The debate about adopting across colour lines rages on but an even hotter topic of discussion is whether gay or [gay] single people should be allowed to do so.
This morning I was reading the Afropolitan magazine and came across the column by Alyn Adams, a white, gay, single male with African foster-kids. Never before has a point being made (in my opinion) so succinctly and intelligently pro adoption in all its various forms.
Simply titled Parents Wanted: Must Be Qualified in Unconditional Love, Alyn Adams looks at the issues still facing adoption in South Africa, and possibly around the world. I say 'possibly' because I'm not an expert in the process abroad. To adopt isn't easy. It would seem 'the system' is happier to have children sitting in homes with a process that is steeped in paper work and bureaucracy.
This system doesn't value the social workers who work tirelessly with little pay and not much reward. They can spend months on a case, removing a child from an abusive environment, only to have the child returned because the paperwork wasn't signed off or section 5.a.2.345 of point YUVDT234.78321 wasn't filled in correctly.
Two social workers, with over 40 years experience between them, who assisted us with Emma's adoption, have since resigned. The frustration with the red tape and the lacklustre attitude of provincial and governmental departments has forced them to look elsewhere for employment. And now RCW sits with over 180 cases of incomplete adoptions. Ben is one of them. The people who have filled the posts of 'our' social workers are not 'skilled' enough and do not have the experience to assist with this process. So we're now going the private route. Imagine if you will, all the experienced and skilled SW's resigning and positions being filled by 'inexperienced' people. What then? More red-tape. More frustration for those people simply wanting to provide a home and love to a child that needs it.
Part of the process, when adopting, is to submit payslips, bank accounts, etc. Mark and my monthly salaries (at that time) surpassed Roodepoort Child Welfare's monthly budget. For an organisation that services a large area of Gauteng they have one vehicle. Not per SW. One vehicle. That's it. Most families in SA have more than one car.
But I digress. Back to the column. According to Alyn there is still a stigma attached to adoption. Even in celebrity news stories, they always mention which child is adopted and which is biological. Why? Should we care? Can we not pick up the 'difference' ourselves? Whether the child is black. brown, pink with purple spots or green with orange hair, there's a simple yardstick to measure whether that child is 'yours': are YOU responsible for the child's welfare and upbringing? Are YOU fulfilling that responsibility? If the answer is 'yes', then you are the parent, that is your child. End of story. The biology is details.
In the article Alyn mentions a piece written by a rabbi when [lesbian] comedienne Rosie O' Donnell adopted a child and a friend of his (the rabbi) told him it was a shame that the child would grow up 'never knowing a father'.
The rabbi's first response was that without Rosie the child would grow up never knowing a mother either. And, he adds, that according to his faith, one of the greatest good deeds one can do is to give a child languishing in an orphanage a home with parents, or at least one parent.
"Who are you," he asks "to deny a child that kind of home because you believe the adoptive parents' so-called 'lifestyle' is immoral?" Or that cross-racial adoption is wrong, or that being raised by a single parent is wrong. He adds, "If you are so convinced of your moral rectitude, are YOU prepared to to adopt that child yourself to 'save'it from what you believe are inappropriate parents?"
Alyn Adams ends his column with an argument that I myself will be 'adopting' in future. "You don't like single-parent / gay / cross-racial / inter-tribal adoption? Well, how many kids have you adopted yourself then? None? Perhaps you should pipe down and let the people who are prepared to love, nurture and raise otherwise unwanted children to get on with it."