Adoption: Beyond the headlines

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A recent Craigslist ad raised some eyebrows: a local woman put her child up for adoption on the online site.

She said she just couldn't take care of the baby anymore. That ad was taken off shortly after it went up -- we may never know if it was legit or what became of that struggling mother and her child. It is one isolated incident, that while rare, gives a glimpse into the issues a family can face in crisis pregnancy.

The distress from this mother's situation can easily be seen in her Craigslist ad.

"I don't wanna go through the "adoption" process," she wrote "You can just put your name right on the birth certificate and take her home."

Experts who work with adopted families everyday- say desperate moms don't always realize their options.

"Adoption is really a win-win situation when everyone has been prepared," said Nadine Marsh-Carter the CEO, at Children's Home Society of Virginia.

But that might not be the impression you get from the headlines related to adoption. From the high profile celebrities on the covers of magazines -- like Sandra Bullock and Madonna -- to unbelievable stories of scandal, like the Russian boy -- whose American family sent him back to his home country after they couldn't care for him -- to stories that literally hit home, like the series of children left abandoned in the Richmond area.

Children's Home Society of Virginia, has been placing children with adoptive families for a century. For Carter, the headlines don't even begin to tell the story.

"Its tragic because it shows a negative element of adoption," she said. "When there are so many positive elements of adoption everyday."

Carter is talking about that Tennessee family that sent an 8-year-old Russian boy back to his home country after they decided they could no longer care for him. The story grabbed headlines, because it was so rare. In this case, Carter believes the woman at the center of this scandal, wasn't aware of her options.

"The family had not been provided the proper support, the proper counseling," said Carter.

Any reputable agency will stick with an adoptive family, and provide help long after the child has been place. But successful adoptions start long before that stage. Agencies like Children's Home are there at the beginning to help pregnant women in crisis.

In the last year alone, three different babies have been found abandoned in the Richmond area. Their mothers nowhere to be found. Women that didn't realize all their options.

"Don't make a rash decision based on one factor like income or convenience," said Carter

There are resources to connect birth mothers with a battery of resources, wether they want to keep their child or place them for adoption. Resources that could keep them from leaving their child on the side of the road, or posting an ad on Craigslist.

"We make sure that folks are educated, prepared to meet the demands of a child and ready to make that lifelong commitment."

And when all those resources are put to use- adoption can lead to wonderful results.


Adoption Myths                                                                                                                                                           This is a list of adoption myths according to Nadine Marsh-Carter, CEO of The Children's Home Society of Virginia. You can learn more about CHSVA on their website:

*The birth parents are never involved in an adoption- Birth parents and adoptive parents can be completely in control of how much they would like each other to be involved in the process. Some adoptions are completely closed, others include the birth parents at varying levels.

*You must adopt overseas- There are many children of all ages in need of a good home here in the United States. While international adoption is always an option, there is a huge need for loving families for children not only across the country, but here in Virginia.

*Adoption is always expensive- While the costs of private and international adoption can be staggering, many non-profit agencies, like Children's Home Society, offer sliding placement scales based on a families ability to pay.

*You must adopt an infant- While many families are searching for an infant to welcome into their homes, there is a great need for placement of children of all ages through the foster care system. In many cases, the adoption of a older child through foster care is free of charge.

*You must be married to adopt- Families of all different shapes and sizes with the ability to open their homes to a child can be eligible to adopt.

These are just a few examples of the myths regarding the adoption process. Please contact The Children's Home Society of Virginia to learn more.

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