National Council For Adoption (NCFA) joins the multitude of nonpartisan calls that the minor children of public officials should be off limits in political wars – and more specifically, personal details of their adoptions should not be a matter for public debate or political gain. In recent years, media has demonstrated a greater discipline in discussing the minor children of public officials; for example, the privacy of the minor children of both the Obama and Trump families has, for the most part, been respected in ways that it was not for their peers in the past – and this principle of letting children be children is a positive development. Although the adult parents choose to live in the public eye, their children should be allowed as normal a childhood as possible and never be targets for their parents’ political rivals or social media commentary.
In recent days, the international adoptions of children by a person nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court have been the subject of a national conversation, both as a way to demonstrate positive character traits in the nominee or as a way to find some fault or misdeed. Both discussions should be off the table. Adopting a child does not make the parents more virtuous than other parents, but nor should adoptive parent’s motives for adopting be the subject of public speculation. Just as with biological families, parents grow their family through adoption for many different personal and practical reasons, but hopefully always with the decision grounded in a conviction that the adoption is in the child’s best interests.
At NCFA, we are always ready to engage in a public dialogue to discuss adoption as a necessary and viable option for children in the U.S. and around the world who are in desperate need of the security and safety that an adoptive family will provide them. We stand ready to have hard conversations about why children sometimes can’t remain with their biological families, why international adoption is a necessary and lifesaving option for some children, what the research tells us about adoptions across racial and cultural lines, and what can be done to ensure adoption policies and practices work more fully in everyone’s best interests, with the emphasis always on what is best for children.
Adoptive families are accustomed to questions and comments by other people – sometimes welcome, and sometimes intrusive – but, by and large, these questions are asked sincerely and without ill intent. This cannot be said of some of the ignorant and mean-spirited comments that we have read this week; questions asked with no regard for the well-being or privacy of children. We condemn in the strongest possible terms these specific attacks and call for an immediate cessation of this thread of conversation.
The reality is that there are millions of children in the U.S. who came to their families through adoption. Many of these adoptions have resulted in the formation of multicultural and racially diverse families. As important as race and culture are, research shows that what children most need is a family to which they belong permanently and are loved unconditionally, and their physical, emotional, and developmental needs are met. Adoption has proven to be a successful and effective way of providing loving homes for children who need a permanent family.
As we have for more than 40 years, NCFA will continue to extol the many benefits that adoption offers vulnerable children, their struggling biological families, the families interested in opening their hearts and homes to them, and to society; and we will do this until every child everywhere has achieved their right to a loving, stable family.
- Earlier this year, NCFA released a toolkit to help families who have chosen transracial adoption to understand, affirm, and honor their child’s racial identity, especially when it differs from the adoptive family. Click here to access it.
- Did They Really Just Ask That? Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Responding to Intrusive Questions and Comments About Adoption
- Subsidiarity Made Simple: The “subsidiarity principle” is a fundamental part of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which sets up a hierarchy of options, both domestic and international, for finding a permanent family in a timely manner for a child growing up without parents. In January’s Adoption Advocate, lawyer Chad Turner examines the correct interpretation of the subsidiarity principle as it dictates how, why, and when intercountry adoptions should take place.