November is recognized as National Adoption Month in observance of those agencies and individuals whose mission is to ensure that all children grow up in loving families. It is a mission that Pearl S. Buck herself took up in 1949 when she founded Welcome House®, one of the nation’s first adoption programs focused on meeting the needs of multiracial children. National Adoption Month also recognizes adoptive families who have opened up their hearts and their homes to children in need.However, as we celebrate National Adoption Month at Welcome House, we are disheartened that some much-publicized worldwide adoption stories about other agencies’ practices have cast a shadow on the world of international adoption and have left many children stuck waiting for forever families.
Pearl S. Buck International’s Hague-accredited Welcome House adoption program embraces the tenets and code of conduct put forth by the Hague Inter-country Adoption Convention. The Hague Convention seeks to ensure that growing up in a loving family is of primary importance and essential for the happiness and healthy development of the child. It recognizes that inter-country adoption may offer the advantage of a permanent family to a child for whom a suitable family cannot be found in his/her country of birth. The Best Interest of the Child is the guiding, central principle that our mission upholds in accordance with the Hague Convention for each and every adoption we facilitate.Whenever it is not possible for a child to be raised by birth parents or extended family, permanent care with a safe, loving family in the child’s country of origin should be considered. Permanent institutionalized care is not an adequate substitute. Institutional care should be a last resort after ALL other options are considered.
However, ensuring the safety of the world’s children begins before an adoptive family and home is identified. Safeguarding against the abduction, sale, and trafficking of children begins by protecting birth families from financial exploitation and undue pressure, ensuring that only children in need of a family are eligible for adoption by preventing improper financial gain and corruption.At the same time, international adoption agencies must adhere to strict standards related to evaluating families that have the ability to care for a child from a different culture who may have emotional or medical needs that require families to provide rehabilitative care. They must adhere to standards related to training these families and then providing sufficient post-placement services. This responsibility is very important in stabilizing the long-term permanency of children and preventing adoption disruptions or mistreatment once the child is adopted internationally.
The same standards need to apply to adoptions of children in our own country. The PA Statewide Adoption Network, (SWAN), requires significant parent training and post placement support to prevent disruptions. They also provide post placement services for all adopted children, including those who are adopted in the US, Internationally, or are part of a kinship or legal guardian arrangement. Welcome House is a SWAN post-placement service provider.
Welcome House has been building families since 1949 and supporting them along their post-adoption journey ever since. Today, we are searching for loving families for children through our adoption programs in China, Korea, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Kazakhstan.
During this National Adoption Month, we celebrate along with our adoptive families who have opened their hearts and welcomed a child into their homes.
Whether you are an adoptive family or not, the multicultural fabric that makes up our community, created by the threads of adoption, is truly something for all of us to celebrate.
Educate yourself and others about child adoption at www.pearlsbuck.org/adoption.