Do we really want Adoption Incentive Programs?

A request for supporting letters is being made by adoption-support groups:

ACTION ALERT: Ask Senators on the Finance Committee to act NOW to reauthorize the Adoption Incentive Program and help support adoption and relative guardianship

Today, more than 127,000 children and young people in foster care are waiting to leave the system – for good – to join permanent families. Every day without a permanent family feels like a lifetime to a child.

The bipartisan Adoption Incentives Program has helped more than 443,000 children leave the uncertainty of foster care to join adoptive families – but unless Congress acts now, it will expire on September 30, 2008. The House acted unanimously to reauthorize the Adoption Incentives Program in late June and included provisions to provide relative guardianship as an additional way for children to exit foster care for permanent families. Please join us in urging the Senate to act before August recess begins.

Senators on the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s foster care system, will play a key role in promoting safe, permanent families for our most vulnerable children. Please call your Senator if you are from the following states (which has members on the Senate Finance Committee):

Arizona • Arkansas • Colorado • Idaho • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Maine • Massachusetts • Michigan • Montana • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Mexico • New York • North Dakota • Oregon • Utah • Washington

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD BY forwarding this information to your friends, family, colleagues, and networks in these states and encouraging them to take action too.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't guardianship very different from adoption?  If so, how would an Adoption Incentive help maintain parental-rights [especially for those parents who are fighting to get their children back from foster-care]?


Relative guardianship

According to this article:

The Improved Adoption Incentives and Relative Guardianship Support Act of 2008 supports an  important pathway to permanence by allowing states to receive federal reimbursement for payments made to legal relative guardians caring for children for whom reunification with their birth parents or adoption are not options and who would otherwise remain in foster care.    The measure establishes a broad range of information and notification requirements for relatives once a child has been place in care and allows funds from the Adoption Incentive program to be made available to states that successfully help children leave foster care for permanent homes with relatives. 

The NCFA is pushing for it

The NCFA is pushing for it too, i'm very skeptical.


Realistically, given the profiting-side of adoption, which work-effort is more likely to get the most money in the most pockets:

adoption or guardianship?

It's very disturbing to me, but "ownership" of a title will always have it's perks and privledges.  The irony I see is adoption requires the breaking of a family, where guardianship adds assistance to a family torn by crisis, (making family preservation and parental reunification possible.)  Clearly "adoption angels" don't want guardian's on their side because that will mess-up their whole working system.

This is where the coined phrase "family values" confuses me.  It seems obvious to me not all families (or members within a given-family) are given the same value or worth in this world, and as a relinquished daughter, I find that to be quite sad.  [It's the most terrible feeling in the world to think no one in your entire extended family wants to keep you within the family-ties.]  I guess it's the money or status within a family that gives a person identity or value, making "child placement" a matter of final judgement.

And yet, God still insists on bringing new-life (through pregnancy and birth) to "bad families".  I suppose this is where the religious-right believes they are doing "God's work".  Correcting child-placement through adoption in this sense, makes good sense by ridding the bad, and rewarding the good!


"And yet, God still insists on bringing new-life (through pregnancy and birth) to 'bad families'  "

God is sovereign, IMO, and never makes a mistake.  To look at it from this point of view, we
can see that not every person, from time past until time ends (and eternity begins) will be
Heaven material (or even Meant to be in a "good home"). We are all born with the sinful nature of Adam. IMO
If Christ died for the sins of EVERY human being,  then EVERY human being is/would be bound for Heaven. 
Christ's death does what it was sent to do, and for whom it was sent for... JMO 

New life in bad/good families, IMO, is how it is supposed to be.  How would we know right from
wrong/good from bad, if there was only good (0r bad)?  God "insists" because He made the whole
plan and sees the end from the beginning.  The reason is, for us to know there is a difference and to
make a difference.

New life is born, IMO, with a destiny which includes both good and bad.  I don't think we have the power
to change destiny; only to make things better that are put before our eyes as needing better. That's why
I admire each one of you here for wanting better for children who suffer like you did/are.  And I can only
do that through changing me; ourselves are the only people we can change. 

"It's very disturbing to me, but "ownership" of a title will always have it's perks and privileges."  
If we are (title) a child of God; does it not have privileges for us, the owned?  The perks being
Heaven?  I know it can never be accepted that there are MORE and MORE children being with/in
bad families; there need to be more families who SEE the bad so it can be prevented.

I come at this as the bad family who is reaping what it has sown.  I take full responsibility for the
damage to my children, even if I did not directly abuse them.  I, and only I can change me and in
turn help my children; since the damage is already done. 

My 13 year old: spastic CP  moderate MR  is being placed in a state school because he has become
too dangerous for a home.  He is the product of a brother and sister (mother is MR), who wanted him
only until they found out he could not grow up and take care of his mother.  This is a cultural situation
and I'm not blaming them for taking him to the orphanage. 
His foster parents loved him but wanted a normal child to adopt (in VIetnam) and I have met that child.

By now, if left at the orphanage, my son would be prepared for living a life as a totally crippled beggar
on the street.  He is now having every effort made for him to have a life; much more of a life than Vietnam
or the biological family had to offer him.

The only reason to wish him back in his biological family would be to have never known the pain that is
his life.  He shows NO brain damage, yet he is MR/CP..... so what happened to him?  Did God intervene
on his behalf to GIVE him a life?  I prefer my pain, now, than for him to have been in the streets of Vietnam

The sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his adoptive brother is some of the evil that made this a
bad home!  But as I see him bounced from the first to the second foster home in one week's time; and then
to meet this last foster mother and hear her talk about him in front of him, makes me know the state hospital,
with all the resources will be the better placement for him.  He is totally out of control... whose fault is this?
God's?  Mine?  Biological family?  Foster home one or two?  Vietnamese foster home?  Or just maybe, is
this, when everything is taken into consideration, his destiny in this life, with Heaven his eternal destiny?

One Step Up From Bottom,

Mapping-out "God's destiny"

God may not make a mistake, but man sure as hell makes a lot of them!

I find it interesting that many within Child Placement services like to think of adoption is "God's Destiny".  Sadly, the outcome of your son's situation doesn't sound all that great to me.  A life on the streets or a life in an institution.... gee, sounds like a lame life is a lame life, no matter where it's spent.

I wonder which is worse, to be a beggar in Vietnam, or a mentally ill RAD in America.  Seems to me that's a burden that will become the state's, anyway.   

At least Vietnam - the country and it's leaders - got what it wanted:  one less unwanted burden on society. 

HEAVEN is the destiny I see for him

That's my point:  MAN goes in and changes all the details of what could have been a smoother life in Vietnam for him. 
Adoption was NOT my son's destiny, but the changes along the way TO his destiny.  His "outcome" here in America;
living in a state institution until he can be placed in a community with structured living close to his own home is just
another step toward his adoptive family.   In Vietnam there would be no steps toward the biological family.  His life
has lameness in it, but is not lame, because his mom loves him and is involved in his future.  I am changing, and
part of that change is my facing my role in his life as his mom.  I gave up my role in the other two's lives,  but not this

To be a crawling beggar on the streets of Vietnam would put you in the situation of accepting whatever is given you,
for whatever is asked of you...  With a mom in America who  is part of the decision making, and  part of his life, he
will not be left as a burden of the state.  He is headed for a  homelike placement where he will attend school and have
every orthopedic/medical help available.  There are NO foster homes or PMEC's  or people who can otherwise give
him the 24/7 care that he needs.  His situation comes from MY not being able to watch him 24/7; he has no boundaries
that he can comprehend as safety for all in the household.  He destroys what he touches.  He pees and poops where
ever he wants and whenever he wants.  He takes his clothes off outside (twice at this foster home).  He screams in
laughter at every inappropriate situation.  He steals and lies and has no way of understanding consequences.  He
demands attention 24/7 which NO ONE can give to him unless he is in a situation where there are shifts of people
who can take care of children like him.  He is a victim and he victimizes those around him without any notice.  Puberty,
sexual abuse, lack of constant watching, and a single mom has escalated his uncontrollable behavior, which he
can not be held responsible for.

Vietnam lied in order to get rid of one more child with severe handicaps and needs that they could in no way
handle.  And in this case, I became another victim, too.

One Step Up From Bottom,

Thank you for sharing that

Thank you for sharing that Teddy.

All that I share here

What I share here in this forum is truth, straight from the heart.   I don't sugar-coat anything.  My goal is to make a difference
in my children's lives from here on out...  I, in no way defend myself as I am truly guilty of wrong doing; yet I feel the need to
include myself on the receiving end of the consequences that make me a victim, also.
I need to learn the consequences suffered here by those who did not deserve them, as being a possibility for any of my children in the future. 

One Step Up From Bottom,

That is why I thanked you, I

That is why I thanked you, I appreciate everyone's honesty here, as hard as it is to read sometimes, I have learned.

You rock, Teddy

I'd be proud to call you mom

Deep respect for your

Deep respect for your insight and thank you for sharing.

Kinship care

Gerard Wallace wrote an interesting piece comparing kinship care to foster-care, and how different the funding-support is for each:

Although most children are in kinship homes for the same reasons that children enter foster care, most kinship families care for children independently of the foster care system. In America, more than 2.5 million children live with relatives. In New York state, 400,000 children are in this informal child welfare system, while fewer than 27,000 children are in foster care.

Many kinship caregivers are retired and on fixed incomes. Many two-income families choose to replace one paying job with full-time caregiving. Kinship caregivers succeed better than many unrelated foster parents because their love and determination to keep children with their families enable them to overcome any obstacles.

Kinship caregivers face challenges including accessing services; negotiating the education, court, and health systems; and coping with parents who cannot parent. Children who've suffered abuse, neglect, abandonment, or whose parents have died, been incarcerated or are suffering from mental illness also face emotional, psychological and developmental problems.

Sometimes, even becoming a caregiver presents challenges. Child welfare laws favor placement with relatives — but relatives don't have a legal right to care for children. Across state lines, bureaucratic hurdles can be especially cumbersome, delaying and often defeating the efforts of out-of-state relatives to care for children.

For kinship families in the foster care system, there are substantially more services and financial assistance. But kinship foster parents, just like all foster parents, eventually must exit foster care. In 39 states, kinship foster parents can then become guardians and receive subsidies similar to those in the federal adoption subsidy. The other maining states, including New York, do not offer subsidized guardianship.

For both kinship foster and non-foster kinship families, additional assistance could dramatically increase the stability and well-being of children. And now for the first time, Congress may be willing to help. On June 24, the House passed the "Fostering Connections To Success Act" (H.R. 6307) to provide federal funds for both kinship navigator programs and subsidized guardianship, as well as funding to help states locate relatives and involve them in family decision-making. For New York, this federal funding is crucial. The number of kinship families far exceeds state resources.

The Senate has two similar bills. Both the "Kinship Caregiver Support Act" (S.661; H.R.2188) and the "Improved Adoption Incentives and Relative Guardianship Support Act of 2008" (S.3038) contain provisions similar to the House bill. All three bills have bipartisan support. Senate action could reconcile the House and Senate versions. Let's take pride in the fact that family takes care of family, and help them succeed.

Given the choice, shouldn't "kinship care" be given more support than "improved adoption incentives"?

kinship care and permanent guardianship

I completely agree kinship care should be given more support and so should permanent guardianship. I believe kinship care mostly needs financial support as is being addressed in the above bills. Already kinship care is much bigger than foster care and adoption combined. According to the 2000 census, more than 2.5 million grand parents had one or more grand children living with them.

I believe permanent guardianship needs more legislative support. Some states recognize this option, but many don't. The big difference between legal guardianship and adoption is the fact that parental rights are not removed. Although the children live with and are the responsibility of the guardian, it doesn't make the guardian a parent. Because parental rights are not severed, parents remain the right to see their children and a visitation schedule is set up by court. The parents will also remain responsible for child-support and the guardian is being monitored by the court.

I see much advantages for adoptees to the permanent guardianship option as an alternative to adoption. It better defines who are the parents and who are the care givers, two entirely different notions and it doesn't sever ties with a child's roots more than necessary. Nowadays it is mainly used for older children, but I see no reason why the use can't be expanded to include younger children as well.

The only obstacle  I see is in recruiting guardians. I think many people who adopt nowadays hang on to their status as parent, something I don't see as a benefit to adoptees, but is a driving force behind the application for adoption. If that is taken away I wonder how many would still want to "save" a child.


I was intrigued last month when i happened upon the whole idea of guardians.  i think it's awesome.  kind of self-weeds out the bad seeds, imho.

i also have come across several ethical adoption sites, where the adoptive parents are fighting to clean up the industry and only want to participate if birthparents and open cases are considered for the children.  i wonder what they would think of being guardians?

Pound Pup Legacy