INTERNATIONAL ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN INTERVIEW
Newsletter issue the below interview was published
I had hoped the actual interview as it appeared could be scanned so it might be read. However, it did not scan properly. Therefore I have retyped it as it appeared in the above stated issue of the IAC Newsleter. The interview was directed towards the mission of IAC. The newsletter is sent via mail across the country as well as some foreign countries.
IAC sat down with first-time author Lawrence P. Adams. His book "Lost Son? A Bastard Child's Journey of Hope, Search, Discovery and Healing? chronicles his journey as he wandered through the revolving door of the Michigan foster care system. By age 11, Adams was a foster care veteran haveing been moved 14 times since the day he was born. His story recounts his struggles to find a sense of belonging and the search for his birth parents, heritage and roots.
Why did you decide to write a book about your experiences in the United States foster care system?
I want to change the foster care system and adoption laws. I hope that those involved in either of those situations (agencies, courts, legistlatures, etc.) might reaad the book, realize the need for change and realize current laws and programs cause only harm to those impacted by then.
What do you feel should be the priorites of decision makers when evaluating the placement options for a child?
The top priorities in deciding where a child is placed as far as an adoptive family is concerned: can a stable, loving, nurturing and safe home be provided? Income should only be considered as to whether the family will finanacially be able to provide the basics for raising a child. Income should not be considered as to which family might provide more for a child...families cannot be placed in competition in reagrds to wealth. Religious background can be considered but not be used as a final determining factor. At all times, the top priority in deciding placement must be what is in the best interest of the child!
Is it your opinion that too much weight is placed on certain requirements/criteria of families who want to adopt?
My situation gives you the answer. I was denied being adopted by a family who cared for me three differnet times over the course of 6.5 years. The first time there was a conflict with the age of the adoptive parents (they were in their 40s). The their son and his wife were denied the opportunity to adopt me because he was Catholic and she was Lutheran. Later, the family tried again but was denied with no apparent reason given. I was removed from their home for the last time not too long afterwards. I did not learn of all this until over 40 years after I was removed that last time.
What does the public need to know about orphaned children in the United States?
All I wanted as a child was a place to call home...a family to love me enough to want me as their son. Children need to be given the basics. By basics I don't simply mean shelter and food. I mean a stable home life (not sujecting children to the merry-go-round of moves) knowledge that someone actually cares about them, a sense of self-worth, and most importantly, the ability to trust those responsible for them. The system is broken, and needs to be fixed. Children are dying, and it is not their fault. The time has come for new ideas and new approaches to protect abused and neglected children across the country.
A good first idea: listen to the experts! The experts are those who have been forced to live within the broken system day in and day out. They are the foster parents and former or current foster children. They know where you are succeeding but they also know your failures. Give a voice to those now voiceless and forgotten. You may be surprised by what you can learn! The top thing the public needs to know about orphaned children is that they need a stable home.
Do you feel that a data gathering system with comprehensive information about orphaned children as well as potential adoptive families would help eliminate the inherent problems found in the current United States system?
Absolutely! This applies in particular to the adoption system. Parents muct be matched in the best possible way. Whether the best possible match for a child is in the same county, several counties away or even out of state, the child's best interest must be the determining factor.
As a child in an orphange today what do you think he/she would say is the single most important factor is chossing a suitable adoptive family?
Will the family be able to provide the child with a stable, loving, nurturing home in which to grow up safely. If yes, then all else is secondary.
About the Author:
Adams' book is available on line at: PublishAmerica, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. ALL proceeds from the book will be donated to IAC.
Educated at Boys Town, Nebraska and Midland Lutheran Collge, he has had a professional career in government, nonprofit,academia and private industry.
Adams has written articles for magazines on the need of reform to the foster care system for http://www.adoption.com, Weekly E Magazine, and Fostering Families Today magazine.
Currently he is volunteering as an Advocacy Ambassador for IAC. Adams is available for radio, telephone or television interviews as well as motivational speeches for companies or organizations. Contact the author directly via his web site @ http://www.larrya.us