Yesterday I read an online article from CNN that carried the headline: Fewer children up for adoption in China. You can read the article at this link.
While generally an accurate story that fewer Americans are finalizing adoptions each year from China, I couldn't help but finish the article with a feeling of frustration. The reality is that there are thousands of children who need homes from China who have a special need, and those of us who follow adoption agency lists know that every month far too many children's files go back to China "unchosen". I read posts online all the time from parents who have seen a child's file or picture with an agency and who then plead for someone to please consider adopting that child before they lose their chance. That part of the story isn't often communicated publicly to the world.
I think one of the reasons that more and more children on waiting children lists do not find families is because of the growing feeling that China is no longer a good option for international adoption. While it is true that adoption through the non special needs path has slowed to 5 years, the special needs path to adoption is still a wonderful way to form a family, often in under a year. I am writing this, of course, as a mom who knows that calling the non special needs path the "healthy" path to adoption isn't always accurate. My son TJ, adopted through the waiting child path due to a limb difference, is as healthy as a horse and hasn't been sick in years.
I think the thing that bothers me the most with articles such as the one above is that they portray special needs adoption as a second choice. I wish more national newspapers and media outlets would promote special needs adoption for exactly what it is....a wonderful choice which blesses both the child and the parents. There are so many great children on waiting child lists who are waiting to be chosen TODAY. Perhaps if that positive message was communicated better through the media, we wouldn't have to hear yet again, "the child's file was sent back without finding a family. "
What are your thoughts?