “critical adoptees” who “are a new voice that seeks to reframe the issues and approaches.” Nonetheless, this won’t stop many of you from labeling me as such as I list off the Top Seven Reasons why adoption fundraisers are problematic.

Shall we begin?


1. Adoption fundraisers make no financial sense.

Simple economics dictates, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. In other words for the present context, you need to rethink some stuff if you know you can’t afford the $8,000-60,000 to adopt right now, but then decide to do it anyway because you feel like it. There are costs after the adoption, like the hundreds of thousands of dollars you’ll be spending raising your kid. Why put yourself in that financial burden? Better yet, why put your would be adopted child into that financial burden? And if you truly are compelled to adopt, why not look into the foster care system where you actually receive financial subsidies? Or, if you have “just enough” to adopt, but not enough to buy the most desired in adoption, why not take your eyes off of those cute White babies in the US and Asian kids from Korea, China, and Vietnam, and instead consider giving your heart to the amazing Black children in the US, who cost less, so that they don’t get exported to Canada? (By the way, the fact that it’s cheaper to adopt Black kids is totally racist, and it’s absolutely horrific that this institutionalized form of racism happens with minimal pushback from the general public.)



2. Adoption fundraisers are tacky.

By the time most prospective adoptive parents start adoption fundraisers, they’ve already received a seal of approval, i.e., homestudy, from their social workers. The homestudy includes information about finances, and in order for would be adoptive parents to receive clearance to adopt, they must show financial stability. In short, homestudy approved parents can afford to adopt. Thus the question needs to be asked: Why are so many going online, writing deeply personal stuff about themselves and often times the children who have been referred to them, and asking for money from friends, family, and totally random strangers? As an adoptee mentioned in the Land of Gazillion Adoptees Facebook page about this very subject: “From my adoptive mom… People do fundraising for adoption? That’s just tacky.”



3. Adoption fundraisers allow people to financially “double dip”. 

For those of you unaware, there’s this nifty little thing called the adoption tax credit. It was originally set up to encourage families to adopt from the foster care system. However, the people who have used the tax credit the most since its inception have been adoptive parents who’ve opted for the more expensive route — domestic private and international adoptions. (Why buy a Kia, when you can buy a BWM?) The credit, which initially started at $6,000, is now nearly $13,000. Maureen McCauley Evans, an adoptive parent who worked in the adoption industry for years, writes that the adoption tax credit has doled out to mostly middle and middle-upper income families billions of tax payers’ dollars. Nice, right? Especially if you’re a parent who raised tens of thousands of dollars through an adoption fundraiser. Especially if you’re a privileged parent who could have afforded to adopt anyway without a fundraiser (see point 2) but nevertheless convinced a ton of folks to give cash. Per Amanda Transue-Woolston.

“Adoption fundraising reinforces traditional hierarchies of power and privilege by giving money to the already-wealthy to receive a child into their home, rather than placing vital resources with the original families and original communities that would prevent children from being placed in orphanage and for adoption in the first place… When poverty is the underlying factor in an adoption, those in the position to receive a child into their home, as opposed to surrendering a child from their home, are on the privileged side of the equation. I do not say this to criticize those parents, but because those of us with privilege have a duty to be aware of how privilege impacts marginalized people and communities. Not just be aware of it, but to take action to secure social justice.”


4. Adoption fundraisers are disrespectful of the privacy of adoptees.

The adoptive parent community tends to overshare their children’s histories, and it’s something that needs to end. Adoptees’ personal stories, as well as those of birth parents/first parents, should not be shared by anyone but the individuals who have experienced them. Would adoptive parents appreciate it if a bunch of former adoption social workers got together and wrote an expose about all of the familial dirt, financial problems, marriage tensions, messed up family histories, trials and tribulations of infertility, etc., that they have witnessed? I don’t think that would go over well. Apparently this tendency to overshare sets in early for adoptive parents. Remember when that family who wanted to adopt their second child got a helping hand from Humans of New York? The response was off the wall crazy, and all who saw the fundraiser now know the origins of “Richard”, the adoptee, and also, through their donations, own a piece of his story, too. It remains to be seen what “Richard” will think about his family’s fundraising effort. However, based upon how many adoptees are coming forward these days to claim their right to their histories, he’ll probably feel a little something.


5. Adoption fundraisers are anti-Christian.

Do the Google thing by using the following terms: adoption, fundraiser, God and adoption, fundraising, God. You’ll get a ton of results, which shouldn’t be surprising because Evangelicals have been on an adoption crusade for quite sometime. What is surprising, though, is the language used by would be adoptive parents: they are compelled to adopt because God told them to; it’s God’s will for them to have an adopted child; and God has given them their child through adoption. Of the adoption fundraiser I’ve seen, the sentiments expressed by Evangelical Christians are amazingly narrow minded, self serving, and anti-Christian. There’s no regard for the fact that in adoption someone (i.e., adoptive parents) always gains something through the loss and suffering of another. What about the mothers, father, grandparents, and other extended family members who lose their children? What about the birth parents/first parents who are forced to relinquish rights to their children because of social, financial, and familial pressures? What about the parents who have their children stolen from them for international adoption? Is the Evangelical Christian God comfortable with all of this? Is s/he all about giving into the whims of mostly White adoptive parents who wish to “save orphans”? And if Christians are bent on the idea of doing a fundraiser, why not raise money for the hard, yet fulfilling and important work of establishing “long-term investment in developing nations so that families there can afford to raise their own children” as Jill Filipovic suggests. My Lutheran upbringing taught me the virtues of caring for your neighbors who are near and far, instead of giving into your own desires. As Filipovic notes:

“It is not nearly as satisfying to deal with complex realities of colonialism, exploitative evangelism, poverty and misogyny as it is to talk about the plight of orphans, donate money for a friend to adopt or perhaps adopt a cute kid yourself. But while addressing the issues that create both orphans and unethical adoption practices takes work and the willingness to humble oneself, doing so is necessary and moral. And it saves children and families.


6. Adoption fundraisers reflect white privilege.

The adoption industry is a very White business. Most of the folks working in the industry are White. Most adoptive parents, i.e., the true clients in adoption, are White, and they are part of middle, middle-upper, and upper income families. In adoption, White parents hold the power, not those of us who are considered “Brown”. I mean, really, do you see Black, Asian, Latino, and Native parents lobby members of congress, engage various parts of the federal government, use the media, etc., to get countries, such as Vietnam, reopened for international adoption? No. Do you see Black, Asian, Latino, and Native parents use their connections, technological savvy, and so forth to fundraise for adoption so that they can adopt White babies? No. Per Laura Briggs of the University of Massachusetts:

“Stranger adoption is a national and international system whereby the children of impoverished or otherwise disenfranchised mothers are transferred to middle-class, wealthy mothers (and fathers). The relative power of these groups, and the fact that stranger adoption almost never takes place in the opposite direction, sets the inescapable framework in which adoption is inserted.”

And as the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School’s Dorothy Roberts states in Gazillion Voices magazine:

“[W]hen you have both domestic adoption in the U.S. and internationally, it’s always the people from the most privileged group, by and large, with rare exception, who are adopting children from a less privileged group. It is not as if this is a truly racially equal process. You do not find African Americans who are sometimes even allowed to adopt a child who is white… So, by and large, if you look at transracial adoption at the macro-political level, both domestically and globally, it is a process where children are transferred from the least privileged to the most privileged. And that means something. That involves power arrangements.”



7. Adoption fundraisers are tools of Colonialism.

Adoption is an extension of good old fashioned colonialism. Don’t believe me? Ask the Native community what they think of the history of the US state and federal governments’ practice of ripping/forcibly removing Native children from the tribes:

“There was a time in this country when thousands of Native American children were forced from their homes by public and private agencies, then sent to boarding schools where the school founder’s motto was “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” This practice wiped out cultural ties and traditions from an entire generation on which tribes depended to carry on their legacies.” (source)

Still don’t believe me? Ask yourself: How many times have you seen parents from “third world” countries host adoption fundraisers — now a tool of adoption — so that they can come into the US to adopt our children? You’ve never seen that because in adoption, an arm of colonialism, the colonizers — the White adoption industry and White adoptive parents — wield the tools that allow them to obtain what they desire.

~ Kevin H. Vollmers


About Kevin H. Vollmers: Kevin is the founder of Land of Gazillion Adoptees, LLC, executive director of Gazillion Strong, and editor in chief of Gazillion Voices magazine. He is a regular contributor to Entertainment Weekly’s The Community and the host of Gazillion Voices Radio.

76 Comments on Top Seven Reasons Why Adoption Fundraisers Are Problematic

  1. Great piece! Smart and needed (gifs are a bonus). This is definitely too “edgy” for the liberal Huffington Post. As Elizabeth Povinelli says, “Liberalism is the normative horizon.” This does a nice job of busting through perceived limit of critique! David Smolin also says that the Bible always mentions mother and waif/orphan together never just orphan; another reason why God should not be deployed to justify adoption as the solution to poverty.

    • Thanks, Kit, and, as always, your analysis (of my analysis) is spot on! I LOVE your newest for Gazillion Voices. You break down highly complex issues accessible without losing the impact. Much respect!

    • Absolutely! If overly-privileged Christians were “obeying” the entire “adoption verse” (James 1:27), there would be a lot less need for adoption. It breaks my heart that the word “orphan” is so often used by Evangelicals (and I am a Christian) to mean, “Your parents don’t have enough material wealth to provide for you, momentarily.” The deduction is then, “We [Western Christians] need to raise you.” Can we imagine saying the same to a close friend in crisis??? The message to me is (obviously): some families deserve to stay together less than others. Not a very “Christian” message!

  2. I think adoption fundraisers are beyond tacky. What kid wants to go over to a neighbors house when he/she is eight only to be told “I bought this ashtray for a buck from your folks so they could bring you home.” UGH. It is beyond crass to advertise your garage sale is being held to bring home cute little Sally. If a person has to have garage sales to raise funds then the least they can do is keep it quiet so they don’t embarrass their future child at some future point in his/her life and all of us know that “special” neighbor or aunt that will manage to do it by bringing up the fundraiser. Talk about making your kid feel guilty and feel he owes a debt of gratitude because he continually hears about “all your parents did to bring you here.”

  3. This piece deserves to be spread far and wide – it’s too bad the Huffington post wouldn’t publish it. Hoping you can find another venue that will promote it. (Daily Kos, Salon)

  4. Another really well written peice. Congratulations. I have to wonder why people who hear the voice of god compelling them to adopt…..” because God told them to, it’s God’s will for them to have an adopted child; and God has given them their child through adoption” are not considered mentally unwell. Not everyone hears voices

  5. Thank you for writing this! I got ripped apart by a dear friend who was very critical of my criticism of adoption fundraising. I was told that I cannot dismiss someone else’s decision to donate. It’s their money, who am I to judge? I expressed my disgust of the preacher who pushed for #Worldadoptionday and raised $4 million dollars for the cause and got national attention. As well as a couple who had a goal of $25K to bring home 5 siblings currently in foster care. Now I don’t know the story of the birth family of those kids, maybe the parents really can’t provide a safe home for them. It’s great that this couple is bringing the siblings together and wants to raise them as a family. I do have a problem with the fundraiser. I have 4 kids. God forbid I get on food stamps to support them. But let me give them up, and someone try and adopt them…..that couple is allowed to raise that kind of money to raise them? And how many natural families actually have 25K to start off anyways? I shouldn’t have so much anger at the couple…it’s the system I have a problem with. So again, thank you for writing this!

    • Yeah, that $4 million is really crazy.

      • I have had 4 miscarriages while trying to have a child and I have not had one birth. From these miscarriages we have had over 40k in hospital bills. We have insurance from our full time jobs but we have deductibles and since each miscarriage/DNC happened in different years we paid full prices each year.
        I cant even imagine how much a couple would have to pay that has to have IVF . I know one couple that at least tried that 4 times.
        See there is some of us unlucky couples that can not have children. We just didn’t get “blessed”.
        Not only do we pay thousands to have our own child and are told time and time again that we were not lucky but then after nothing else works then we need to start an adoption process that is not easy, cheap, or carefree.
        I don’t know if I think fundraising is the best way to get money to adopt a child but I do know that I need to find money to do so because we want a child and I want a good adoption agency that the parents will not be able to come to my house and knock on my door and take my child.
        And I do want a child that looks like me and my husband. I don’t think that is racist. I think that is normal. Everyone that can have their own children have children that look like them, why because I was not blessed to have a child do I have to throw that away.

        Thank you for letting me share my opinion. I liked reading yours.
        I would never want my child in a million years have someone say to them I helped pay for you. It breaks my heart… and you all made me realize that.

        • I’m sorry for your loss with your miscarriages and infertility. That loss must be very painful. That being said, your entire post is “I want, I want, I want” with nary a mention of what a child NEEDS. Babies want their mothers. Sorry to break it to you. Just because you covet someone else’s child does not mean you’re entitled to purchase it.

        • Nicole, I am sorry for your failed pregnancies but they in no way entitle you to someone else’s child. You talk about not wanting the parents to come to your door to take your child. If a child has parents who want it then it isn’t yours and never could be. You mention your hospital bills. health insurance should take care of them. If you don’t have good enough health insurance to cover you then what makes you think you are fit to be a parent. Children get sick. Adopted children need a ton more tests if they get sick as there is never a good enough, up to date, health history. Do you know adoptees are overrepresented in mental health services, that adoptees are four times more likely to commit suicide? How are you going to cover that? You want a child that looks like you as a way to hide your infertility from the world. You really need to come to terms with that before you ever consider bringing a child into your home. Adoption should provide a loving home for a child who needs one and not provide a cover up for your own problems.

        • I’ve been clinically dead 3x. Each time I was told that I need to figure out why I’m still alive. I did. I adopted! and my future wife could not have kids.

          • Obviously very little research has been done by the writer of this blog! Those that are hoping to adopt are not interested in “buying” a baby or a child. My husband and I have spent so much money trying to have a baby of our own. Adoption has always been on our radar, as infertility is a real struggle. If you discussed adoption with any agency, you would have they encourage open adoptions with domestic adoption. Birth mothers are encouraged to stay in touch, and recieve counseling to help cope with the fact they are 100% involved. Adoption is hard for every single person involved. But it’s also a beautiful thing. Birth moms are choosing the adoptive parents… there is no purchasing involved. As far as international adoption, children are often orphaned due to disease and illness. I can’t believe you have turned this into a white/black issue. My nephew was adopted from Haiti. Race has never been and never will be an issue for our family. Birth moms are choosing the families they feel a real connection with out of love for their child. And adoptiove parents are opening their hearts to the child’s situation, hoping to be loved in return. It’s far from ugly. Unfortunately so many like my husband and I turn to adoption after years of trying to have a child of their own, and have exausted their savings. It doesnt mean they can’t afford to raise a child.

    • If 5 siblings in foster care are available for adoption, it is safe to assume that their parents parental rights have been terminated after extensive investigation and legal process. People don’t “give up” their 5 children to adoption and place them in foster care. They get food stamps, rent assistance, utility assistance, 2 free meals a day per child at public school, etc., and even if they voluntarily relinquish rights they would likely not do so via the foster care system, but to a family member, friend, or via an agency that could match them with a forever home immediately. In fact, even if you want to relinquish your rights via DCS, they usually don’t even allow you to do so, and fight to force you to keep your own kids! (it’s a financial burden on DCS to have kids in the system, see.) Because the department of Children’s services states their goal is to reunite families, they rarely terminate parental rights even when they should, and likely those children came from a very dangerous background.

      • I never assume anything about foster care or DCS. I know someone who actually worked with the system and she had horror stories to tell, like with parents who had a profoundly disabled child and asked to put the child in foster care as reprieve care so they could get on their feet, only to have the state TPR that child away from them. And then there are the ridiculous stories like the Russian immigrant couple in CA who lost their baby for a while (I think they got the baby back later) because they questioned the hospital and wanted a second opinion. These are poor people we’re talking about here. The state does not care, and it knows it will get bonus money for every foster-to-adopt. So it’ll be more inclined to take children from less scary homes and to ignore the kids in more scary ones.

        And just because you have kids doesn’t mean you automatically get help. A big reason I lost my son (his dad’s mother and stepfather adopted him) was that when I fell on hard times I was still legally married, and this was just a few years after the switchover from AFDC to TANF and I wasn’t sure if they would even talk to me. I felt very intimidated and on top of that I didn’t want my family and friends hating me for taking “their” tax dollars, nor did I want to make one wrong move and lose my benefits even if by some miracle I *was* accepted. Not being sure of myself cost me.

        Later on I had a daughter and again, we were poor, and at one point I tried to get into subsidized housing. Guess what. There was a three-year waiting list. Again, though I wasn’t married, her dad was helping us, so I wasn’t sure what else I could qualify for besides Medicaid, which I was only on for about a year and a half anyway. As much yelling and screaming as I hear about “welfare fraud,” I didn’t even want to set foot in a welfare office if they were going to tell me I didn’t make the cut.

        I can’t be the only one who’s felt intimidated like that.

  6. Great piece. Hopefully you will be able to get it out into the mainstream media sooner rather than later. I was going to say you are preaching to the converted here at LGA, but maybe not. i suspect even here there will be WAP’s who will struggle with this. (WAP here, and i know when i link to this article i will get dumped on, oh well. BTW, thanks for this & for all the other resources via LGA that i can pass on to my WAP “peers”.)

  7. I think it’s a great article! Thoughtful, well written and to the point. Oh, and my husband, a Native lost a daughter and nieces and nephews to the adoption system that saw brown people as incapable of taking care of their own children. Two of his sisters never recovered from losing their kids. And now the state of South Dakota is getting rioch stealing Native children and placing them in white adoptive/foster homes. Right now.

  8. This post, to me, does NOT seem edgy or angry. In fact, I’m impressed with how clearly you expressed yourself and how it did not seem your emotions got in the way (to me)- at all. Thank you for your perspective!

  9. Wasn’t even aware of adoption fundraisers, not sure what I think about them, but there are lots of red lights in this piece. The writer contradicts himself several times. First he says adoption is unfairly weighted to the economically privileged, but he also says if you cannot afford the steep cost of adoption maybe you should not have children. He attempts to shame people using private adoption as a means to create their family, but later he rails against children being forcibly taken from biological parents and families, which happens more frequently through the foster care system. And before you say it, I know it is the reflexive answer, NO children are not always better off growing up in their biological home. I can personally attest to that. A biological tie is not an automatic positive. There are a million examples of this.
    Power arrangements are a part of daily life -your boss, Starbucks, or simply getting your children to eat breakfast. Does this mean we should not act in any situations there is a power imbalance? Where is the actual argument for what is best for the kids? White upper middle class Americans do not dictate China’s, Guatemala’s, or Vietnam’s international adoptions policies.
    What I can agree with is that the adoption process and the economics of adoption need to change. It cost way too much and the power dynamic is heavily weighted to the benefit of adoption inc. Adopting parents, even well heeled ones, are at the mercy of the agencies and lawyers. From my perspective, coming from a family with many many adopted kids (private and foster), and blended families, parents who can afford to go through the private adoption process, of what ever race, are not the problem.

  10. This was the most offensive and ridiculous article I have ever read. And I have read a lot of ignorant things.

    • Thank you Abby, He has no clue how offensive and inaccurate he is and that saddens me. The expenses involved with adopting just one child is huge. With in a Christian filled life, surrounded by love and generosity my heart overflows with love and joy. We are expecting our first grandchild this year and are not too good or too proud to accept any funding from our church family and friends….this child will be surrounded by love and raised by a village. I have so much to say but will hold tongue. Thank you Huffington Post for recognizing trash talk when you read it.

      • I agree. It is actually very hurtful. I stumbled in it while exploring adoption fundraising options. This actually made me more determined to move forward, which is ironic.

        How many people who get pregnant have enough money to properly raise s child but don’t have $30k sitting around? LOTS. Infertile couples who are prepared to love and care for a child deserve to be parents as much as other couples.

        As for going the expensive adoption route instead of foster to adopt…my husband and I seriously considered foster to adopt but we decided against it for one very specific reason: the main goal is reunification between the child and anyone blood related to the child. Which makes sense and is understandable, but for a couple looking to bring a child into their family, they run the risk that after months and even years of bonding, they might be forced to return the child if a blood relative steps forward. I respect that, but I also know that was too big of an emotional risk for us personally.

        I could go on about how misguided and hurtful this article is. It wreaks to me of someone seeking attention, though there are a few valid points I’ll admit amongst the ridiculousness.

        To those considering adoption and end up disheartened after reading this, remember this article is not nearly as true as it professes to be. That’s the Internet for you. Stay strong!

        • I understand you feeling this way because you have not adopted. I remember feeling and even saying some of the things you did. Perhaps when you do adopt and when you are older and wiser you will understand what is being said and realize you didn’t know as much about the topic as you thought you did. Good luck on your journey.

        • I agree! I would adopt again in a heartbeat, if I could deal with all of the upfront costs.

      • If you really love that potential grandchild, YOU make the sacrifice and use all that money to help him/her stay with his mother. Speaking as an adoptee, there is no amount of money or material things that can make up for losing your mother! Thou shalt not covet!

        • Please. It is hard to be respectful of comments like this but I will try. Your reply is absurd. Your assertion that it is harmful to lose a biological mother is absurd. Perhaps not on its face but in the absolute manner in which it, and quite frankly the OP is asserted. Why is it so difficult to see, accept, acknowledge that adoption occurs on a broad spectrum of circumstances and situations. Every situation is different. True, in some situations perhaps the adoption could have been avoided, but often in cannot. That is true for domestic, foster and international adoption.

          As to losing one’s mother…I am an adoptee who was incredibly lucky to “lose” my mother. I was the middle of 5 biological kids and the only one who was adopted. I was the lucky one. I have a sister who call me the golden child. I went by from bing fed crackers by that sister, through the slats of the crib while “mom” was out selling meth and banging card dealers and bikers. I was adopted, after state intervention, by a loving family that raised me well and I owe everything in my life to them. One of the sisters made it on her own and has done ok, the rest? Not so much…what do you expect when they were raised by the wolves. My loss was more than compensated by the love, resources, good example, education, stability, values and everything else I was given by my parents. I owe my entire life to adoption. I’m sorry if your struggle to reach some comfort level of self actualization has tripped on the threshold of adoption.

          I never looked for her and I never cared, even as kid I think I had an intuition that normal people in good circumstances don’t give up their kids. She looked and found me and it was about like I thought. Her life was self absorbed trainwreck and it was all about her. Not a bad person, per se, but one who started with all the resources and good background to have a wonderful life. Instead it started in the teenage years with bad choice after bad self-indulgent choice. Drugs, booze, pregnant, booze, drugs pregnant….yada yada yada. I am always curious about people who seem to idealize a future reunification…my guess is most fall short of the false image people build up in their minds but it does not stop the dreamers from dreaming that their history was “different”. Is there the occasional happy story, sure, but the preponderance under the bell curve probably suck.

          I have 2 biological children and 2 adopted children (international). Their stories are theirs and I will not share them. Suffice it to say there was no one stepping forward to care for them and institutional life was their future. They have a stable loving home with two loving siblings and all the opportunity we can provide them.

          I wish it was as simple as throwing that money in the pot to reach some pie in the sky John Lennon song in which all the worlds children are cared for and valued. But that’s bullshit. Not gonna happen. You know it, and I know it. If you figure out how to change the culture and economics of the developing world faster, or come up with a non profit that will provide for all these children to be reunited with their birth families, let me know. If you find a way to keep crackheads from having kids that they don’t want, let me know. But that’s bullshit too and you know it.

          You see it is not, or should not be couched in terms of the difference between what is and what should be. It just is. Until human kind changes, these issues will be with us. If you want to argue that these kids are better in institutions, or reunited with crackheads and lowlifes and spouse/child beaters, I can’t have that conversation with you…it makes no sense.

          Until that magical unicorn bellows its rainbow fart across the new age universe, I stand thankful that there are people and families that will stand in the breach and take the chance to give these kids a chance. If you want to bust their chops for having a garage sale, so be it.

  11. Kevin, do you have a link to Amanda’s quote???

  12. blastfromthepast // December 15, 2014 at 11:43 am // Reply

    First, I am an adoptee. (I feel that on this blog I have to say that to have any street cred, which is fairly ridiculous.) Second, if you wanted to make a point about adoption fundraisers, it was actually lost in how immensely critical you *seemed* to be about adoption or people who choose to adopt as a whole. I think you made some good points about not only adoption fundraisers, but the ease of online fundraisers in general. However, the points were so intense and the headings so unnecessarily emotionally charged – that the point of the rest of the paragraph was lost, IMHO. Just remember, sometimes the best way to get a person to like food they haven’t tired before is not by forcefully stuffing it in their mouth and then checking their reaction. Be bold, but speak to influence not just to get a reaction.

  13. Thanks for this great article. Intercountry Adoption does breach several key components of the original 1959 UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child as well. No wonder the wording was modified for the 1989 UN Convention.

  14. Great article, Kevin! As a white adoptive mother, you have expressed my thoughts exactly…on several counts. Just one more issue where the script definitely needs to be flipped! Thanks!

  15. My Rosie Life is at an interesting place of welcoming and excitement. As the caucasian mother of three transracially adopted children there is much My Rosie Life still has to learn and see as this grandchild grows esp. if this child is a different race than the adoptive parents. Check back in ten years and we will see where you and the child are at then…there are so many things you have yet to learn and discover but congratulations on your new family member!

  16. Thank you to Huffington Post for refusing this ignorant editorial rant. Your over-generalizations of ALL prospective adoptive parents that are using their resources to enhance their ability to care for a child is sickening. Using your logic, it is not just fundraising for adoption that is wrong, but also taking any kind of promotion at work or earning any other type of enhanced income while going through the adoption process. Not everyone can have biological children. Not all people that have biological children want to care for them. When those who choose to adopt do everything they can to financially care for the child, you are the one who comes across as tacky for bashing them.

  17. This article conflates adoption with adoption fundraisers and since when is being ‘tacky’ a reason, not to do something? Many people would call many adoptee activists tacky as well. Also, the criticisms of adoption conflict -if white couples adopt black children, it’s privilege, if they don’t, it’s racism Also, adoption as a tool of colonialism assumes children being adopted are native americans or children being taken away were taken away by adoption fundraisers, not the state. They were put in boarding houses, they weren’t given for adoption.

    • Your talk about what happened to native children in the past tense. They are still being taken from their families in drives and placed with white families.

  18. My co-worker is doing an adoption fund raiser and I find myself rolling my eyes. I’m annoyed by it. The people I’ve known to adopt never once asked me to help them out. I agree, if you can’t afford it maybe you shouldn’t be asking everyone else to give you money so you can. Also, if you haven’t been able to have children maybe that’s God’s plan. And if you want a child that badly why wouldn’t you help a child in need like through the foster system.

  19. Reblogged this on Adoption: Second Generation Birthmom and commented:
    The title says it all…this article is right on the money

  20. This Article sounds like a very bitter person …so to the Moms who have tried for years to have children and can NOT…because they don’t have 40,000 to fork out means that they are pathetic to ask their loved ones for help…thats sad…Im pretty sure close to 90% of america can NOT afford adoption but ask for financial help because they desperately want a child. Just because i can’t afford 40,000$ does NOT mean A mother cannot afford a child on a regular basis and give that child a great loved life. wow….no sensitivity.

    • There is no problem asking your loved ones quietly. It is when you request that the entire community help you out that it becomes a problem…an unintended consequence that your child will have to pay the price for as long as they live in that community. This shouldn’t be about the parents rather it should be about the child and the embarrassment that it will cause them.

    • All great and good, but desperately wanting a child doesn’t mean you just get to acquire one from someone else. I got pregnant once, lost my child to adoption, and haven’t been able to get pregnant again, that doesn’t mean I can help myself to another family’s child. As an adoptee and a mother of loss I get so sick and tired of being told to have sensitivity towards people trying to adopt. They don’t have much sensitivity when it comes to my feelings, why should I have always have to protect theirs? Adopter fragility, that is all that is.

      • This is completely non sequitur. There is no rational position one could hold that you are entitled to another family’s child and no one said you or anyone else IS so entitled. Why say that, no one is making the argument. You are most certainly entitled, resources permitting to open your heart, family, and home to a child unlucky enough to be born into a family or to a person that does not care enough to raise the child. If you want to make the argument that resources should be made available so that families can stay together in cases of economic hardship, so be it. And I would tend to agree with that position. But please, do not ask me for one minute to believe that this forms the preponderance of the children through the U.S. and most certainly in the special needs wards throughout the world.

        What feelings of yours were ignored by adoptive families? Who is it that is collectively insisting on sensitivity from you. Adopter fragility on the part of adoptive families…that’s your assertion as to the root of your argument?

        My first trip the the comment section of this place and I just shake my head. So not reflective of the very wide swaths of people I know in the adoption community. I am an adoptee, a biological and adoptive parent, and the vast majority of people I know, associate with and encounter on this nearly 50 year journey are happy and well adjusted people. My adopted kids included. I peruse these sites so that I can be diligent in making myself aware of the other side of issue to best support my children as they grow. The ranting emotionalism and lack of logic or even mostly cogent arguments makes me feel this is not much more than an emotional check valve.

    • It is utter BULLSHIT that one needs 40k to adopt and thus that justifies begging for it…

      Only private infant and international adoptions run in that price range. one can adopt from state foster care for minimal filing fees!!! So let’s get off the pity bandwagon. there are more than 200,000 children in state care who COULD be adopted but are rejected because of ‘special needs,” People spend tens of thousands of dollars because they want younger, healthier or whiter babies and children. The joke’s on them cause most every child taken from an orphanage has special needs – and some are very severe.

      Infertility is a grievous condition but taking someone else’s child does not cure it. And if we are really concerned with that population, it makes far more sense to focus on education to prevent much infertility instead of whining about them buying babies!

      Adoption needs to be about helping children who need families NOT about helping anyone obtain one, as if a child were a commodity!

  21. This article is written by someone who has no idea about other cultures, adoption and those who adopt. Those who adopt from China, for example, are adopting ONLY special needs children. The difference between China and America, children in china age out of care at 13 and are then homeless more times than not. They are considered unlucky in society and live a life of complete poverty. Children here, while it is awful to live in foster care, at least have a chance because of financial aid and education. Children in China have horrible education, if any at all, and struggle to get a job for the rest of their lives. Those who are adopting are doing a ministry. Most people who adopt DO have enough money to provide for a child, but coming up with 30k-40k in a year is more than most people can afford. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t do it. That means by helping them, you are insuring that a child is going to be given an opportunity. An opportunity to have a life without worry of where their next meal will come from. So before you continue to pass judgement, do a little research. If you don’t like that parents are asking for financial help, don’t give. Adopting isn’t about selfishness. Adopting isn’t about “double dipping.” Adopting is about THE CHILD.

    • Many children in China have been stolen to meet the international demand for children to adopt. So many of them come with the same back story about being abandoned outside a park and found by a cab driver. Before you sing the praises of adoption from China talk to older adoptees who have lived it. Their voices are the only valid ones.

      • I don’t see how considering China is not accepting applications for healthy children and only adoptiung out Special needs and older children (older than 3)

      • Tracy Gravel // June 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm // Reply

        So sick children are being stolen away to be sold into adoption. Please share sources to back this up.

  22. The ignorance here is unbearable. The writer and the supporters here cannot possibly comprehend the position of those who decided to turn to adoption. They cannot possibly understand the tortures some couples have endured in their attempt to build a family. If you don’t want to support a fundraiser, don’t send money. Simple as that.
    The response to Nicole Loar’s post : “If a child has parents who want it then it isn’t yours and never could be.”
    Wow. I can’t imagine what would possess someone to be so cold to someone who has gone through so much.
    It’s a shame that you could want to inflict such cruelty onto people you don’t even know.

    • As the mother of three teenage transracial adoptees I can assure you that I am not ignorant. I understand the position of those who adopt…they want to parent a child. Nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong with making it a community event that the child will unwittingly be made to feel like they should be grateful to their parents and all of those who supported them. That they owe some sort of silent debt to them. That neighbor Bob will say every time he sees the child, “I bought an ashtray to bring you home!”
      If you need to have garage sales to have the money that is needed then by all means do so. Just don’t advertise the fact that it is a fundraiser to bring “Little Tommy” home. That is ignorant, cruel and could very well have unintended consequences.
      So if you don’t get what I am saying I will only say to you that your thinking is truly ignorant and appears to be that of someone who has not walked the walk for a very long time.

      • Korean Adoptee // May 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm // Reply

        The writer and supporters are actually adoptees. Adoptees who try to kill themselves at the rate times their peers and no one listens b/c they think they are entitled to a baby.

        • oneyeartofixthis // May 10, 2017 at 7:56 pm // Reply

          I am trying to understand what you are saying. I understand that adoptees have a higher suicide rate. It is a horrible reality. I do not think that people should advertise and beg people to help fund their adoptions because of unintended consequences to the child. I have said that many times in many different ways on this post. I do not think that all adoptive parents feel they are entitled to a baby. Frankly, in our case our special needs kids would have been shunned in Korea and would not have gotten the help they needed to reach their full potential. That is a different subject than that of fundraising for adoption.

  23. sarahgatessandiego // May 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm // Reply

    What a heinous, ignorant, and hurtful article. Tacky?? Unchristian?? Thank goodness the author of this article was not an abandoned child in Uganda who’s adoptive parents did everything they could, including fundraising by willing friends and family, to rescue him. Talk about ignorant white privilege.

  24. Hello to those of you looking for baby to adopt, I’m Mr JELANI by name,lots have a set of twins, boy and girl here, they don’t have all it takes to take care of them as they have made their decision to put them for adoption,During their pregnancy they had used no drugs, cigarette or alcohol. interested couples looking forward to adopt the babies should please contact:( , they don’t just want the little children to suffer anymore please HELP by coming to take them from us thank you very much..

  25. Hi would like to say big thank to UK Susan baby home i recently adopted a child from them and it all went through well and will also advice anyone who need baby to adopt to contact them please do this and save a life.

  26. While I don’t think your approach is entirely wrong, there are factors that shouldn’t apply. The inclusion of religion shouldn’t exist. Many people are non denominational and can and in fact do raise wonderful children. The finance aspect is also not exactly correct. To assume that a couple shouldn’t have a child because they can’t present $30,000 at one time is preposterous. This implies that only the wealthy should be able to adopt and the “blue collar” families shouldn’t have the privilege. So in other words if a wealthy family adopts and mistreats the child it would still be considered better than a middle class loving family with less income. Idiocies like this are why so many children remain in foster care year after year instead of giving them a family.

  27. A truly “unbalanced” view of adoption that reflects either ignorance or just the deliberate avoidance of many facts. Very sad that this is out there but kudos to Huffington Post for rejecting this skewed and biased article.

    • oneyeartofixthis // October 12, 2016 at 8:07 pm // Reply

      I am going to reply as I did below. This is not about asking for private help from loved ones. This is about having garage sales and the like showing a picture of the baby to be or having signs that say ‘Help us bring home Mallory” As a mother of three overseas adopted teenage children I can assure you they would be cringing if they were having to live with the legacy of being the kid that everyone on the block still talked about the garage sales that were held to bring them home. No child should have to carry the unintended but very real feelings of having to be thankful for the rest of their lives to everyone involved. We have talked about this as a family and asked what they think and they are horrified. So have your garage sales just don’t have them in the name of the poor child who will NEVER be able to live it down!

  28. Mallory Abbott // October 12, 2016 at 6:19 pm // Reply

    Disgusting. Health insurance pays for the astronomical cost of pregnancy and delivery after a deductible is met. It does not pay for the astronomical cost of adoption. You can be financially stable yet not have the 20-30k to just drop on an adoption, especially if you want to have something left in savings to help support that child. People donating their money by their choice to a nice, stable couple beats the heck out of letting the child to be adopted suffer in foster care or an orphanage for years on end. Yes it costs money to raise that child, which is why families need to save that money… not spend it all to bring their child home. True white privilege is having the money to spend on it without seeking the help from family and friends… letting go of your pride and saying hey, help me have a family if you can is not privilege.

    • oneyeartofixthis // October 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm // Reply

      This is not about asking for private help from loved ones. This is about having garage sales and the like showing a picture of the baby to be or having signs that say ‘Help us bring home Mallory” As a mother of three overseas adopted teenage children I can assure you they would be cringing if they were having to live with the legacy of being the kid that everyone on the block still talked about the garage sales that were held to bring them home. No child should have to carry the intended but very real feelings of having to be thankful for the rest of their lives to everyone involved. We have talked about this as a family and asked what they think and they are horrified.

  29. The writer of this Blog is in my opinion 100% WRONG! People are not going out to “buy” babies to serve their own self interest. There are couples out there who have spent $20-30-40K to go through unsuccessful rounds of IVF and then adoption (in our case ($65-70K) is the only method left to start their own family. Please tell me where anybody who has their first child or 2 had to come up with up to $100K just to be able to start their family with their first child.

    If your stance is that you should not adopt because you cant “afford it” – I would like to see you walk in and just buy a $100K car or house with the cash you have lying around – c’mon get serious – maybe nobody should ever buy a home because they can’t afford to pay for it upfront or over a couple years.

    • I am going to add one more thing – in Canada you can only adopt from the province you reside in (in my case) and the waiting list is so incredibly long due to the number of people waiting for a child – upwards of 8 years. The only other option now is to adopt internationally which becomes very expensive.

      • oneyeartofixthis // November 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm // Reply

        I get that Josh. We adopted internationally three times. It was a stretch for us as it is for most people. We sacrificed like so many do who adopt. But my kids are now teens and understand adoption, racism and many other things in a very different light than when I first went into it because of the experiences we have had.

    • oneyeartofixthis // November 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm // Reply

      Josh: He is not saying that no one should adopt or that people who are not rich should not adopt. He is stating that fundraisers to do so may be problematic and harmful in the future to the child. If you have a yardsale to raise money fine. You just don’t need to advertise the reason why you are doing so.

  30. I am in the process of adopting my cousin’s child. CPS provides no subsidies or help with legal fees because she was not abused. So we can either come up with 10k or let her go into foster care. Everyone’s situation is different and this article is very judgemental in my opionin.

  31. Study The Facts // January 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm // Reply

    This just shows the ignorance of many on the issue. Inaccurate dribble with a twist of social justice. Educate yourself on international adoption first before spewing misinformation

  32. Wow. This article is an explosion of racist, one-sided, and unproven opinions.

    You opened your article with a statement that you aren’t against adoption, but the tone of this article is very negative. You seem to have very little understanding of how the adoption processes work, but big (false) opinions. You made racist remarks about white people and overgeneralizations about adoptive parents. Maybe you need therapy. Your writing suggests you have deep hurt over adoption.

    First, I’ll address your adoption fundraising claims. You were partially true. There are people who scam people through adoption fundraisers. I know of a family who fundraised before they even started their homestudy, raised thousands of dollars, but were denied by their social worker. They kept the money. It probably happens a lot. But it isn’t the case with all or even most adoptive families. You seem to have a grave misunderstanding of how the homestudy works. The family’s financial stability is checked, but that means they can afford to care for the child(ren). They are not required to have tens of thousands of dollars in their savings account to fully fund the adoption. You don’t need to have $50k in the bank to be a great parent. Many (maybe most) families who pursue adoption don’t have full funding up front, and they still get homestudy approval.

    I agree with you that the child’s story– how they came to need a second family, their health, etc.– is the child’s story, and the parents shouldn’t be sharing it. Especially not to guilt people into donating.

    Foster care and foster adoption aren’t for everyone. Our system is flawed. Fewer than 25% of kids currently in US foster care are elligible for adoption. The other 75% suffer because courts try to keep nuclear families together, even if that means sending kids back to bad homes. For example, my SIL has been in and out of prison for using and selling meth. Her two sons (ages 10 and 8) have been in and out of foster homes for 5 years. She’ll get clean and get them back, then use and go back to jail. She lives out of state, so no family is allowed to take in the boys. The court system wants to keep them together, so they keep giving her more chances to straighten up at the boys’ expense. It’s unfair to them. Also, put yourself in the shoes of a couple who has struggled through infertility. You really blame them for not wanting to go into something inpermanent and risky? Even through foster-adoption (vs foster care), you have to foster the child for a period of a year or so before an adoption can be finalized. There is still risk there. Most kids in foster care who are elligible for adoption are of school age. Some people want the opportunity to parent a child as early in life as possible.

    While many kids in the US have living parents or other relatives, there are kids in the world who are literally orphaned (both parents dead) from disease, natural disaster, famine, or war. Kids in the US have the opportunity to live in foster homes instead of orphanages. They have health care coverage. They go to school. They are cared for until 18 (or 21 in some places). Many receive grants to go to college because they’d lived in foster care. I understand many countries such as S. Korea have foster homes caring for most kids and the kids receive health care and education. But that isn’t the case in less developed countries.

    As for international adoption, you also seem to have some hangups. Some of what you said is true, some not. Parents considering international adoption should really consider Hague-accredited countries, where international standards and higher ethics are in place. This drastically reduces incidents of orphanage bribing and child trafficking. They should also research agencies and choose one that does humanitarian work in-country to try. This gives people access to health care and vocational training to try to strengthen families so no one feels like giving away their child is the only choice. FYI- most countries require kids to be available only for domestic adoption within their country for an established period of time before being elligible for international adoption. So, kids who are adopted internationally are kids who were basically unwanted by their own people. Maybe they have health problems. Maybe they’re from poor countries. Maybe they’re from backwards places where folks think family means blood and that orphans are unwelcome. So, those kids should just never be loved by forever families because they’re not ‘Merican?

    Adopting trans-racially is a great thing for the right families, but not for every family. Some couples have closed-minded families who would never accept a child of a different race as “family.” That isn’t fair to the child. And other couples jump into it with no consideration for how it might affect the child’s self-perception or identity. If couples consider these realities and what would be in the best inyerest of the child given their situation, why would you call them racist?

    I’m sure there are people who only want to adopt “perfect China dolls,” but that is far from the only reason people adopt from Asian countries or wherever else. There are many children worldwide who have health issues (blood disorders, heart defects, microcrphaly, deformed or missing limbs, birth defects, etc.) and a plethora of mental health issues that caused birth mothers to abandon or relinquish them. These kids are less likely to be adopted and will often spend their lives in orphanages or institutions, depending on their birth countries. If someone is willing to adopt, raise and love them, why the hate and discouragement from you?

    And you know, if white people are the ones who adopt most often, then it begs the question, “Why?” Why don’t people of other races choose to adopt? Your answer is to act like white parents are evil because black/Latino/Asian families aren’t adopting as often? Seriously?

    The fact is, you don’t know what’s in anyone’s heart but your own. Instead of wasting your time tearing down adoption, why don’t you get off your keyboard and DO something? You know, go volunteer with an organization in another country and be the hand that helps a poor mother avoid handing over her child. The fact is, kids need families. I give credit to anyone with the stamina to go through an emotionally and financially draining process and spending *YEARS* in the process while people with you just try to crap on them.

  33. I agree fundraisers are tacky. I can’t imagine having asked for any of the $$ we used to try to adopt, go through fertility treatments, etc. (all which have failed btw)

    I want to make a few clarifications on other points you made that are not all accurate:

    1) It is NOT cheaper to adopt domestically (having gone through failed international and domestic adoption, it’s about the same cost and sometimes actually cheaper on the international side depending on the country and program).

    2) The foster care system is NOT an adoption agency. DHS’s goal, as they will tell everyone looking at foster care, is REUNIFICATION. Fostering is intended to have people care for a child until they can go back to someone they are biologically related to. No matter how great the foster parent is, DNA will usually win – even if the social worker recommends the foster parent over the biological relative. I know this because a DHS social worker told me that. You can also have a child for as long as 5 years and a family member can pop up and claim the child and even though you’re the only one known as ‘mommy’ it doesn’t matter. In addition, many states do NOT have ‘foster-to-adopt’ (including mine). You do one or the other, and they won’t let you consider both. And they say that if you get pregnant then you are a ‘red flag’ to them. This is all from direct conversations with DHS by the way, not hearsay. To adopt an infant through Boys & Girls Aid, which is affiliated with DHS, it costs $33,000. Otherwise you have to wait for up to 2-5 years to be matched with an older child, many who have been through tremendous trauma that it’s not anything close to like it would be to raise a child from birth, not by a long shot.

    (As a side note, when we went to a DHS orientation to learn all of this, we were baffled that people would want to be paid to be foster parents. It’s just ‘ew’ to us to even consider.)

    There are a lot of myths out there that there are tons of kids out there just waiting to be adopted and it’s just not the case. There are more who want to adopt than there are available for adoption, so waits are in the years. We have waited so long that we’re now actually being told that we are seen as ‘too old’ (in our 40s) by birth mothers who look at our profile book. We waited for two years for our little girl from Ethiopia then the country closed their doors and the adoption agency went bankrupt…and there went all of our money. This time around, domestic-wise, we had a birth mother choose us who we learned later was scamming us for money, committing felony wire fraud as she lied about just about everything (even though we had supposed proof of her pregnancy) while telling us she wanted us there in the delivery room with her. There are no guarantees when it comes to adoption – domestic, international, or through the system – and there are a lot of myths out there about it being easy, which it is not. For a lot of us it’s fucking torture.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Fundraising for Adoption: Who Benefits?
  2. The Politics of Crowdfunding a Hobby—or a Honeymoon | CAPITOL ZERO
  3. Protect Yourself from Adoption Scams ~ Abrazo Adoption Associates

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