ASL University


 Adopt a Deaf Child:


QUESTION:

Dear Dr. Bill,

My name is ________, I am Hearing and have been learning sign language.

I have always wanted to adopt, and my husband recently started bringing it up in conversation and we are ready to move forward as far as gaining information and researching adoption agencies. It has been put on my heart to adopt a Deaf child.

I would love your opinion of hearing parents adopting a Deaf child. My experience with ASL and Deaf culture is very infrequent. Actually, I have never really experienced Deaf culture in general. The church I attend here in ________ preaches at a homeless shelter once a month. There was a Deaf man that they wanted to communicate with and asked if I knew how to sign. I only knew the alphabet and some basic sins from a book I had from when I was a girl. So, I found Lifeprint, and dove in headfirst.

I went to the mission and met Jack [Editor's note: name changed]. He was such a nice man. I was able to have a conversation with him to understand he didn't have a bible, but wanted one. I told him I was only learning how to sign and he asked me how. I told him the internet, and he thought that was really smart. I gave him a bible, but I haven't seen Jack since then, because he found a place to live, thankfully. I wish I could have gotten to know him better.

The only other instance I've had was with a woman at Wal-mart when I was searching for something. She was about to get out her pen and pad of paper. I asked her if she was Deaf and we began communicating. She commented on my baby boy, that he was cute and asked how old he was. She was so sweet.

I have been teaching my son how to sign. He is only 18 months old, but is doing very well. He knows basics, such as milk, cracker, cookie, etc. I have taught him please and thank you as well.

These are the only experiences I have had. If, Lord willing, we can adopt a daughter or son, I want to give them every opportunity to succeed and follow their dreams. I want our future child to be involved in Deaf culture. That is very important to me, and am wondering how to meet more Deaf people.

So, basically my four questions are:

What is your opinion of hearing parents adopting a Deaf child?

Do you know of an adoption agency that I could contact?

How can we get involved in the Deaf community?

How should we prepare ourselves to be able to give our future child everything he or she needs?

I apologize for this being so long. I simply wanted to give some background on my experiences for you to better understand where we are right now.

I look forward to you response. Again, thank you for Lifeprint.com. It has made such a huge impact in my life already.

Sincerely,

_______________ [Name removed to protect this person's privacy.]

 



Reply:

On Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 11:06 AM, <BillVicars@aol.com> wrote:

________,
I'm going to refer you to _______ and ____ _______.
They are experts on the topic of adoption. Perhaps they can answer a few of your questions. I'll cc them.
Cordially,
Dr. Bill

 


In a message dated 6/8/2015 11:58:41 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, __________ writes:
 

Hi _______,

My name is ____, I am hearing married to a hard of hearing girl.  We've been married 13 years and can't have kids.  We tried foster care adoption in California, and were shocked with how many people were doing it just for the money (which isn't much).  Then my wife needed a kidney transplant.  I have spent hundreds of hours researching private adoption agencies (overseas domestic) and even went through some of it.  Then we went to foster care because of price, location, and availability of children.  We got two boys who we thought we were going to be able to keep and couldn't.  Then a boy and a girl who we had for almost a year we thought we'd be able to keep but couldn't.  3 months ago after 5 years we were finally able to adopt 3 children.  All have developmental delays, PTSD, all kinds of abuse, etc. through foster care.  Losing those children previously mentioned has been very hard on us especially my wife, who is currently on anti-depression medications mainly due to that.  We spent 4 - 5 years looking for just Deaf children, and couldn't find any, or the one we did find had a million other health problems as well (which we didn't take due to my wife's health problems) and they will be older.
 
We have some good friends who adopted a black 14 year old boy who is Deaf who has a slew of problems as well and they have been married 15 years, and he was adopted before but they couldn't put up with him so they released him back to the system.  They have been trying to adopt for almost a decade and then finally accepted a 14 year old Deaf boy they are both Deaf.

I tell you these things for a few reasons:

1.  Language or "Deaf culture" isn't a reason to adopt a child.  Most women and girls I have met are fascinated by ASL.
     (Which honestly is why I started taking it at college was to meet girls).
 
2.  Because the Deaf population is low Deaf children for Deaf parents are actually in demand.
 
3.  Adoption is SOOO much harder than it should be.  In 2002 (during which all the celebs were doing overseas adoptions) over 14,000 children overseas were adopted.  Guess how many last year [2014]?  Just over 500.  Countries have locked down a LOT for adoptions.

4.  If you do domestic adoption it will be over 30,000 dollars, and the mother has to accept YOU.  If someone is Deaf, and sees either a Deaf person or a hearing person both saying they want a Deaf child odds are they'll pick the Deaf.  And again I personally know 5 - 6 Deaf couples attempting to adopt for years.
 
5.  Foster-care adoption is another whole different animal.  The heartache we went through losing those children destroyed us, and still hurts so bad.  If you go into foster care with the realization that its hard, you will be under a microscope, your say doesn't matter nearly as much as someone who visits with the children if lucky 20 minutes a month.  It might work for you.  Also know that the children are going to have a lot more problems than just being Deaf.  
 
I know this sounds discouraging, and it is.  100 years ago the orphanages would put kids on a train going west with their name around their neck.  Whoever came back went back to the orphanages.  I don't think that is safe, but I don't know how we went from one extreme to the other in 80-90 years.  

These are my personal views and opinions, my wife might feel differently about some portions of it, and each state is different, but it is a pain no matter what you want to do. 

_____________ [Name on file to respect his privacy.]




 


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