Dear future President,
What do you think when you hear the words “foster care”? Is it adoption? Babies? Struggling children? What about the kids that are counting down their chances of getting adopted every birthday. Older children in foster care aren't getting adopted but why is that? Is it because they have emotional and medical challenges that couples don't want to deal with, is it racial issues because we don't want the interracial families, or is it that everyone wants a baby or a toddler. It can be any of these reasons or it can be all, but for the children in foster care being adopted is a wish the is rarely fulfilled.
Kids with emotional or medical problems are the most difficult to get adopted. But why? “Some workers view older children with emotional or medical problems as “unadoptable”. (Engeler, Amy. "Will these kids ever be wanted? The new adoption crisis." Redbook July 1997: 76+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.)
“Some parents aren't well counseled about the problems of "special needs" children, nor are they always honest about their parenting capabilities. In the most heartbreaking cases, they may cancel an adoption after having taken a child.” Engeler, Amy. "Will these kids ever be wanted? The new adoption crisis." Redbook July 1997: 76+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.) Is this the reason why teens aren’t getting adopted? For the couples looking to adopted they might think it’s very overwhelming and costly for a child with these types of problems, but what most people don't realize is that you get money for the child because of his/hers problems. “If a child remains eager to the match, the parents negotiate a monthly subsidy from the state with the child's caseworker (about $342 for a 2-year-old to $363 for a 9-year-old to $1,000 for a teen with down’s syndrome until the child is 18).”. This makes a big difference when it comes to adopting a child with a medical or emotional problem, because it makes treatments, counselling, and even therapy easier for the parent to handle because they don't have to worry about stressing over the amount of money they have to come up with in a period of time to pay for whatever they need.
Although, emotional and medical problems play a big role in non-adopted children but interracial adoptions are also a big problem in the foster system. “Although the 1904 Multiethnic Placement Act prohibits racial discrimination in adoptions, experts say many agencies remain unwilling to arrange transracial adoptions.” (Engeler, Amy. "Will these kids ever be wanted? The new adoption crisis." Redbook July 1997: 76+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.). I say that this is a major reason why there are still children in foster care, people fall in love with a child and they can’t, or even be considered, adopting that child because of their races. Do you see the problem?
“Additionally, African Americans stay in the system longer and make up a large portion of the youths that age out of the system at 18 years old without the support services they still need. According to the report, older youths are often left vulnerable to early parenthood (84%), unemployment (51%), and homelessness (25%) among other things.” (Richardson, Nicole Marie. "Adopt a child: black children flood the foster care system." Black Enterprise May 2008: 30. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.) It’s said to see that the percentages are so high but yet they still choose to wait for a couple of the same race to come along and “hopefully” adopt a child. “Conversely, many minorities complain that they are not given the same consideration as prospective adoptive parents as are white couples. A 1991 study by the North American Council on Adoptive Children d several barriers preventing minority families from adopting minority children, including unaffordable.” (Engeler, Amy. "Will these kids ever be wanted? The new adoption crisis." Redbook July 1997: 76+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.) Everyone is saying that we are all equal and we all the same no matter our skin, but yet we still keep a child from getting adopted because of the judge of their skin compared to someone else's.
I have to say one of the biggest part in adoption is the everyone wanting babies. All couples want that perfect baby, the one you instantly fall for because of how cute he or she is. Even if the couple isn’t looking for a baby they are looking for the next closest thing, a toddler. “Most adoptive couples want infants and are willing to spend an enormous amount of time and money finding one. The waiting list for a white infant in the U.S. can be years, with some private adoptions agencies charging fees as high as $40,000 to find a newborn.” (Engeler, Amy. "Will these kids ever be wanted? The new adoption crisis." Redbook July 1997: 76+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.) This obviously has a big role in adoption because of the simple fact that people can put so much time and money into finding an infant when there is a child dying to have a family to call his or hers own. “Some couples, however, don't have time, money, or emotional stamina to search for an infant and instead to look for a slightly older child they can adopt from the foster care system.” (Engeler, Amy. "Will these kids ever be wanted? The new adoption crisis." Redbook July 1997: 76+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.) This has also shown us that even if you don't have the time nor money you go for the slightly older version of a child who doesn’t know any better than to just go along with things.
There’s always others opinion on this very sensitive topic but we can agree on one thing, the amount of teens in foster care is scary and the rates are growing.
“Outcomes of Youth
of the U.S. Foster Care System
Earned a high school diploma 54%
Obtained a bachelor's degree of higher 2%
Became a parent 84%
Were unemployed 51%
Had no health insurance 30%
Had been homeless 25%
Were receiving public assistance 30%”
Those percentages have very different ratings, so what can we do? What can we do to help the kids that can’t get adopted because the have emotional or medical problems, what about the kids that won’t find a family because of the color of their skin, and what about the amount of babies chosen over the kids that count down their chances of getting adopted every time a birthday passes. What i think we can do is start a program for teens with emotional and medical problems to get them interacting with couples who are looking to adopted and want an extra challenge. For the radical part we just need to let people fall in love with the children no matter what skin color they are, it shouldn't matter, in all honesty. For infants we should start a list for people looking to adopt a younger child. As in having them read a list that starts from the age 12 to 3 months and see if we can pick any couples up who might reconsider adopting a baby.
Thank you for reading my letter I hope after this you can realize how many things are going wrong with foster care and you will try to help these kids in anyway, shape, or form. Remember for some children the wish of being adopted will never come true.
Sincerely, Arayna k, michigan