Saturday, May 8, 2010

Actual News Headline: "Adopted Daughter Charged with Killing Mom"

Well, this is not the headline an adoptive mother wants to see. This is not the headline an adoptive mother wants her CHILDREN to see. This is not the headline anyone touched by adoption wants to see. This type of headline simply shouldn't be.

The story itself is tragic - a middle aged woman was arrested and charged in the killing of her elderly mother. A terrible, sordid allegation. I just don't see why the adoption detail needed to be included. It certainly does nothing to help the case of BC's Waiting kids (who, by the way, are not killers in the making!)

When I first saw the story, I sat down and wrote a thoughtful but direct email to the story's editor (see below).

Then I googled the name of the accused, to see how many other headlines popped up. Every.single.article. included the fact that she was adopted. How disappointing. 

I'm only glad my son is too young to understand this article - it gives me time to notify the editor of every newspaper that ran the story's irrelevant detail a chance to think about their word choice (oh dear, you can tell I'm parenting a toddler, can't you?) before he's old enough to understand.

An excerpt from the little note I sent to the local paper. If the headline bothers you, feel free to modify my letter and send it along as your own:
Dear Editor,

As an adoptive mother, and sibling to five through the miracle of adoption, I find it upsetting that you needed to include the fact that Vancouver's latest accused murderer committed her crime against her adoptive mother.

Were you taken in by the Hollywood myth of the recent flop horror movie "Orphan"? Do you believe that children who join their families through adoption have a predisposed tendency to kill their parents? Or are you simply trying to illustrate that a good woman - the widow of a police constable - fell victim to the violent rage (allegedly, of course) of her daughter, and, oh, and by the way, it was perpetrated by the child she adopted?

It's estimated that one in three Canadians are touched by adoption - meaning they, or someone they know dearly, came to their family through this ancient custom. Ever year, BC families welcome over 600 children into their homes. 50 or so are adopted at birth through licensed agencies. About 300 come internationally, from countries like China, or Haiti, or simply across the border from the US. And 300 are adopted from foster care through BC's Waiting Child program.

Perhaps you haven't heard any successful adoption stories. Or perhaps you have, but don't know that adoption is part of the story. I have six examples in my immediate family alone, all welcomed through foster care adoption. Newspaper headlines like yours, however, with their negative undertones about adoption, don't help the situation for BC's Waiting kids. Each year, 300 are adopted, but there are 700 more who wait... sometimes never getting that chance at a forever family.

If you'd like to learn the real story about adoption, or perhaps do an article on one of the many success stories (kids who DON'T grow up to murder their parents, for instance), it's worth a visit to, and Perhaps you can turn at least one person's mind towards believing in adoption. Who knows, it might even be your own.


Sarah Reid

Mother to a 2.5 year old, 36 pounds of curly haired bliss & sister to five.. all welcomed joyfully through adoption.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

"ARE" (No, Not a Pirate Noise, an Adoption Event)

A few of us from AFABC attended an Adoption Resource Exchange today. About 15 kids (or siblings groups) were profiled, and over a hundred prospective parents joined in. AFABC was there to support our families who were in attendance (and of course provide our legendary chocolate cookies).

You might be wondering "What's an Adoption Resource Exchange?" -- not too long ago, I wondered that, too! It's basically a matching event for prospective adoptive parents who have completed their homestudies and are waiting to be matched. They come together along with their adoption workers, to hear from guardianship workers about some of the children in care who are looking for families. There's time for networking with other families and with social workers, and plenty of time to ask questions about the kids who are being profiled.

It's a pretty powerful event for all involved. It's one thing to read a description of a waiting child on the MCFD website; it's another thing entirely to watch a video recording of the same child and have the privilege of watching them shine. 

There's only one way into an ARE, and that's to be invited by your social worker. And if your social worker doesn't invite you, ask them to!!! The ARE is open to both MCFD and Agency families, provided your complete, up-to-date homestudy is Ministry-approved and you are waiting for a match.

Some families attend and discover that several of the kids or siblings groups being profiled meet their family's criteria. That's wonderful! Others attend and find that none of the children are a match. That's okay, too. I like to remind families that even if you *don't* find a match from attending an ARE, you've still had the opportunity to witness what BC's Waiting Children are all about.

Equally important is the opportunity to have your family's profile handed directly to Ministry guardianship workers - the professionals who will have arguably the biggest role in determining which family is right for each child on their caseload. A few guardianship workers who were *not* profiling children attended just for the opportunity to meet prospective parents. That's a pretty stellar thing for a social worker to do; taking a whole day out of their work week solely to meet with prospective parents.

If you missed out on today's ARE and would like to attend, the next one will be sometime this fall. Put the bug in your social worker's ear that you'd like an invite.... and I'll look forward to seeing you at the next one!