By, Kiyyah Edwards
Over the years, reality television has placed a magnifying glass on the financially successful single, and married African American woman. Behind the expensive cars and lavish lifestyles, several of these women identified “biological clock” concerns and shared a common theme of teetering between how to address their infertility years by airing footage of consulting with OBGYN’s, informational meetings with fertility clinics, social hours with girlfriends discussing sperm donor possibilities, and girl talk commentary on how to freeze their eggs. Reality TV has allowed women who share similar experiences to take a front seat view of real issues, female celebrities that desire motherhood; yet face concerns of age, relationship status, and in some cases previous health risk that may not guarantee conceiving even with professional support and prescriptions.
TLC’s member- Chili, star of, “What Chili Wants”, Married to Medicine, R&B Divas L.A., Real Housewives of Atlanta, Tamar and Vince, and Basketball Wives have all touched the topic of motherhood in one way or another, yet rarely celebrated the idea of adoption as a an immediate second answer to their innate desire to mother a child. The story of “Being Black in America”, featured on CNN even exposed the real concerns of early to late 30 year old women face with regards to finding their soul mate or life partner in time enough to marry and start a healthy family in a traditional manner. While staying away from paradigm’s, stigma’s, statistics, and cultural factors that defined why God fearing, healthy, educated, and community involved African American women were unsuccessful at having an outpour of relationship options (or candidates for fatherhood), the “Being Black in America” CNN program spoke to the reality of why adoption should be a top solution to experiencing motherhood. With many taboo topics avoided in the African American community (as well as the Hispanic and Asian communities), myths and misconceptions tend to affect the reality of what is true concerning adoption, the process, the types of children to choose from, and the support a parent may have. To avoid the unknown, the best directive should be to research adoption and fostered programs and support groups locally—just to see what’s out there. San Diego based non-profit children’s program: Positive FACE (Fostered and Adopted Children Excel), is one of many programs that will serve in the role of advocating for increasing adoption rates while using a special three component designed curriculum targeting Academics, Social Development and Emotional Development that promises to uplift, encourage, and develop leaders of participants who are currently in the foster care system or has been adopted.
In celebration of National Adoption Day – November 22, 2014, not only African American women, but also women and men of all races, should educate themselves on adoption options. One common myth is that children in the foster care system likely suffer from a mental, emotional, or physical handicap. Many children in foster care are in the “system” because their birth parents weren’t protective and nurturing caretakers— not because the children did anything wrong or because there is something wrong with them, states (National Adoption Day, 2014).
Acknowledging that emotional distress burdens the strongest fostered or adopted child; Positive FACE will offer special social and emotional development workshops, accompanied with interactive activities that will encourage self-worth, integrity, and motivate a positive outlook on life. Second to concerns about the mental stability of a fostered or adopted child, is financial assistance. The truth is, families are still eligible for financial assistance after the adoption. Majority of children adopted from foster care can qualify for federal or state subsidies that aid in the offset of both short-and long-term costs associated with post-adoption adjustments. These benefits include monthly cash subsidies, medical assistance, and social services depending on current state programs. In efforts of addressing post adoption assistance, Positive FACE will extend participants exposure to the arts, music, museums, tutoring, college readiness, and life skills which have proven to be beneficial to children of all backgrounds and family dynamic.
Second to educating oneself, it is recommended to gain testimonies from parents who have traveled the same road. There will be events all over the nation opened to the public that will promote awareness and bring celebrations of National Adoption Day. Prospective parents are encouraged to participate as well as join on-going social media outlets where testimonies can be reviewed and conversations can be joined for curious potential parents.
The heart of the matter is simple – adoption options are a wonderful solution to a loving person (single or married) who is considering alternative approaches to parenthood. According to (National Adoption Day, 2014), there are more than 100,000 children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted, more than 23,000 children age out of the system that are never adopted, and the average wait time for a child to be adopted is about 4years. In celebration of National Adoption Day; Positive FACE (Foster and Adopted Children Excel) of San Diego, plans to open their doors to registered children during the same month. Founded by a once adopted child, Executive Director Gina Surgeon is excited to deliver workshops and activities to children ranging from grades K-12. The program’s goal is to assure all participants are geared for success while developing the necessary skills to pursue college or trade schools, strengthen leadership skills, and be equipped for young adult transition regardless of their circumstance. For more information, about Positive FACE and the upcoming events and interactive activities available to adopted and fostered children, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.positiveface.org/home. To learn more about National Adoption Day visit www.nationaladoptionday.org. More information about federal and state subsidy programs is available from the National Adoption Assistance Training, Resource, and Information Network helpline at 1-800-470-6665.