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Inspiration, Society, Women's Issues

Adoption in 2011

How do you feel about adoption?

Deborra-Lee Furness believes racism and fear of the unknown has led to an anti-adoption culture within the Australian government which ultimately filters down to the general population. Typically in a year, only 270 children are adopted (including domestic adoptions) by Australian citizens – the lowest rate in the developed world.

Let’s dig a little deeper and examine why adoption has become an almost impossible dream for many in 2011.

There is no doubt that adoption is a serious and difficult decision. Few, if any people enter the process without many years of consideration about what adoption brings and takes away from people. It is a rocky road that only the brave can survive.

The adoptive parents come under close scrutiny and have to cut through many bureaucratic red tapes. There are times when the adoptive parents will feel suffocated and trapped by the unrelenting red tapes that seem almost determined to trip them up. But of course the tough questions must be asked, the checks must be done. We are dealing with innocent children that must be protected and so the adoptive parents push on through.

The adoptive parents have to fight against the government and may also have to defend their position to anyone who disagree’s with adoption. For example, some people believe that families should be preserved at all costs, no matter what is going on. I am afraid this is unrealistic in some dire situations. As wonderful as it would be if everyone stayed together, lived beautifully together and done right by their kids – sadly this is not the case in some pockets of modern society. Some children are abused and neglected.

There are cases when preservation is vital. I believe it is very important to assist and support families to ensure mothers can raise their babies. In third world countries it is still common practice for mothers to opt for adoption due to having no resources. This is unacceptable in this time of abundance, education and wealth within richer countries. These mothers need support, assistance and guidance not simply an option of ‘tick this box’ for adoption.

When all is said and done, there are children in this world who currently need a home. There are children who are orphaned. There are children with family who are unwilling or incapable of raising them. There are children who are abused. In these cases, there is little doubt that adoption or guardianship is a positive step forward.

So why is it so difficult to adopt here in Australia?

It is no longer a social taboo to be a single mother. Thus, resulting in very low adoption rates in Australia. Furthermore, unplanned pregnancies are often terminated. Another element that leads to lower adoption rates in Australia is the welfare system that is in place. The welfare system ensures mothers and their children do not starve to death – a reality that still happens in impoverished regions of the world. 

Inter-country adoption is often favoured simply because the process is quicker. A typical wait is four years, as opposed to eleven years for domestic adoption. However the process of inter-country adoption is more expensive. The waiting game is long and not for the faint hearted. If you dislike paperwork, lack patience and freak out at tough questioning – forget it.

I wonder if the pendulum has swung too far against adoption? Why do we need celebrities like Deborra-Lee Furness to raise these issues? Well quite frankly, potentially adoptive parents are powerless. The government feeds off our weakness and expresses their distaste in our choice to adopt. According to Furness these negative undertones have long existed,

‘We haven’t done abandoned children well in our past, (including) the stolen generation of Aboriginal children’.

Ouch. This lady means business.

Whilst it is no doubt best and ideal for a child to remain in his home environment, in his own country and own culture. Sometimes there are situations when this right to grow up where we are born can not happen. In these terrible situations, let us support the people who are willing and desperate to open up their homes to these innocent children. Let’s stop making it impossible for people to raise the children who really do need a loving family home.

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About Alana Munro

Writer. Mama to three, wife to one. Red wine consumer.

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