Welcome to the sixth installment of my Summer Interview Series. Throughout the summer I'm posting interviews with people touched by adoption. I hope that you will enjoy learning about them as much as I have. Please let me know if you would like to participate or would like to suggest someone else for me to interview.
This week - Rich Mintzer, board member the nation’s oldest and one of the largest adoption support groups) and editor of Adoptalk newsletter.
How has your life been touched by adoption? My wife Carol and I adopted our daughter Rebecca. She changed our life by making us parents. Being members of APC has also given us the opportunity to give back to the adoption community by helping other people as volunteers. We have felt the satisfaction of seeing other couples, and singles, adopt, and in some cases know that we played a small role in helping them form their families.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as an adoptive parent, and how have you responded? Our daughter had times at which she feels hurt or abandoned by her birthmother, especially when life milestones occur. It is difficult to see her feeling such pain, but we weather the storms with her, assure her that no matter what ever happens we will not abandon her.
What, if anything, about adoption has surprised you? I’m always a little surprised by how little so many people know about adoption. People have so many misconceptions thanks to the media, but you would think that more people would be touched by adoption personally through friends or family members.
What do you think is being done very well in the adoption world today? I’m most impressed by the new medical technology used for international adoption. Doctors such as Jane Aronson, among others, can use the Internet and digital photography to help couples or singles adopting in countries around the globe as they determine the health of a child.
What concerns do you have about the state of adoption today? Too many different rules, not only throughout the world, but here in the United States. The variety of state laws and judicial ruling regarding adoption cases creates too many loopholes for unscrupulous individuals to bilk money from unsuspecting couples, and singles, looking to adopt. Facilitators need to be licensed and governed, as do attorneys and agencies on a national level with stricter parameters that protect both birthmothers and adoptive parents from those wishing to take unfair advantage. Children are not a commodity and should not be treated as such, especially in our own country.
What would you like to share about Adoptalk? Adoptalk provides updates about adoption and the Adoptive Parents Committee to our 1,000+ member families and to other people who get it at meetings or at conferences. It is our communications tool and can hopefully help people with the adoption information they need.
What suggestions can you make for prospective adoptive parents in terms of fully preparing themselves for adoption and post-adoption? No two adoptions are alike. Learn as much as possible, do not listen to the nay sayers because it can be done, but keep your eyes wide open. While it’s easy to be guided by emotions, you need to be smart and know when something isn’t right…so you can walk away from a situation if necessary. Also, have broad parameters…nobody will find the perfect child, and even if you think you’ve found one, he or she will grow up with imperfection like everyone else. Post adoption means raising a child, always being there for him or her and dealing with the adoption issues as they occur. Read up and be prepared, but understand that not everything will have to do with adoption, many issues are simply childhood related.
Where do you stand on the issue of access to original birth records? I personally think that adoptive parents should have access to such records for medical information and that the adoptee should have access at the age of 18.
Is there anything else you'd like to share? Adoption is a wonderful way of forming a family.
Click here to purchase Sally's , What I Want My Adopted Child to Know: An Adoptive Parent's Perspective, in or format.