When a person decides to adopt, he takes the responsibility of raising a child who is not biologically his own. There are various reasons why people decide to adopt. Some say adoption is the best thing for certain children and many successful stories prove it to be true. However, there are also numerous tragic reports of adopted children being abused. Basically, what adoption meant, and still means, is that someone (the adoptive couple) is promising to assume all responsibilities for taking care of someone else (Powledge 4). How the adoptive parents go about raising the child is completely up to them. Although there are many different types of families in todays society, one special kind of family that has become more and more common are the families created through adoption.
There are various and somewhat difficult processes and laws concerning adoption. New laws are being created year after year to make this process easier and the outcome positive. Adoption is not exactly new; the idea of adopting has been around for a long time. The oldest written set of laws is the Babylonian Code of Hammarabi, which contains a long, sophisticated section on adoption (Benet 23). It is hard to pin point when and how adoption first originated but Governor Sir William Philips of Massachusetts was considered the first adoptive father in the original thirteen colonies, he adopted in 1693 (Academic XXI). Americans adopt more than 100,000 kids a year (Harnack 13). This may seem like a large number of adoptive families but there are still over 400,000 kids left in foster care or in shelters. With this in mind it seems like Americans should be desperate to place the homeless kids in a family. But through trial and error it has become known that only certain families should be allowed to adopt and in some cases kids are better off left in foster care. In 1917 Minnesota was the first state to require an agency or state welfare department to make written recommendations to court after investigation (Harnack 12). This will ensure families giving their child up for adoption that they arent giving their kid to just anyone willing to adopt. People who seem to be fit to adopt also have to be able to afford adoption. The average cost to adopt through an agency is between $5,000 to $6,000 (Baldwin 23). Many parents take risks and allow their kids to be open for adoption to anyone the laws deem appropriate. But approximately 75% of adoptions were the kind where parents give guardianship to another family member (Powledge 23).
Although the costs do seem outrageous, the reasons behind a parents decision to give kids up for adoption are pretty simple. Some pressures to give a baby up for adoption include: unmarried, the need to finish school, financial problems, or the feeling of not being able to be a proper parent (Powledge 44). It would be hard to tell whether one made the right decision by choosing to give her kid up for adoption until years after the process took place. And even then one couldnt truly compare both families, adoptive vs. biological. Although many parents realize giving their kid up for adoption is the best decision, some young girls have been persuaded to keep their baby by a social worker instead of giving it up (Benet 179). And in some cases a girl not able to care for her baby keeps him anyway, causing more problems in the long run (Benet 177). All a kid needs is to have a place to call home and people they can get attached to. From the beginning of the recorded history of adoption, the idea behind the practice was to protect children who, for one reason or another were without protection (Powledge 6). When someone does adopt a child they make a commitment. When a couple decides to adopt they assume all responsibilities for taking care of someone else (Powledge 4).
Some say the decision to adopt is a good one, but there are many success stories as well as horror stories related to adoption. There is a broad range of feelings and attitudes among adoptees, depending on the temperament and personal situation of each child and family (Krementz IX). There have been many various surveys taken concerning adoptees. Times reported various horror stories concerning adoption. Some stories include children being poisoned, a child being shaken to death, and children being sexually abused (Gay 89). Unfortunately these are just a few examples of many. Adoptees often suffer from attachment disorders, which are more common in older children. These disorders caused by adoption are extremely noticeable and should be taken seriously. These unattached kids often experience unresponsiveness to affection, serious problems with hoarding or stealing food, abnormal eye contact problems, often thinking about blood or fire, and are often overfriendly to strangers (Adamec 73). Also identity and self-image problems are a major cause of distress to adopted children (Harnack 21). Counseling and therapy are highly recommended to help kids deal with these disorders. Even though there are numerous negative stories about adopted kids, there are also lots of success stories. Either way the adoptive parents are totally responsible for the outcome of all situations concerning the child they decide to adopt. Families may have different structures but they are all responsible for providing basic needs (Foster 99).
Adoptive parents and biological parents are both fully capable of providing all the basic needs. Some people see adoption as a cruel decision an irresponsible parent makes. Others realize the majority of adopted kids are better off not having their biological parents as their guardian. It is slowly being recognized that the theory of fostering goes against reality of living with young children (Benet 190). With this fact in mind, it is obvious that the adoption rate will continue to increase. Although there are many cases showing a negative outcome to adoption, they seem to always have a higher rate of positive outcomes. The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, formed in 1990, has a goal to improve adoption laws and agencies (Academic 45). With organizations like this being involved, Americans will have the reassurance that the increase in the number of adoptions will also mean an increase in children being placed in better families.