Adoption and Politics: National Adoption Month

For good or bad, adoption practices are often shaped by politics, be it local or international. But do our elected officials have a clear sense of the issues facing agencies, adoptive families and children waiting for placement? From a report put together by the Donaldson Adoption Institute, it seems that most of the time, the answer is no.

The 2016 report was based on findings from five separate focus groups of adoption professionals including social workers, lawyers and clinicians. The consensus among the participants was that the majority of elected officials do not understand the issues facing the adoption community.

Even when officials take interest in adoption (usually because they themselves had been adopted) their efforts are not necessarily aligned with the greatest needs of the community.

Politicians tend to focus on the placement, which is the adoption. There’s no long term thinking - the openness, the identity issues, the transracial family. You talk to politicians about that and you get this glazed-over face. Everyone, including our legislators, thinks of adoption as the goal but actually if you think of football, it’s one of the posts on the field but there is so much more to go — an entire lifetime to go. It’s impossible to get anybody’s attention for those pieces. That is actually where a lot of the work has to happen.
— Adoption Agency Professional, Donaldson Adoption Institute

With National Adoption Month in full swing, it might be time to take note of your local respresentatives and their thoughts on adoption and foster care. What steps can you and your organiation take to raise awareness, support, and funding for children and families?