R called me this morning to inform me that she'd just found out some kids at her school were about to be up for adoption. She's known these kids for a while, as they have somehow managed to follow her path as she's taught at three different schools. Each school she moves to, they're there. Anyway, it's a sibling group - three kids (two boys, one girl). They're African-American, have a very loooooooooong history of being abused/neglected/etc., and the youngest is five years old. R says they're great kids and very sweet, but I don't know them outside of the few wretched stories I've heard about their family.
It looks as if the sibling group will be split up. Child care services is trying to adopt the boys out as a pair and the girl out alone, unless by some miracle, some family is willing and able to take all three (which isn't us, by the way). R, at least this morning, was flipping out at the chance to adopt the little girl, Z.
The thing is this: We still have a chance at pregnancy. The doctor has a new plan for us and says things with R look promising. I hate to forfeit this and if we adopted Z, that's what we'd have to do, for now anyways. And, if I'm being honest, I'm not sure I want a five year old. I could change my mind after giving it some more thought, but right now, in this very instant, I'm having a hard time saying "yes". Plus, the fact that she's been abused and neglected - it makes me sad, but call me selfish - I'm not sure I want to take on a kid who has all that baggage.
The other thing is, and I don't want to offend anyone - I'm not sure adopting an African-American child is the best thing for us. We're already a minority family, living in the South (not the most accepting place), and I don't want to make things any harder for a child than they might already be. And I think for a child of five years old to come into our home, after being raised and fostered in black homes, it would be really hard for her. Also, I'm not African-American myself and I don't have that culture that I would want to be instilled in my child. Is this wrong to feel this way? Seriously, share your thoughts with me!
Additionally, I worry that my family wouldn't accept an African-American child the way they would if I adopted a white baby. This isn't right and in no way am I making an excuse for my family, but the reality is that my mom will be 70 years old next year. There are some generational things there that would make it very hard for her to come to grips. Quite frankly, I don't care about that as far as my mom is concerned, but it would worry me for the child. I don't want my child to feel funny or unwelcomed because he/she is black and living in a white family where they are not completely loved by everyone. It's all so confusing.
Plus, I just have issues about foster care anyway. After R's call this morning, I looked up the child care services online foster/adoption listings, hoping to read about these kids. I didn't find them there, but I was able to look at a listing of 151 children. Out of those 151 children available, the youngest not in a sibling group was eight years old. And nearly all of the children have serious behavioral and/or mental and/or learning and/or physical problems. That's a lot for anyone to take on.
The part that really gets to me, though, is that the goal of child care services is to keep these children in their biological parents' homes. It doesn't matter if little Mikey has been beaten and burned and starved for six years straight - "momma" can say "this time is different" and off Mikey goes, back home to a disaster. I can't bear the thought of getting past all of my issues, taking a child, loving them, and then having them ripped from my home. Sure, some folks will say, "But it's not about you." To that, I say screw it, because when that child leaves and goes back home, it's damaging for them, too. What good is providing a loving home, if the child is just going to be taken away in the end? Isn't that, in some way, more damaging to the child? I think so, but that's just me.
There are so many things to think about and so many questions. I want to see these kids find loving homes and certainly, we'd be loving parents, but I'm just not sure this is the right thing for us. I'm not saying no, but I'm not saying yes, either. I just need time to think, think, and then think some more. Comments, please!