Our local weekly rural newspaper has allocated a section to the “adoption pet” of the week. Oh, how noble or maybe cute, or sometimes sad, or maybe how silly each of these special pets look in their newspaper photo. Typically the picture has a “hard luck” story attached, or sometimes merely “We have no idea of the history,” and then there’s the, “been here so long and overlooked and just wants a place to call home.”
I suspect that I’m not the only newspaper patron that often heads for the “pet section” just to see how my heart reacts to the photo and write-up, knowing that we are not in the market to adopt. But it gives me a moment to pause and feel a myriad of emotions.
A month ago we did some traveling. I picked up a local newspaper. They also had an adoption section. There was the cute, but somewhat forlorn photo and the very detailed write-up about personality, needs, strengths, weaknesses and the plea for someone to come forth and adopt this CHILD. Small for her age of seven, sitting in a swing, looking somewhat sad, this African-American CHILD’s history and current needs were detailed right there in the newspaper.
Have we come to the point that we believe it is in the best interests of a CHILD to release her most vulnerable information in the newspaper? I was appalled that no one seemed to be aware that this CHILD has RIGHTS. The RIGHT to her own information. The RIGHT to her own DIGNITY.
I realize that the children in this country only came to be protected as a result of someone in New York City over a century ago declaring that a child was an animal. And animals had more rights than children, at that time. When it comes to the adoption process, have we have regressed to thinking of our most vulnerable, needy children in terms of “if it’s good enough for dogs it’s good enough for children?”
Every child who has the ability to form an attachment needs to be adopted by a loving parent. And loving parents should not make decisions regarding adoption based upon a public display of neediness.
Please, do not put children’s pictures in the paper. What responsible adult looks at a child’s picture, snaps their fingers and actually adopts that child? Please, if you are considering adoption, go to your local adoption agencies and seek out information. Talk to a child therapist, to discuss what kind of child would be a good fit for you and your family. Yes, it takes time and commitment, but there is a good reason why adoptive parents and adoptive children need all the interfacing they can get.
The rewards of adoption are priceless for both parent and child. But failed adoptions are horrendous–for everyone, especially the child. We need to do all that we can to honor the child and provide as safe, secure and loving environment that we can. A public photo with matching story for all to read is not a safe, secure, loving environment. It is no way to begin the arduous journey of adoption, for either child or parent.
I hope that if your newspaper has an adoption section for children, and does not respect the RIGHTS of the CHILD or understands the need for safety, security and loving environment, that you will take the time to write or call and educate that editor as to CHILD RIGHTS and CHILD DIGNITY.
Be gentle with our children–we all have the responsibility of providing a safe, secure and loving environment for all our children.