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I'm Happy Sandra Adopted Domestically -- I Did, Too!

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Michelle Kemper Brownlow: I had never given that much thought to domestic versus international adoption -- until we had our first foster-care placement.

Sandra Bullock

We recently celebrated our third child's second adoption day, and now I have an opinion.
I saw Sandra Bullock and her beautiful baby on the cover of PEOPLE magazine today, and when I read that Louis had been born in New Orleans, I have to say it made their obvious union a bit sweeter for me.

I have friends who adopted from other countries, and their reasons were personal and specific to that country from which they adopted. A familial or cultural connection to your adopted child is important. But if you don't have that reasoning, there are children in our own country -- hundreds of thousands of them -- who long for a family, too.

Slogans that support the "Buy Local" idea are pumped into our heads. Slogans like, "Bloom Where You Are Planted," "Eat Down the Street" and "Drill Here, Drill Now" can be seen a thousand times during rush hour. I sometimes wonder why the value placed on "homegrown" is overlooked when it comes to our most precious commodity.

We found numerous advantages to adopting domestically, cost being one of them. And of course, if you go the foster-care route (like we did), it is completely free. Travel costs for domestic adoptions are also kept to a minimum. Sometimes birth parents are out-of-state, but a roundtrip ticket to Utah is considerably more reasonable than a flight to Siberia. Newborns are more readily available in U.S. adoptions, which is a positive to many.

The available training that prepared us for difficulties that could arise (based on our son's specific situation) is the biggest reason I am thankful for our domestic adoption. This training and additional knowledge made bonding with him easier than if we had gone into it blind. Maybe if international adoption agencies would include this sort of comprehensive training, people wouldn't send their adopted children back on a plane with notes pinned to their shirts.

Thank you, Sandra, for adopting domestically. Not many celebs do -- but I'm glad you did. And so is Louis.


next: Rielle Hunter Tells All to Oprah
20 comments so far | Post a comment now
tennmom April 29, 2010, 4:03 PM

There are so many children here in the U.S. in foster care, so many getting their only meals at school. I suppose it is the “hey, look at me!” complex that urges people to adopt from outside the U.S., to send donations to feed children in other lands.

Michelle Kemper Brownlow April 30, 2010, 1:53 PM

tennmom,
i have to say, I worry about that, too…although I am sure there are SOME who do it for the right reasons.

when we first got our blond, blue-eyed foster child…my son…people were in SHOCK that he “was so cute and virtually problem free.”

It would make me so mad! We don’t get to PICK the children who implant in our womb so why would I feel it was a necessity to get to CHOOSE an adopted child? They are ALL gifts! Beautiful, swee gifts!

Suzanne May 6, 2010, 8:17 AM

Adoption is a wonderful way to form a family. All children deserve a family, no matter their birth country. While I understand the need to promote domestic adoption, why insinuate that those who adopt internationally are insensitive to the needs of children in the US. The decision to adopt is a private one. The decision about how to go about adopting is just as private and should be exempt from any kind of scrutiny. After all, no one goes up to a pregnant woman and scrutinizes her choice to give birth to a child rather than adopt. So why does it happen to families formed by internationally adopted children? That we are neglecting kids here? What about the hundreds of thousands of families who never choose adoption at all. Are they also turning their backs on domestic children?

How about just celebrating adoption for what it is… forming families… and leave the domestic vs. international debate out of it!

Kelly May 6, 2010, 10:56 AM

I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to adopt a child under 2 years old domestically - no matter what race - unless you are a young good-looking successful couple with no kids and a wife that will stay home (we are instead in our 40s, with a child and 2 careers). Or a celebrity, I suppose. We have been approved domestically for 2 years now and haven’t even been able to submit our profile for situations we learned about let alone were chosen by a birthparent. When we’ve waited for 24-48 hours to give them our full consideration (of whether it is a good match), we’ve been beaten out by other families who were ‘faster’. And most of these were trans-racial situations involving drug usage.

As we get ready to head to Kazakhstan to adopt our 2nd, I am comforted by the fact that we will be matched with the next child in line in need of a family rather than in competition with all the other waiting families.

We just renewed our domestic homestudy for another year, but frankly, we’re not holding our breath that we’ll be chosen by a birthparent so we’ll probably just be happy with two.

ChinaMom May 6, 2010, 2:56 PM

@tennmom: Yeah, and Sandra Bullock is NOT saying “Hey,look at me!” while on the cover of People? Excuse me? What a very ignorant comment! However, you really showed your lack of knowledge when you insinuated that US foster kids who get their only meals at school are so much worse off than orphans overseas. Really? At least they get meals! My daughter was almost 2 when we adopted her and only weighed 16 pounds, as she was extremely malnourished! Three years later, she still hoards food and hides cups of water under her bed in fear that she will not get any more! Unless you have visited a foreign orphanage and have seen the inhumane conditions under which these children are forced to live, you have no idea what you are talking about!

But, I guess we should not be so surprised at your ignorant comments , given the very ignorant and insensitive article they follow! Looks like Ms. Brownlow was too busy patting herself on the back to follow any solid journalistic practices! Has she ever adopted internationally? Did she interview any parents of internationally adopted children, in order to achieve a more objective article? Of course not!

One person does something stupid and sends her adopted child back to Russia alone, and now you want to imply that ALL parents of internationally adopted children would do the same. That’s ridiculous stereotyping And, BTW, we DO receive training and a very thorough home study before being allowed to adopt internationally….so PLEASE get your facts straight!

Why not report how many domestic adoptions are disrupted by bio parents who “clean up” their acts and want to regain custody of their children? THEN maybe your readers will understand the real reason most of us adopt from other countries!

Homegrown&ChinaMom May 6, 2010, 7:53 PM

We have been blessed to foster a beautiful little girl that we are so in love with. We also have a referral for a sweet little baby waiting for us in China. We will travel in a few weeks to go get her. While the paperwork and the wait has been difficult for our international adoption, it cannot compare to the painful process of foster care adoption. Maybe our experience is not the norm. Countless court dates wondering if this will be the time that our foster daughter will go back to a family that is severely abusive. It’s emotionally exhausting. You live in a constant state of fear that you will lose this child that has so firmly attached herself to your heart. International adoption is more expensive and the paperwork is a nightmare! However, if you can endure the wait, a child will be placed in your arms. With foster care adoptions, this is not always the case. Shame on this author for trying to sound so superior as if building a family through international adoption is somehow shameful and wrong! There’s nothing I would love more than to adopt our foster daughter. Too bad our judicial system makes it so hard to adopt children here that many parents look elsewhere to grow their families.

Michelle Kemper Brownlow May 6, 2010, 9:27 PM

Once again, I am commenting to ease the HEAT here @ MomLogic!

My article was simply informational… and yes (ChinaMom) I did interview families who have adopted internationally.

Please don’t put words in my mouth. I apologize that you read into my article what you did, it was simply stating facts about domestic adoption.

ChinaMom May 6, 2010, 11:47 PM

Thanks for your response, Ms. Brownlow, but I really did not find your article very informative. At best, it was an editorial based on your personal experiences and opinions, not FACTS, as there were no statistics referenced nor adoption experts quoted. If you did interview families who adopted internationally, then where were their quotes? An offhanded comment about them being justified in their decision to adopt internationally because they had a connection with the culture, yet a condemnation if they did not, hardly reassures the reader that you have done your research!

ChinaMom May 6, 2010, 11:50 PM

Thanks for your response, Ms. Brownlow, but I really did not find your article very informative. At best, it was an editorial based on your personal experiences and opinions, not FACTS, as there were no statistics referenced nor adoption experts quoted. If you did interview families who adopted internationally, then where were their quotes? An offhanded comment about them being justified in their decision to adopt internationally because they had a connection with the culture, yet a condemnation if they did not, hardly reassures the reader that you have done your research!

Michelle Kemper Brownlow May 7, 2010, 7:47 AM

I apologize if I have offended you. I think all adoption is amazing. My “heart srings” being tugged by Sandra Bullock’s adoption simply b/c of the connection I have with domestic adoption.

The people I have spoken to (whom I know personally) have adopted from China, Philippines and Russia and ALL have told me (and did NOT want to be quoted) they felt unprepared for the situations that arose and were amazed at the wealth of training we were given (through foster care) on issues most adopted children eventually have to some degree…sensory processing disorder, reactive attachment disorder, opositional defiance disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome…and the list goes on.

Thanks for your comments. Again, I apologize for offending.

ChinaMom May 7, 2010, 12:31 PM

That’s interesting that ALL of the parents of internationally adopted children you have spoken with have said the same thing. Even more interesting that, as a mom of an adopted Chinese child, I can tell you that I have felt 100% prepared for what I have had to deal with. I researched the issues (FAS is not one that often affects internationally adopted children, BTW. That is, generally, a domestic adoption issue.)that might affect my child thoroughly BEFORE going to adopt her. My family is also surrounded by other families who chose to adopt internationally, and I can tell you that not a single one has had problems they were not prepared to handle. So, it seems that you are either hearing what you want to hear or reporting it to achieve a certain slant for your article. Either way, with this comment, your readers now have a more balanced perspective of the situation.

themom May 7, 2010, 7:20 PM

Well said, ChinaMom! This woman should be ashamed of herself…not only for this poorly written and researched article but also for using her blog to slam those who dare to disagree with her. Very poor form, indeed. Does your “editor” know that you do that sort of thing?

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