I read this article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday (22 Jul 2015) with both mixed emotions and beliefs. The article by Kerry Chikarovski, Lobbyist & Political Commentator, outlines the decline in adoption in Australia, and ways in which the declining statistic could be changed – to the benefit of both the child and prospective parents. Ms Chikarovski also looks briefly at the negative impact that multiple out of home care (foster care) placements can have on a child, and I think that we would all agree that a child does in fact need and deserve a stable and loving environment in which to thrive.
Having been removed from my own natural parents and placed into a home at an early age, but never having been formally adopted, I believe I am uniquely qualified to make comment on such a topic. I was one of a select few that were lucky to have been loved by the people that were my guardians, but the truth is I would not have had the love, stability, opportunities or happiness had I not been removed from natural parents and put into a type of foster care. If there is even a question that staying in the care of natural parents is not in the best interest of the child – then that child should be removed immediately.
Adoption is a far greater issue than standardising adoption laws and screening processes for easier adoption ability as suggested by Ms Chikarovski, however I am not suggesting for one moment that this is not a wonderful way in which to move forward with this process. What I would say though, is that the same process should be applied to applicants of the out of home care/foster care system. Adoption laws in our country are very strict when considering the type of applicant and the environment prospective parents can offer a child, but in my opinion, the same rules do not seem to apply to placement of a child into foster care.
On the face of it, becoming a foster parent appears to be quite a regulated process, with many levels of screening, however I have seen some extremely inappropriate behaviour from foster parents towards a child in their care. How a child could be removed from one difficult situation and dumped into something that can be almost or equally as difficult, is beyond me. I have been witness to some appalling behaviour by foster carers toward their “charges”, and I have wondered long in to the night how some children survive at all, how they could possibly find any self worth which would enable them to succeed in life. In my opinion no child needs to be sworn at, hit and physically thrown around – that is not discipline!
Adoption rates have decreased in Australia for many reasons – two of which would be acceptance by society of pregnancy for anyone, at any age regardless of personal circumstances, and the opportunity for people to try for their own biological children through IVF programs. I believe that there is room for both adoption and foster care in our society, but please Ms Chikarovski, look at both sides of the equation, not just provide a headlining topic for publication. If you feel the need to look at standardising adoption laws between our States and Territories, then surely you should also be looking at standardising foster care rules and regulations. I would think that you would understand that children put up for adoption these days are in a vastly different category to those that need to be removed from harmful home situations, therefore they have an equal need and right for reviewing of regulations to ensure that they also are provided with a stable and loving environment in which to grow.