This week, I met a nice family of four who are missionaries and lived in South America for 10 years. This past summer, they visited friends who still live there. They were introduced to a four year old child whose family was killed earlier this year. Over the past few months, they have been undergoing the process of adopting this child and bringing him to our community.

I talked with the family and they told me of the very detailed process that they have to go through - endless paperwork, at home visits from state agencies/officials, etc. Even though it seems like a lot of hastle to me, the family is very happy that they are going to have a new edition.

Last night, I read a story about a Virginia couple who is trying to "unadopt" a child after caring for him for six years (BBC). The background of this child is troubling. His birth parents abused drugs. There were issues of physical abuse and suspicions of sexual abuse. All of these were believed to cause mental illness in the child which required medication treatment.

This foster mother stated that she became concerned three years ago when the child sexually abused a six-year old and a two-year old. She also states that this is when she learned of the child's troubled past. What's interesting is that she could have filed a "wrongful adoption" lawsuit, but did not. Instead, she has chosen to "dissolve the adoption" which requires the child's consent. The child has not consented.

This foster mom states that she was not informed at all of the child's troubled past during the adoption process. I find this difficult to believe. With the patients I have talked with in the past, all kinds of information about the foster family and about the foster child are learned, processed, and shared with everyone involved.

The concept of "dissolving an adoption" is fascinating to me. Can someone really divorce their foster child? How would that work? A child is in foster care and then a family decide to legally adopt the child. Then, maybe years later, the family decide to divorce the child? I'm really confused about this whole concept.

Update - Like a Foster Mom: I was talking about this Virginia story earlier today with someone at the hospital and she mentioned that pop star Madonna is in the African nation of Malawi visiting that impoverished nation. According to Times Online, Madonna and her husband just today have taken custody of a 13-month old boy and are going to adopt.

Malawian law does not allow for inter-country adoptions, and generally requires people who want to adopt to spend 18 months being evaluated by Malawian child welfare workers. But it seems even this is no obstacle for the Material Girl after Malawian officials, who refused to elaborate, indicated that such restrictions would be waived for the couple.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think this is a bad idea. In light of what I've learned today about adoption (thanks to your comments), I wonder what this child will be like 5-10-15 years from now. A Material Guy for the Material Girl? We'll see.