Question for you (that I've been dying to ask, but felt it was inappropriately intrusive...Now since you've opened the door...): what are your current thoughts on expanding your family? I have lots of follow up questions, but I'll just leave it at that for now.I sort of dread talking about this, not because it's intrusive (you're fine, Kristin!), but because it's such a loaded, sensitive topic. Opening my mouth makes me feel like the proverbial bull in the china shop of other's emotions. And family building, no matter the avenue, is so complex an issue that it's impossible to share all the small and large factors that go into a decision. Then there are the things you assume are just givens, but it turns out aren't and everyone gets riled up. But I'll give it a shot.
The truth? If adoption were just about what Todd and I wanted, I would love to adopt another child. Like, yesterday. But it's not all about us and adopting isn't a neutral act, so we're stuck between a whole lot of conflicting values and logistics.
Before I go on, I want to make it clear that everything I'm about to say only pertains to me and my family. It is not about you or anyone else. This isn't a commentary on people who made different decisions or value different things. I really mean that.
That said, this is our reality:
- We would want to adopt a Black child. It doesn't seem fair to Mari to add yet another White person to the family and we don't think we we could do transracial parenting in the way we want to do it if we had children of three different races/ethnicities. I know many families do, but we don't think we could do it well in our context.
- There are only two local agencies that we be comfortable working with if we were to adopt again. (Well, maybe 1.5. Or 2.25. It's a nebulous thing.) They only place one or two African-American children per year, if that (which reflects local demographics), so they're not realistic options.
- I know there are lots of agencies in other states who focus on placing African-American children (although many have race-based fee structures, which are a no-go for us). But I'm not comfortable adopting transracially from outside of our region. We live in a really monochromatic part of the country. Even our urban centers are overwhelmingly White. I personally (Todd disagrees with me on this one) have a hard time justifying taking a Black child from a place where they would have grown up not in the minority, or less so, to raise them here. I am not at all saying there were not significant losses connected to Mari being adopted transracially. Just that this would have been her home state, regardless, and it's also where her first parents live.
- Private infant adoption services in the United States are market-based to a great extent. I don't think you can reduce supply/demand economics to the ultra-micro level of a single household's decision to adopt, but our choices as adopting parents are the major force in the aggregate. I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say here and I do think there is such a thing as thoughtful, ethical infant adoption. I just know that if I imagine myself saying, "Yes! Let's adopt another baby!" and initiating another adoption, it doesn't totally sit right with me and this is part of that discomfort.
Eddie really, really, really wants another sibling. One who lives with us, he often adds. He talks about it a lot.
We're still working through all our paperwork to possibly foster and I think the interview part of the home study will probably start this summer. While, should it all come to pass, that will be an expansion of our family in another sort of way, it's separate in my mind from the question of whether or not to adopt again.