…to raising other folks’ children. I’ve been sitting on this one ever since I saw the CNN article about black women adopting as single parents. This commentary might be even more unpopular than the one about taking relationship advice from men. Probably not a smart move a week before my new book comes out, but hey, I’ve never been one to avoid controversy.
From time to time I get emails asking if in light of the dire marriage statistics for black women and even worse ones for children in foster care, if it’s a good idea to simply adopt a child. I always tell them, it depends on what you want. If all you want is a child, and not a husband, then by all means adopt as a single parent, with the understanding that you’ve greatly increased the likelihood that you will never get married.
I have to assume that black women have given up on the notion of marriage altogether. Nothing else could possibly explain why we would even consider doing something that will greatly decrease our prospects of finding sustainable relationships. Look, men are looking for playmates, not a problems. They want someone who’s going to make their lives easier, more fun and add value to it. Children are a liability mighty clouds of joy not an asset, especially when they’re not yours. Nobody but a fool goes out taking on ADDITIONAL liabilities mighty clouds of joy that they don’t have to. I’ll give it to you straight: your salad days are very brief. And nothing kills your looks like running around after a bunch of bad-ass children. Nature gives you your best looks when you’re young and fertile to help you attract a mate and perpetuate your gene pool, not for slaving over children that aren’t yours. Don’t waste the pretty, trust me, it’s all too brief. It’s one thing for a man to see a woman wearing herself out to perpetuate HIS gene pool. Quite another to see her doing the same for kids that aren’t even his, OR hers.
As I read the CNN article I came to a realization that someone at that network seriously has issues with black women. By doing the article that they did, they reinforced the notion of black women as unlovable creatures fit only to raise other folks’ children. What does that sound like to you? Sounds like a return to slavery to me, complete with brainwashing and propaganda to convince black women to take on even more bullshit that’s not our problem. I also shudder to think about all the black women out there who are struggling with a martyr complex thinking that this is a good route to take. In my opinion, not so much.
First, I worked in social services for years. I’ve seen plenty of black women worn out trying to raise other folks’ children. Some of those women were in my own family. Raising other folks’ children is significantly harder than raising your own. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. It simply is. I’m sure an anthropologist could explain why, but I’m here to tell you from experience that just being in the foster care system is enough to make a child crazy, and no matter what they’re always going to want their biological family. Call me a selfish bitch, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to feed a child for 18 years only to be told that they want to go find their ‘birth mother.’ Yes, it’s a shame, yes it’s a pity and I feel sorry for those children, but not sorry enough to bring them to my home and risk my own family and happiness.
I understand that the notion appeals to the matyrdom complex that so many black women labor under. We’ve been pushing our own needs aside for generations in the interest of maintaining the black community. Well guess what ladies, that black community so many of us are so invested in, doesn’t give a good hot rabbit’s foot about us. If you believe otherwise, just witness the reaction in the community to the atrocities that are visited on black women on a daily basis. Our rapists are given scholarships to Morehouse. Our civil right’s organizations, yeah, the same ones funded and carried by us march on behalf of those who commit crimes against humanity in our homes and murder our children. It’s well past time to stop drinking the goddamned Koolaid and start thinking about our own survival.
We have been conned with the notion that if somehow we manage to ‘save the race’ we’ll finally earn the love and respect we deserve. Uh no. You earn respect by putting your own needs first. When you spend all your time carrying water for others, they come to expect it as their due. They assume that you’re behaving this way because you’re less than they are and they treat you accordingly. Nobody loves a doormat, and that’s what black women become when we take on responsibilities that are not ours. Face the truth, most of the children in the system are the children of black men. Do you see them lined up trying to take on other folks’ children? Again, that would be no. Take a memo and behave accordingly.
44 thoughts on “Just Say Next…”
I don’t know Roz. I see chicks with kids that get more play than I do..and I’m not saying that to be facetious.
when i first read the CNN article, i assumed the reason the women chose to adopt was because they had given up on finding a partner. this post is very insightful.
p.s i can’t wait to read Pussycat Death Squad!
Tiffany, could you define ‘getting play?’ Are these women finding husbands or bedmates? I mean I can pick up a man on any Saturday afternoon at Home Depot. How many of them will be willing to take me and my child on? Certainly most quality men aren’t interested in raising other folks’ children. They might do so if they really want the woman, but to me, it’s always foolish to take on things that will diminish your options.
I’m really tired of CNN and their shaming black people in America specials. They offer no facts or statistics in that article. Only subjective opinions, and conjecture that the men are all no good and the women only want to adopt light skin babies. The sole purpose of that article was to say black people hate each other and hate themselves. There was no actual information on the adoption process.
I had considered adoption but I’ll probably wait till I am past my child bearing years before I really look into it. Maybe it is better to be single, travel, have lots of friends, and have pets then be burdened with children.
Yes there are men who seek out single parents to date but they make me paranoid, I worry that they are molesters. I have also seen examples of men with children only wanting childless women.
My mother has made herself broke and stressed trying to help her siblings kids and grand kids. I have already learned by example that people take and take and feel entitled to your help. I have a very low tolerance for manipulative abusive free loaders.
CNN is seriously going to make me shank somebody. I mean first they say we’re unlovable and can’t find men. Then they say that even if we have men we can’t make babies. And to top it off, even when we get babies we’re psychotic enough to choose them based on their skintone. I was going to address all this in the original post, but it was already running absurdly long, so I backed off. Plus I’m on deadline. I might have to go there later.
BLACK WOMEN = UNLOVABLE INFERTILE PSYCHOTIC. Major fail CNN.
“Sounds like a return to slavery to me, complete with brainwashing and propaganda to convince black women to take on even more bullshit that’s not our problem.”
What do you suppose the motivation for this is? Ratings? Or do you think there is something deeper?
Right now I would have to go with ratings. Certainly the BIA2 is inspired by ratings. Obviously these shows aren’t for black people. Apparently a lot of non-blacks think they need a primer on black people and are watching this mess. Goodness knows, they can’t say anything positive about black folks. Can’t have white supremacy undermined, so they trot out this foolishness.
Okay since Tiffany brought up a general relationship, I will say my piece. My daddy took on two children with my mother, a 4 year old and a 3 year old, me. They have just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary. Not only took her on, but took on a black women as he was/is Puerto Rican. This was the man that raised me while my father got ghost. This was the man that sat proudly as I gave my speech as my 6th grade Valedictorian. This is the man that was at my high school and college graduation. This is the man who took out a loan to pay for my wedding and walked me down the aisle. This is the man that was ready to mount up when he heard me arguing with my live in boyfriend on the phone. This is the man that rounded up his possee and completely moved me into my first apartment while I sat at his house doing a Coast Guard promo video. This is the man I call daddy and the man that says he loves me every time we get off the phone. No he never officially adopted us, no I don’t carry his name, but that’s my DADDY cause he took on my momma with two little crumb snatchers at her knees.
Cbean, I think we all know what they say about exceptions. Never did I say that NO MAN would take on a woman with children. I said MOST MEN, and given that the women who are writing me are saying that they’re experiencing difficulties finding decent men to date, I’m discouraging them from taking on additional liabilities that might make their quest even harder. Obviously, there are and always will be exceptions to any rule, but when you’re searching for a needle in a haystack, dumping on more hay is unlikely to make your job any easier.
I agree, the term ALL was never used, however, like I said earlier I wasn’t going to respond since your post seemed more geared to adopting a child and then still wanting to get married. However, I really don’t see how adopting a child is any more of a liability (I don’t care for that word) than having a biological child when it comes to getting a husband, because in either situation the child is NOT HIS. Doesn’t matter where the child came from. So if a single woman who adopts a child is in the same room with a divorced or even widowed woman with a child who is more “marketable”? I’m thinking from the male perspective they are on equal footing, they all come with a child that is NOT HIS. I really don’t see how adopting a child makes you any more less marketable. This day and age is full of children out of wedlock, so no one side should feel the other is lugging liabilities.
In my mind, it’s not an issue of whether it’s MORE or less of a liability. When you adopt a child, you deliberately go out and seek that liability. Presumably a woman who has given birth to a child whether she’s widowed/divorced/OOW or whatever has no choice in the matter. It’s not like you can send them back once they’re here. At that point, marketability or not, you’ve got a kid. That’s a wholly different story from deliberately going out and handicapping your marketability on purpose.
IMO, it’s in your best interest to minimize your liabilities as best you can. I think that’s only savvy marketing.
When this article was published, I was hoping to find some more thoughtful discussion from black women about it besides the usual suspects… I’m glad to see it taking place here.
My biggest concern about this whole issue is that single parent adoption is being pushed as an alternative “norm” for black women who haven’t found a husband by a certain age. This is a popular topic on black message boards, and many a late 20-something will say that she plans to adopt by say, age 35, if she isn’t married yet.
Even my mother, who means well but seems to not think more deeply about the repercussions of longterm singleness among black women, said once that if I didn’t get married by a certain age and wanted to adopt, that was an option.
I EMPHATICALLY told her that it was NOT an option for me and that I would exercise every possible avenue I had to find a marriage-minded man, marry him and then WE would plan OUR family together. (Note, I am in my early 30s, so I said this very recently.)
My mother didn’t bring it up again, and she said she understood.
MARRIAGE is important to me. Having a child would be great, but the idea of a FAMILY with a mother, father and THEN a child is how I plan to go about it. I will not even entertain the “what if you don’t get married/get married in time” question because if I’ve learned anything in the last two years, it’s that getting married does not have to be seen as unlikely as finding life on Mars.
The 28-year-olds wondering about single-parent adoption at 35 would be better served using those seven years refining their dating practices and finding a marriage-minded man. Black women who want to marry are not doomed to singleness… and NO, single parent adoption should absolutely not be accepted as the equal “Plan B” for the educated and financially successful black woman who “never could find a man.”
That is a DANGEROUS path that we’re treading here.
No way am I adopting a child who isn’t mine, no how. Sorry, I know it may sound cruel or selfish but it is tough enough rearing your own biological kids, why would you want to venture into unknown waters with another persons? Adoption has too often turned out to be a thankless task and if the child messes up their lives you will forever wonder if it’s because you screwed up or they were too screwed up from the outset. Not to mention some research (please don’t ask me to quote exact data, papers etc, LOL) has shown that most sexually abused kids suffer this at the hands of non-related family members especially stepdads. Also why be a single parent if you can avoid it? I concede that if a woman is past childbearing age and finding a life partner is no longer a priority then go for it – which still begs the question about what her motives are at this stage. I guess the bottom line is do it if you really want to care for another child, do it only for the righest of reasons.
Sorry to veer off topic but in a similar vein I also worry about Zahara Jolie-Pitt – her being the black kid with white/Asian siblings and white parents. Question is – who does she identify with? Even Maddox has another Asian brother (I forget his name now) – someone who LOOKS like him and he can feel a sense of kinship with, the white kids have each other plus of course Mum and Dad but who does Zahara have? I mean, it’s all fine and dandy now that she is little and her siblings are innocent and all are largely protected from the big, bad, real world but how is she going to deal with the realities of race and colourism when she is older and sees her blonde, blue eyed siblings get more respect, attention and play than her? How are the parents preparing her for this. This is why I firmly beleive children should be adopted only by prospective parents of the same race. The Jolie- Pitts are well meaning but a tad too idealistic IMO.
If the tabloids are to be believed, and despite their reputation many of them are right more often than they are wrong–the Jolie-Pitts plan to adopt another child from the Ethiopia. Of course, the tabs could be wrong, but either way celebrities situation is wholly different from that of regular folks. Mia Farrow adopted fifty-eleven kids and it doesn’t seem to have hampered her ability to find a mate, of course even she wound up with a pedophile as well. It pays to be wary.
Roz what about women who truly desire motherhood? You seem to not be addressing that. Are black women who want to raise children but are unable to find suitable mates supposed to lose out on both ends? Also I think adoption is a better option then creating another fatherless child.
This is an interesting post! I had a situation years ago within my own family involving my two twin nieces before I was married. I was in a long term relationship with a very wealthy Eastern European man and my mother was actually pressuring us to get married specifically so we could adopt my two multiracial (Black, Sioux, and White) nieces. Her premise was at least they were family and multiracial so the girls would have resembled my ex and I anyway. Shockingly enough, he agreed to it! He did not come from a big family and wanted at least 3 children. Well, I was the one that said “no thanks” to it all. At the time I had just turned 30 and I was only starting to think about possibly marrying him and having my our children. It all just seemed like a bit too much! 😦 Sadly, I do think my mother still is secretly upset about my decision not to do as she asked in reference to the girls. Currently, my father is now in the process of getting custody of the girls and it is not going well. But, I guess I agreed with you in that way. I also was not prepared for a “ready made” family even if they were my brother’s children.
@K.M. Actually I think I addressed that with my very first sentence: You have to make a decision, do you want a child or do you want a husband AND a child. That’s your decision to make and I can’t make it for you. Just make it with the understanding that in all likelihood you’re greatly lessening your prospects of finding a husband.
Wow K.R. if this doesn’t pertain to you, why are you so angry. And yes, unless you’re running a farm and need free labor children are LIABILITIES. You put far more resources into them than you will ever receive in return. As for the notion of them being ministries, well, for those of us who aren’t trying to be Jesus you can miss me with that. Children are sentient human beings with their own souls. You will spend a lot of time, energy and resources on them, most of which will not be returned. I have a son whom I adore, but I don’t have on any rose-colored glasses about child-rearing, or the social service system or the children in that system.
You must be new here, because if you bothered to read any of my previous posts you’d know I’m STRONGLY opposed to living with a man prior to marriage. It’s another one of those okey-dokeys I warn women against.
BTW, thank you for keeping your so-called ‘blessings.’ Personally I don’t want any part of whatever hate filled demon you seem to follow. Have a nice day.
I at one time thougt about adopting on my own and then decided against it swiftly. I too worked in the social services system. I did so as a CASA and let’s just say, you guys have no idea as to what some of those kids endure, what they will do etc. They want to be loved, but the flip side is that they are SO angry that they are/were not or that they were abused etc. and they act out on whoever they feel will care enough to stay and endure their rancor/anger. What I figured out is that they generally do not feel worthy of being loved and this is a LOT to fight along with the usual childhood/teen angst.
I may adopt in a private adoption with my future hubby who by the way I have not met as of yet. LOL. Raising kids by yourself IS a lot of work. My sis did NOT raise her kids(4)for the first 12 years of their lives and they are all like steps. My parents, my brother and I did co-raising and it was so much work, even with four people making it happen, and it was very thankless. These kids are now in their early twenties and you would think that we had nothing to do with raising them. They prefer their mother who is a friend to them. What can you do? Parenting is hard work, and I KNOW that I will have to have a husband to do it. No ifs, ands or buts.
Roslyn, thank you for this analysis. Black women have to stop and think before we act, rather than act and bemoan the unintended or unacknowledged consequences after the fact. While it is good to help others, we need to help ourselves first. We also need to re-establish the “norms” by which our lives will be lived. Rearing a child by yourself is no easy task, and we see daily reminders of how bad a job many single mothers are doing. Parenting a child into adulthood is a job meant for 2 people. And for some BW, adopting a child is a way of “copping out” of the difficulties of finding a mate – they can adopt and claim not to have time to date anymore, or not to want to introduce a stepfather into the mix, etc. Now, I’m not saying single BW should never adopt – I’m just saying be honest about what you truly want, know the risks and potential consequences, don’t use another human being to provide you with shelter or “cover” from from life’s realities (because it won’t work anyway).
This response is directed at KR. First of all, both my husband (music) and I (preschool) are teachers so we already happily spend our days with other people’s children. Thank you very much.
Next, I did NOT live with my ex. My husband that I married who had NO children when I met him at the age of 37 is the first man I’ve ever lived with. My ex and I each maintained our own homes throughout our relationship. Next, in reference to my brother’s children my father has quietly already been raising his oldest daughter for the last 15 years now. My niece is so confused about her existence, but my father and stepmother do the best they can for her. In addition, recently (May 09′) my brother called me with some “big” news and it was that he has yet another child out of wedlock with his “girlfriend” so that makes 4 children for him and 6 for her (all by different people). My brother and I do not have a super close relationship because of some of his habits, life choices that he has made throughout the years, and the way that he treats our parents (it is way beyond thankless) at this point! : (
No, I do not feel guilty about adopting my nieces. Because now there is yet another child (only a few months old) that neither he nor his girlfriend want to parent properly. FYI, I easily met numerous men of all races in their 30’s and 40’s without any children so I do not agree at all with your argument that most people have children. Each person is always entitled to their own opinion just like Roslyn is sharing here on her blog! : ) Everyone also has their own unique experiences in the world we live in and this is what makes us all individuals.
I had issues with the CNN article because of similar though slightly different reasons, but this has given me much food for thought. That’s why I love the Black women blogging community. Y’all challenge my thinking.
@GEM, more than anything on earth I want us to win, and we can’t win if we keep doing what we’ve always done. Thank you for stopping by.
In the real world today, there aren’t many men OR women for that matter who do not have children.
I missed this comment in KR’s post. Why is it that people assume that everyone is doing the same thing they are? I ran into the same thing when I talked about people having children OOW. People assumed that if I didn’t have children OOW, then I must be a baby-killing whore. It seemed like a foreign concept to them that people make conscious decisions and reproductive choices and then act accordingly. I too had little problem meeting men who didn’t have children. Of course, I never limited myself to one race of men. Perhaps that’s the problem some people are encountering, I have no idea. I know when I was single I didn’t want a man with children, and I know had I had a child, I would’ve been a lot less likely to have met and married the man I did.
In my opinion that statement is age based. I would say between 20-28, you will probably have more of a chance of finding a mate with no children, but once you cross over 35, the possibility of finding a childless mate (for whatever reason) diminishes significantly. It’s just a matter of time and folks having lived life.
@Cbean, you might be right. I was still dating in my thirties, but have to admit, I paid little attention to men with children, so I have no real reference point. I got married at 35, but I still know men in their thirties that don’t have kids. Maybe it’s just the geeks I hang out with.
This was sooo thought provoking. I have a friend right now who is trying to get preggers by any means nec. As someone pointed out, this is just a cover.
As far as dating, I am in the DC area. My dating pool isn’t filled with men (or women) with kids. My pool is also 30-38. They were conscious about not reproducing.
In dating, you want to stay marketable. Hell, you want to stay marketable even in marriage. The most sought after men do not want women with kids. The most sought after women don’t want men with kids. Now, if you want to date in a pool OTHER than the one I date in, then sure, you’re likely to find people dating mates with kids but only because those are the options they have before them. They don’t have the option to select based on kids. Further, they believe everyone has kids because that’s the pool they have access to.
I want a traditional FAMILY–none of this new fangled BS. I grew up with one so why the hell would I start my kids off with LESS than what I had? When women say they want a kid, they always use ‘I’. They never talk about what what’s best for the children unless pressed on the issue. They’ll tell you that ppl who don’t have kids are selfish. But it’s equally selfish to want a kid when we know kids from single parent households have higher rates of every negative thing around. As a matter of fact, it’s more selfish because you’re using another person for your selfish needs.
Its my first time commenting although I have been a lurker for sometime now. I am a great fan of your writting!
I read your statement below and it hit a chord in me:
“And yes, unless you’re running a farm and need free labor children are LIABILITIES. You put far more resources into them than you will ever receive in return.”
I find it difficult comparing children to items on a balance sheet. I tried to analyse it this way; as a parent you put in your assets in form of cash you spend for expenses, the right raw materials and tools to mould them into good respectful individuals, the benefits still far outweigh anything else Especially if you factor in the benefits of the love and joy that is shared between children and their parents.
Okay, let me explain this word liability in this context. Of course, your children are not a liability to you because you love them and there are intangible benefits from that. However, other people don’t love your children, and they most assuredly will see them as a liability.
I’m not going to say anything about this post, other than to comment on children being liabilities. I, like Shyla, find it difficult even thinking of Aidan as a liability. I’m not running a farm, nor to I need free labor, and yes I put a LOT of resources into Aidan. But everyday that he wakes up with a smile on his face and tells me he loves me? That is return after return after return on my investment.
Maybe I will say something else. In regards to “other peoples children”. All children on this earth belong to GOD. And if He sees fit to select me to raise any one of them, regardless of their earthly parentage, I will do what is asked of me. No questions, no worries about what a man may or may not accept.
We can all live in “The Land Of Pretend” or deal with reality for what it is…Roslyn places the spotlight on the situation at hand…In life, there is a column for assets and another for liabilities…Intentionally or subconsciously, others size us up for one of the two…We do not (maybe so?) have to get into too many specifics…When setting and aspiring towards goals, we all have to place certain actions in those categories…Ex:
-Is this purchase going to further or hinder my long term goal of achieving X ?
-Do the people I call my friends are just that…Or do they drain my emotions, time and other resources?
-Is Mr Mann about anything having to do with a future?
-Will this employee be an asset to my company?
Unfortunately many Black woman have been programmed to turn off their asset/liability instinct…Being a ‘Florence Nightengale’ type may garner praise, but look at the entire picture…Order your steps to coincide with relevant aspirations…Career, financial, networking, interpersonal relationships, etc …Bottom line: Each action either brings one closer or further away from a goal…Think about that before acting…
Peace and blessings Roslyn:
Found this article by way of Muslim Bushido!
SPOT ON Roslyn: I’m saying that as a black woman that experienced both foster care, and adoption—and in my adulthood had a brief stint working as an intake clerk for my county’s human services division.
Here are some of my thoughts Roslyn:
My adoptive [PARENT’S] just recently adopted a bi-racial child, and are still foster parenting (emergencies, short term, respite) four bi-racial children who are supposed to be returned to their biological parent within one year. Only one mother is black, and the other children came directly from the hospital to my parent’s home. Being a former human services worker, I know you know what that means…
Another angle to consider within this discussion is this:
2) My mother has told me on several occasions within the last three years that adoption disruption rates are INCREASING for black children, and bi-racial children who were adopted by both white and Hispanic families. Social workers would flock to my parents home to place the bi-racial children because they wanted them to be in a good family so that would be adoptable, “lovable”, and marketable to prospective white families. My mother has had four cases in a five year period where these children have rebounded from adoptive parent to adoptive parent. By the time they are placed with a single black mother, black foster family for permanent placement, or a religious fundamentalist white family, they have had a good two to five disrupted adoptions.
Roslyn, you should not be SHAMED for calling it like it is: the majority of men don’t prefer or care for raising other men’s children in GENERAL ( do we really need to go law enforcement websites to pull the stat’s on children murdered by their mothers partner or partners? HELLO people?) Well rounded or quality men don’t attract “special needs” cases to themselves because it’s VERY stressful, disruptive, and expensive. Some mental illnesses, physical disabilities, and health problems are so severe that these adoptive children end up right back in the state custody but this time in an institution and not a foster home—the few adoptive parents that do keep them are heavily financially subsidized to do so.
Adoptive parents dissolve their marriages too—they are human like the rest of us—and those women DO return the children, while the men are NO WHERE to be found, and WILL terminate their own parental rights upon re-marriage, because they are trying to protect their resources.
So if a single woman who adopts a child is in the same room with a divorced or even widowed woman with a child who is more “marketable”? I’m thinking from the male perspective they are on equal footing, they all come with a child that is NOT HIS. I really don’t see how adopting a child makes you any less marketable. This day and age is full of children out of wedlock, so no one side should feel the other is lugging liabilities. CBEAN
There is a silent rule when entering into readymade or mixed families and it’s this:
If a woman has a child or two, most well rounded men expect her to have those children in check (read: we hear and obey mentality) and most well rounded men expect that despite the termination of the marriage be it divorce or death, that those children, especially boys, have been properly home trained, and will not make HIS life stressful, disruptive, or burdensome. That she enters the relationship with not only a solid parenting footing but that she enters the relationships with whatever resources she gained during her previous marriage—even if he will be financially supporting her, and her children. If my dh died today,(May the Almighty forbid) I would be able to bring our insurance, property, savings, education, in addition to a child who is being reared properly according to our religious and cultural values.
*When you adopt children, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box. Because you don’t know the social, medical, and behavioral history of not only the child BUT IT’S FAMILY of origin you cannot guarantee that you can control them because you don’t know what you are working with. You are forced into a “wait and see” approach. This can be problematic: you could marry someone when you adoptive child was say 9 or 10. We all know adolescent is crazy! On top of that your adoptive child could start behaving in ways that signal mental illness, sexual abuse etc. Unlike the example, I gave above; you can’t necessarily guarantee YOUR role in the process as the mother. You CANT change or control what you can’t acknowledge!
Something else that is not being mentioned is the assumption that when women and men who have children look to re-marry is that they don’t screen each other’s children—not in a “I’m God’s elect” way but to determine if certain behaviors, illnesses, and problems would overwhelm them—and their children.
Just something to think about.
Peace and blessings Roslyn:
I’m sorry to thread hog but I also wanted to add that I’m NOT in any way condemning what another adult chooses to do with their life. I’m NOT condemning foster parenting, and adoption. But I believe that people should know ALL of the facts before signing up for something that could terminate their own marriages, exhaust all of their financial resources, exhaust their mental and emotional resources, cause unnecessary and unnatural sibling rivalry, and for some, close off opportunities for marriage/re-marriage.
I realize that proponents of single black women adopting feel like they half to choose between two of the lesser of evils but the problem is these are often non-black folks who aren’t conscious or aware of the many issues we are discussing in our communities. They don’t understand that they are perpetuating and enabling the behavior. They don’t understand how many of those children will not MARRY and create STABLE families THEMSELVES—especially the boys.
I’m GRATEFUL, I was adopted—and was adopted as a teenager. I could not and will not sit up here, and pretend it was a rain boy and gay experience for my adoptive parents who adopted five prior to me. There WERE and ARE definite stresses on my family. I will say that, having a farther in my life just FEELS differently. Experiencing all forms of protection, discipline, and tough love from a farther just isn’t the same as a mother. They are both important. If it weren’t for my father’s example, I probably wouldn’t have had any foundation or model in choosing my husband.
Thanks for this post, Roslyn, and pulling no punches. As I mentioned on Khadija’s blog, I’ve always considered adoption as an option in case my husband and I couldn’t have our own (children, biological or not, has never been part of my life blueprint in my current status as a single lady). I know the focus is on single women who look to adopt as a Plan B, your thoughts have been helpful in terms of being circumspect about adoption in general.
Mighty Clouds of Joy!
This was really eye-opening. I used to think I wanted to adopt a child because I had a neighbor who was in foster care and I’d always felt bad that she didn’t have one home. I had no idea of the reality and the potential for problems. Of course I was 10 years old and have kept that 10 year old wish to erase my friend’s pain in my heart. This changes everything.
Adopting is a gift, like teaching, like preaching. Not everyone can do it. I know I can’t teach and I can’t preach. I am single and have been so extremely blessed to adopt 3 beautiful children.
I’ve wanted to adopt since I was a teen and this dream stayed with me until it became a reality. Does me having children limit the men who ask me out? Yes, but the man that God created for me will be man enough to ask me out with three children standing by my side. Will this man come around while my kids are little? Or when they become teens? Or when they become adults? I don’t know, but I know if God means for me to marry again this man, specifically created for me, won’t be coming into my life a moment before he is meant to.
I know it’s extremely difficult for people who aren’t blessed with the gift to adopt, to understand adoption, which is why this blog and the comments are so off the wall. Most of you just don’t get it.
What has always struck me as strange is people asking how can you love a child that is not biologically your own, yet seemingly these same people aren’t married to their cousin or brother. Love grows and stregthens with knowledge and time.
I didn’t love my ex from day one, just like I wasn’t madly in love with my adorable son from the first moment I saw him, but overtime I was heads over heels in love with both.
As for adopting from foster care, I’ve been there, done that and that is not a journey for the faint of heart. I naively thought Department of Children and Family Services’ job was to protect the children, but I discovered it’s all about the parents and their rights and sometimes that means the children are screwed over and hurt, time and time again. It breaks my heart. But that’s the imperfect system we have to work with. And my hats off to the foster and adoptive parents who foster and adopt the truly hurt children, who open their hearts and homes to the sibling sets, the older children, the children with medical and psychological issues.
And as for Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt having parents who love her and would die for her, siblings to grow up with, having grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, belonging to a family is more important than living in an orphanage with people who “look” like her.
Some years back my friend read an ad on the bulletin board at her local grocery store written by a 17-year-old college student, who was a foster child, she was looking for a family to adopt her. She said she wanted parents, a family, a place to come home to on breaks and holidays. Never once did she mention race because that’s the least of your worries when you don’t have a family to call your own.
Clearly you’re not the audience this post was intended for. If raising other folks children is your life mission, by all means, knock yourself out. My post was intended for black women who are looking at it as a Plan B if they don’t manage to find husbands or have children of their own. I’m saying to those women that it’s an incredibly bad choice.
While I respect your advice, I have to point out that if you adopt a child, he/she is YOURS – it’s not raising other people’s children. It’s adopting a child and raising it as your very own. I am seriously considering this. I am married, but have no children of my own.
I really wish this were true, and I’m sure from most of the parent’s perspective it is, from the children’s, at least from what I’ve seen, not so much. Even a cursory look around the internet shows the truth of this. You’ll find blog after blog, website after website of children, regardless of the quality of their adoptive or foster home, searching endlessly from the biological parents. I’ve talked to dozens of teenagers as they emancipated from foster care or were becoming young adults. The first thing they said they were going to do? Find their biological parents. Now this may not be an issue for some, but it’s a huge issue for me. It’s the main reason that if I were even to consider adopting a child only international adoption would do. And even then you have kids going back to their birthplace to find their parents, though, of course, they’re much more difficult to find. And with this notion of ‘open adoptions’ these days, you can literally have your child’s birth parents, regardless of their circumstances, in your life FOREVER. I make no apologies for being drama avoidant. I’m simply giving a heads up for those who might be entertaining this idea with rose-colored glasses. It’s not pretty and can literally kill you. It’s always a good idea to be prepared.
Just look at this if you don’t believe Roslyn and I have seen many more.