Elisabeth Wilkins asked, "Why is adoption so much money when there is billions of kids that need homes?"
Adam Pertman: Wonderful question. First a little context: I am no fan of money in the adoption world; I think any time you place dollars and human beings in the same sentence, it’s a recipe for trouble. In fact, one chapter of my book is entitled “The Money’s the Problem.” High costs prevent some people from becoming parents and, more important, prevents many children from getting families. Plus, when there’s so much money involved, it lures some bad folks into the adoption world for all the wrong reasons. Okay, so why is there so much money in it? For some reasonable reasons – i.e., the doctors and social workers and lawyers (we want adoptions done right) and others involved in the process deserve to get paid. And for some lousy reasons – for instance, we treat adoption in our country as just another industry, susceptible to the same rules of supply-and-demand as the sale of snow tires. I personally believe children and families should be put into a separate category, absent the market pressures.
Laurie Jean Washburn asked, "What are the best organizations for regular people who aren't rich but still have love in their hearts for a little one?
Adam Pertman: The answer is probably to adopt from foster care. There are tens of thousands of children in state government care across the country who need families. Most aren’t so little, and many have special needs, but they sure do deserve and need loving homes – and there are rarely any costs involved, and sometimes there are subsidies.
Jeanine Becker Jones asked, "How do you find a good agency? We are down to our final 2 choices...It is so hard to make a good decision."
Adam Pertman: I think that choosing a good agency should be thought of like choosing a good surgeon. Do your homework. Check the internet for other clients’ comments, ask for references, and pick one with which you have a good comfort level – not one that seems to be telling you what you want to hear. Be an educated consumer, not of children (buying and selling children is illegal and immoral, and any practitioner who sounds like that’s what they’re doing should be avoided like the plague), but of good services. That’s what you’re buying – services – so don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. This is a hugely important decision and should be treated as such.
ConceiveOnline.com asked, "There have been a lot of changes in adoption in recent years -- the rise of the Internet, the closing of some countries to international adoption, for instance. Is there any takeaway from that, especially for people new to the process, that would help them avoid wasted time, money, and heartache?"
Adam Pertman: I think the big takeaways are that costs are not going down anytime soon, unfortunately, and that will result in a widening socioeconomic gap between those who can adopt infants in this country or children from other nations. At the same time, it might well increase the number of adoptions from foster care because, again, there are few if any costs involved in that process. I think (and hope) my book will help people sort through all this.
Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of the newly updated Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families -- and America.