AltFem Looks at Adoption: Editor’s Letter on Summer Adoption Series

Photo by Kat Grigg:

Families come in different forms, that is an undisputed fact. No one family is the same and family life, or a lack of one, has a deep impact on who we are and who we become.

Over the next weeks, AltFem will be exploring the subject of adoption from various angles. As with many issues we discuss, we might come up with more questions than answers. Adoption isn’t the first idea that pops into your mind when you think about feminism, or women’s issues. But about 6% of married women are infertile, and 12%, married or not, will have difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term. This is an issue that overlaps with women’s lives as young children or adults, either because men are perceived as silent partners in the adoption process or because there are more girls being adopted than boys. In between both of those is the consideration that unmarried women also adopt. Adoptive single parents are usually female and adopt older or special needs children.

Who would have known ten years ago that adoption would still be a controversial subject? That it could be cast in shameful or negative light? Days ago, a commentator on a major news network brought these questions to the forefront of the discussion on the Olympic games when he stated gold medalist Simone Biles’ adoptive parents were not really her parents. The emotional onslaught of online commentary that followed was a sign that there is a deep misunderstanding of both adoptive children and their parents. Intentional or not, none of the mainstream coverage discussed Biles’ faith as a child and that of her family.

The rights of a child, or [the notion that there is a] right to a child, will surely be the subject of various conversations in the fall. Instead of focusing on those angles, we want to discuss the role of religion in these conversations; how faith affects adoption and the decision to adopt, or how religion has affected access to adoption services. These parts of the discussion will surely not be at the top of your Twitter feed, but they find their home here, at AltFem.

Photo Credit: Kat Grigg

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