Sunday, February 11, 2007

Matching Principle: It's About the Kids

I've heard it said 100 times by social workers. "We are not trying to find children for families. We are trying to find families for children."

In the process, putting the children first seems to be abusive to prospective parents. There are so many different ways in which families can get hurt in this process. In the list of ways a match can fall apart you can see how parents can get emotionally devastated. But if you can separate yourself from the situation and remind yourself that "it's not about you" it makes the process easier.

We tend to get tunnel vision when it comes to wanting children into our homes to the point that we don't put the kids first. A great example is when a local family is chosen for the children. Sure, we believe that we would have been just as good for the kids and it wouldn't be so hard for them to move across the country. But if a child is perfectly content in Florida and there is a family for them there, is Montana a better choice for them simply because I live there. Would moving across the country to a different climate with folks with a different style of living be best for the child? It may not harm them, but it's possible that allowing a child to be in a similar environment would be best for them.

Or what about a child who grew up in the inner city? Sure, we think our fresh air is preferable on our dairy farm, but what if the kid LIKES the city. What if that is familiar and comforting? If a child can stay in the same are where there are positive connections, might that not be best?

Some social workers take this to an extreme and sometimes almost mistreat prospective adoptive families. But there focus is going to be on what is best for that child, not how the "rejected" hopeful adoptive familiy feels. They know the children, we don't. They are going to do their very best to come up with the best option for them.

Yes, we are going to be upset when we are not selected. But we need to remember that it isn't about us. It's about the kids and THAT is how the workers will make their decisions.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Sure, Claudia, I agree these healthy folks should get over the disappointment of being not chosen, and get on with the job, BUT
I completely and totally HATE that phrase! Duh! Is there really anyone considering older child adoption who is ONLY THINKING OF THEMSELVES? Yeah, yeah—“it’s the child’s needs that count”, and okay, you’re “looking for families for your kids not kids for your families”, but it that any reason to be snotty? Oh yes, snotty! Claudia, you know my adoption journey was short and sweet, and I had a bunch of great professionals to work with and yet even I ran into the abrasive attitude that goes with the phrase “it’s about the kids”. Does anyone think about the fact that when a family is matched to a child, a child (or children) goes home? So ‘who is more important’ is a moot point! Also, why on earth would anyone in the business of finding homes for children antagonize a willing family? After all, "little messed up kids", as I'm fond of calling them, are A GLUT ON THE MARKET and people who want to give their hearts, time, and worldly goods in the hope of helping them are the SCARCE RESOURCE! Had to rant, this bugs me SO MUCH. Heather