Adoption is nothing to fear

Norris Burke is a Sacramento hospital chaplain

Three-year-old Evan had been raised since birth by a couple hoping to adopt him, despite the fact that Evan’s father, Stephen White, spent those years telling the court that he wanted Evan back.

Finally, last month, the court sided with the biological father. That’s when Dawn Scott, the adoptive mother, delivered the tearful Evan into the custody of his biological parents.

As Evan was driven away, Scott repeatedly screamed, “How can they do this to a little boy?”

But the scariest part of the Scott case isn’t Evan being ripped from the only parents he’s known. The scariest part is not the trauma he may remember.

The scariest part about this extremely rare story is the public’s reaction to the story—that you’re not likely to forget it.

And the worst part about this public reaction is that hundreds of people considering adoption may allow the dramatic cry of one little boy to distract their attention from the cries of thousands of children who are waiting to be adopted—all 129,262 of them in this country, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

I know, because 15 years ago, my wife and I pondered that fear as we asked, “What if we adopted a child and had that child taken away?”

Yet, despite the fear, we decided to welcome into our home a 3-year-old girl. Later, we decided that if we truly loved that child, we’d face our fears and take in her two siblings, as well.

No one ever knocked on our door seeking the child’s return. The truth is that such drama is very rare; that’s why the Scott story will sell newspapers.

To have allowed the fear of the “knock” to deter the adoption would have been as disabling as a biological parent allowing the fear of genetic diseases, birth defects and the risk of death in child delivery to deter conception.

If you’ve considered adoption, don’t let fear keep you from doing what you know is the right thing.

The most tragic thing that can happen in the ordeal of adoptive children is not that they may one day have two sets of parents fighting over them. The most tragic thing would be never having a parent at all.