Adapting is the solution to a successful adoption
Adopted children are very rare — especially older children. In my view, couples looking to adopt want a fresh start with a young baby — they don’t want to inherit the potentially copious amount of problems that a child or adolescent who has already been scarred by the system may bring.
It’s not that these couples are uncaring or insensitive. There are significant cultural norms and behavioral characteristics that will have already developed. The couple may simply not wish to have these influences enter their home.
When one considers the markedly flawed state social service systems with which potential adopting families must collaborate, the adoption procedure becomes particularly more perilous.
A model family
Not to sound to anachronistic, but let’s take a family looking to adopt. This family lives in an affluent area of town and are model candidates for adopting a baby or child. They both have university degrees, they listen to NPR, they are emotionally intelligent, and they are involved in their community in multitudinous activities and groups.
That family would be hesitant, to say the least, to take in a child who has been surrounded with likely difficulties facing many foster children. Take drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, opposition, defiance, attention deficits, behavioral management — they are all qualities that have been deeply established in the child’s life that the family is simply unprepared to welcome into their extant familial unit. If they adopted that child, it would be a recipe for disaster to the stability of the new family.
And then you move on to comparably petty matters such as cultural differences ranging from choice of music to diet and nutrition selection. While one child’s affinity for rap music and cheeseburgers may be suitable for their peers and other members of society, those attributes are not going to sit particularly well with our prototype NPR-listening, book-reading, haute cuisine-dining, community involved family.
Especially if that family shops at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. But that problem is not particularly exclusive to foster children, so it ranks very low on our scale. There are countless variables pertaining to what could go wrong or right — the solution is for all parties to adapt.
I suppose one could say that the solution to a successful adoption is adapting.
And that’s not to say that some families don’t take in a child with views and characteristics completely antithetical to their own — many have tried that path and it works out wonderfully. The key, however, is to get the child to adapt so as to not disrupt the family’s lifestyle in such a manner that it becomes detrimental to the child’s or family’s health as a familial unit.
Dedication is the hallmark of any healthy relationship. The parties — in this case the adopting family and the child — must cast aside any preconceived notions about the ease of any such integration into a family unit. Imagine, then, how wonderful that must be for the sense of permanency to be established.
If compromises are made and agreements about cultural and behavioral norms are instituted from the beginning and continue subsequent to what is colloquially known as “the honeymoon period” the family unit has a rather high chance of flourishing to the benefit of both the child and the adopting couple.
About Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian is a Harvard-educated scholar and political activist. As an adolescent, Nicholas survived torture and abuse inflicted upon him under the direct orders of a chief judge and a governor following his political activism against them while Alahverdian was an employee of his state’s House of Representatives.
Nicholas was sent to two facilities far from home that had extensive records of torture, abuse, and negligence. He was forced to remain in these abusive facilities until his 18th birthday and was not allowed to contact anyone, go to school, or prepare for adulthood. Alahverdian survived the torture, sued his abusers, settled in court, and studied at Harvard University.
The primary scholarly focus of Nicholas Alahverdian is the intersection of philology, rhetoric, and politics. He has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC News as well as The Buddy Cianci Show, The Boston Globe and countless other media entities.