I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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I Wish People Knew…. an eighth grader speaks out about adoption and foster care

February 23, 2017

This week’s post is from “E” — age 14:

As her mom noted, “She’s got a lot of thoughts brewing and I hope these are useful.”

I wish people knew…Adoption is about finding parents for children who need them. NOT for adults who want to “Get a baby.”I wish they knew that Children are in foster care not in it because of anything the child did, but because the adults in their life either were unable to or couldn’t figure out the best way to take care of them. I wish they knew that once a kid is three years old in foster care the chances are then very small that they will ever be adopted. I wish people knew kids over three years old are people too, and they deserve love.

I am amazed at how many people still think foster care is where people dump their ‘bad kids’.

I wish people knew...kids in foster care are taken, not ‘given up.’ It is for the kid’s safety, and every single case is different – but NEVER because the kid did something wrong. It is sad for all kinds of reasons but there are some really good foster parents. I wish people knew that. Not all birth parents are bad, some just need extra help. And not all foster families are terrible, a lot of them are really nice and just want to help and give kids a safe place to live for a while or even forever.

There are not enough foster families or social workers,and they all work a ton. Social and adoption workers do not get paid enough.

I wish people knew and would teach their kids that there are other kinds of families besides the kind made up of parents and some bio kids. Kids in my classes (I’m in 8th grade!) act like they’ve never heard of adoption. They ask ridiculous questions like Why did my mom not want me, and Where is your real mom? Those are awful things to say to someone, but kids in my school think they are perfectly fine things to say.

Their parents have not taught them about adoption, or other families, or about kindness, I guess.

I wish people would... Not think of adoption as a last resort, only for when they can’t have a kid of “their own.”

I wish people would not think of adoption as a way for them to “Get a baby.” Adoption is not about adults and what they want. It is about kids and what they need. Adoption is not ‘Buying a baby.’ Adopting from foster care should not be a last resort either.

People only want perfect babies and that is sad, when you think about the kids in foster care who need parents. They are just people who need someone to love them. Not everyone can handle a kid who has been abused, but they don’t need to act like the abused kids are worthless. A kid is just as worthy of love if they are not a newborn or related by DNA to the parents.

Not all kids want to find or meet their birth parents. Some kids do, and I wish people would not freak out about that and think wanting that means a kid is not ‘grateful’ enough to adoptive parents. White parents adopting children of color need to make sure they have people of color in their lives for their kids to know.

I wish people would stop assuming I am Chinese, and that I was adopted from China. I am neither. But I have friends who were, and they get tired of people asking them if they speak Chinese. Most of them don’t. I don’t know what a ‘Gotcha Day’ is and I think that phrase sounds awful. It seems to be a cute way to describe a kid who has lost their birth family and is now ‘gotten’ by other people, and I don’t think that is a cute thing. It’s very serious. But also some people are fine with this. I wish people would know that many religions, like the Catholic Church, do not think gay parents should be allowed to adopt children. I wish people would know how stupid and cruel that is, and think for themselves and not listen to religion when it says to be cruel.

I wish people wouldn’t.…Say that kids who have been adopted should be especially ‘Grateful’. That makes it sound like a kid who has been adopted is bad and they should be so grateful that anyone bothered to be nice to them at all. Kids didn’t ask to be born, or to be abused, or to be an orphan or in foster care.

I wish people would’t blame kids who have been in foster care for any not great behavior. They need help, not blame.

I wish people wouldn’t tell me how I’m supposed to feel, or tell me they know for a fact that I have a “Primal Wound.” (Gross! And not true!) I wish people wouldn’t use the word “Adopted” as an adjective. It is a past tense verb. Some people who have been adopted don’t care about this. I do.

I wish people would just ask if they have questions – but THINK FIRST, if the question is unkind or insulting.

“Where were you born?” = Good.

“Why didn’t your mom want you?” = Bad.

There are families with one parent, two dads or moms, no kids, one kid, ten kids, different ethnicities – and a lot of the white families with birth kids I know really often don’t seem to understand this. And that is crazy! It is 2017! I wish those parents wouldn’t act like their lives are the only ones that matter or are real.

I am so very grateful to “E” and the other brave contributors to this series, I WISH PEOPLE KNEW. 

If you are a parent, child, or sibling of adoption interested in sharing your thoughts, use the contact form on my web site or leave a message in the comments below. Here’s a link to the first post in this series which explains the details.

A few guest bloggers have asked for a bit more time, so check back in a few weeks for the next posts. I believe this is an important, ongoing conversation. I hope you do too. 

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