Friday, May 3, 2013

Blog Post #12 Option #1

The student presentations this week were great learning experiences. I believe students drew a lot on previous readings and discussions, yet expanded their topics to include debates we did not have time to have in class. I particularly found JB and IP’s presentations to be interesting.
I really enjoyed listening to JB because she expanded on something that was almost completely skipped in class. We discussed briefly gay and lesbian adoption but our discussion was focused more on the psychological arguments for gay and lesbian adoption, such as in “How Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?” This chapter states “this body of research-mostly done by psychologists-almost uniformly reports findings of no notable differences between children reared by heterosexual parents and those reared by lesbian and gay parents” (Stacey & Biblarz,p.248).  As important as this conversation was, it left out lesbian adoption, which was very disappointing. Luckily JB stepped in and did some of the research for us. She stated she also found the research to be sparse when it came to lesbian adoption and was hoping to find out why that is as she continues to research. I would be very interested in hearing about what she finds.

I also found IP’s research topic to be particularly interesting. Her discussion of transnational adoption, and how this adoption can affect identity, was very similar to what we discussed in class. IP found that she agreed with Keller in the reading “Goals of Maternal Practice,” in that helping a transnational adoptee develop their racial identity is crucial to the child’s wellbeing. IP did however differ with Keller when it came to the parent’s role in supporting this racial identity. Keller stated that when adoptive parents send their children to camps such as Kamp Kimchee in Minnesota, it will “help their children develop a sense of racial-ethnic literacy, pride, and identity” (Keller, p.27).  IP found the opposite to be true, especially in her own experiences. From what I understood from the presentation, IP believes that there needs to be better programs in place to prepare adoptive parents for helping their adoptive children develop racial identity and that a simple one week camp is not cutting it.

I believe my walk away from these presentations and this semester as a whole is that no matter what you hear in class, it is always just a small glimpse of the whole issue. It is important to do further research to really find out where you stand on an issue. Do not follow blindly, but rather discover things for yourself by pursuing as much information on the issue as possible.

Julie Thurmes

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blog Post #12

While I have been listening to everyone’s student presentations this week, I have had a chance to reflect on how complicated adoption really is.  Though I have realized this earlier this semester, the presentations have made me realize that if adoption would to ever be an option for expanding my family, I would have to think long and hard about doing it.  There are so many different dimensions of what could go wrong.   Before this class, I never thought of adoption as something that could challenge a person’s soul or identity, but clearly by listening to all the different ethical dilemmas this week, adoption is something that does.  But overall, I think as a class we have clearly learned a lot about adoption and ethics and can truly think about both subjects on a more complex and intellectual level.    

I think the biggest thing that I am going to walk away with from this class is that adoption isn’t as principled and uplifting as the general population may think.  It is a long process that takes a lot of time, energy, money, and can test a person’s morals and values.  Throughout the semester we have listened to and read a lot of stories about adoption and in every story there was an element of moral and/or ethical compromise.  As a whole, this class has help me realize that even though there is a good outcome in whatever you are doing, you are going to have to analysis yourself as a person and decide what you think is good or bad.  It is you and only you that have to live up to the decisions you make and it is you and only you that makes those choices.  I truly admire the people that decide to adopt because they take on so many unknowns when they commit to the process and embark on a journey that test their moral compass, coming out of it a different person with a better realization of who they are.           
Lisa R.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blog Post #11

Blog Post #11

The film, “Ask Us Who We Are: Foster Care in Vermont” provided a different perspective on the foster care system. It is a documentary film that focused on the struggles that youth faces in their lives in the foster care system. The film in a way represented the loss and belonging of wanting to find a family. There were many highlights of the challenges teenagers indicated in their personal stories, the film also portray the determination that grows within each of them to strive and not get up.

One of the main contrasts that I see with the film and Dorothy Robert’s book was that it seems very different in the way how the foster care system work. In the book, it seems like the foster care system is dark and gloomy that no one wants to be a part of it and it is the last resort someone will consider. In the film, it was heartwarming and giving. The teens that are in the foster care system had great family that wants to help them cope with what they are dealing with and help them strive. Another difference was that in the book, it mentioned that the foster care system seems to tear the family apart and not re-uniting the family but in the film it seems opposite. The foster care family wanted to re-unite the children and family. In one of the scene, the woman was talking about how she would ask for a picture of their parents so she can place it on the crib so the child will know that this is their mom and dad and not the foster care system.

Both of these accounts can be true. Depending on where one live, it can provide a whole different story. Also, it also depend on what is the main idea of the film and the book, it will give a sense of how the foster care system work. Overall, the film provided the teens with a steady home and love in their broken lives.  
Chia C.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog Post 11: Option #1

In the film "Ask Us Who We Are: Foster Care in Vermont", many children tell their stories about their foster care experiences.  One of the very first things that I noticed in the film that was different than the current book we are reading, “Shattered Bonds” by Dorothy Roberts, is the number of white children in the film.  In Robert’s book, she states that child welfare cases have become increasingly more Black (14).  This was not portrayed in this film at all.  Most of the stories that were told were being told by young white people.  There were only two stories that came from black females.  
The second difference between the film and the book was that the filmed portrayed foster care as a good service overall that could help save or change a child’s life.  Again this is not how Roberts sees the system.  On pages 18-19 in Robert’s books she talks about the devastating emotional response that is present when removing a child from their parents.  She also talks about how Black children are more likely to stay in foster care longer and/or never be adopted.  The film does address this emotional response children feel from being removed from their homes, but the tone in which it is displayed is different.  Most the children that speak out within the film seem to have overall happy endings to their stories that end in adoption or permanent placements, or of going to college, and/or starting families of their own with the vows to never parent or be like their parents.  Robert’s book has a tone the displays that foster care is a bad choice for children and that if a child is placed within the system they are doomed to repeat the cycle of their parents or be unsuccessful in their lives.
After reading pages out of Roberts’s book and watching this film, I believe that both views could be correct.  The film takes place in the state of Vermont which is a state that is not known for poverty or crime and if I had to guess not much diversity.  Robert’s book focuses on very diverse places across the United States and places that are plagued with poverty and crime.  Robert’s chosen cities within her book probably do have government systems that discriminate against Black’s due to the stereotypes that exist for that race in poverty stricken areas.  But, I also believe that foster care can be beneficial for kids and that most foster care parents do it for the right reasons and can help those children achieve something that they may have never been given the chance to get without their help.  

Lisa R. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blog Post #11, Option #1

            I believe Dorothy Roberts’ view and the views in the film “Ask Us Who We Are: Foster Care in Vermont” are in contrast, yet at the same time, they both reveal truths of the foster care system. Dorothy Roberts’ view is more centered on the injustice of adoption centered care in the foster care system whereas the film revealed to the viewers the benefits of adoption through foster care.
            Dorothy Roberts has a very critical view of many foster care policies. She picks apart the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) in particular. She states, “ASFA threatens to permanently separate children from families, families that might have been preserved with the right incentives, adequate state resources, or creative custody arrangements” (Roberts, pg. 113). She accuses many federal and state laws of forcing agencies to push for adoption in abuse and neglect cases rather than striving for reunification. She also discusses how many lawmakers are using rare case studies in order to support their legislative push for adoption and she states, “advocates drummed up support for ASFA by pointing to cases where family preservation failed miserably” (Roberts, pg. 107).
            The film “Ask Us Who We Are: Foster Care in Vermont” on the other hand, displays foster care and adoption in another light. The film interviewed people who mostly were benefitted from being permanently removed from their homes and adopted by another family. The interviewee’s satisfaction with their new homes showed support for the legislation discussed by Dorothy Roberts. The children were neglected and abused by their biological parents but eventually found an adoptive family that cared for and accepted them once they were no longer in the custody of their parents.
            I believe that both of these views can be true. The view of Roberts that foster children are being prevented from being reunited with capable parents is true. There are laws in place that prevent some parents from being reunited with their children. At the same time though, those laws are protecting many children, such as the children we saw in the film, from being further abused. It is a tough decision to make. Without some of the legislation that exists, many children would be reunited with abusive parents that would continue to injure them, while that same law would grant certain parents the time they need to regain full custody of their children. The difficult call to make is to determine when the benefit of many is worth the lives of a few.

Julie Thurmes

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blog Post #10, Option #2

I found Dorothy Robert’s perspective to be extremely interesting. I decided to focus on the question “What factors might contribute to the racial disparities Roberts draws our attention to, according to Roberts? According to you?”

 At the very beginning of her book she discusses the “visibility hypothesis.” This hypothesis states “there is a higher probability for minority children to be placed in foster care when living in a geographic area where they are relatively less represented” (Roberts, pg. 9). Roberts states this to be because agencies are more likely to investigate underrepresented groups and these groups also lack support that could potentially ward off investigations. This leads to more investigations of Black families and more Black children being put into the foster care system. Another reason that Robert’s says black children are removed from their home is due to inadequate housing. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that Black children in the foster care system are more likely to come from families with housing difficulties than white children.

After reading Robert’s I believe there are many racial disparities in the U.S. that lead to an increased amount of Black children in foster care. Based on the white privilege speaker that came to CSB, white families have been given a head start. Blacks have had to play catch up in the U.S. and this can lead to many financial problems. These financial issues can lead to the housing problems that lead to an increased amount of Black children in foster care. This delayed start can also lead to the social disparities that exist when discussing the “visibility hypothesis.” I agree strongly with what the speaker discussed about racism in the U.S. and how it affects many facets of the black family’s life, including foster care, and how we need to be more aware of the silent racism that exists.

Racism still exists in the U.S. and this racism can lead to many difficulties within the foster care system which I believe both Roberts and I agreed on.
Julie Thurmes

Blog Post #10_ Option #2

In the first ten pages of Shattered Bonds by Dorothy Roberts, you are given some very disturbing images about the foster care system and its effects on black society.  Roberts gives her readers some amazing statistics on the number of black children encompassed in the foster care system and how much easier it is for a black child to be taken away from their home.  In this post I will be talking about the racial disparities that Roberts’s points out that could factor into number of black children living within the foster care system.

On page 14 Robert says “They understood that children’s welfare was tied to social conditions that could only be improved by societywide reforms”.  In this one sentence she is pointing out one of the biggest reasons that this population is plagued with this problem, a large population of them live in poverty.  She points out in earlier pages that the largest numbers of black children that are in foster care are from big inner cities.  These are the places in our nation that are on the news every night due to gangs, violence, and guns.  There is hardly any “good news” that comes out of inner cities.  But, Roberts points out on page 14 that these problems are caused by societal norms and the only way to change the problems that these people face is to help them get out of poverty and into the parts of society that white people find acceptable. 

I put the quote from Roberts on page 14 into this blog because I agree with her statement.  We as a white society have done all that we can do to suppress the blacks in this nations.  They started out as slaves for the early American settlers and ever since America has granted their freedom this society has done little to provide the resources necessary to help blacks succeed in this country.  They started out with nothing and as a society we continue to discriminate and keep them in positions that force many to find means to survive that white society would find unacceptable.  I think that is the main reason why this population has such great numbers within the foster care system.  Most people that make the decisions to take children out of their home are white and if that person doesn’t find a black’s lifestyle acceptable by their standards, that black person is doomed to try and live up to that white person’s standards.  Black Americans are forced to live up to the standards we has white’s put in place to try and prevent the backlash that might happen if they do not. 
Lisa R