I listened to the first TED Talk below a couple of days ago, a talk that reminded me to check my biases and assumptions at the door and the need work together to find solutions. It talks about biases, judgement, self-awareness, empathy, growth, questioning conventional wisdom, considering cause and effect, and whether they have it right or wrong…
From the TED website:
“As a young surgeon, Peter Attia felt contempt for a patient with diabetes. She was overweight, he thought, and thus responsible for the fact that she needed a foot amputation. But years later, Attia received an unpleasant medical surprise that led him to wonder: is our understanding of diabetes right? Could the precursors to diabetes cause obesity, and not the other way around? A look at how assumptions may be leading us to wage the wrong medical war.
Both a surgeon and a self-experimenter, Peter Attia hopes to ease the diabetes epidemic by challenging what we think we know and improving the scientific rigor in nutrition and obesity research.”
The part of the talk on cause and effect – and what if they have it all wrong? Something very applicable to all types of adoption. What is the cause that an adoption had to happen? What needs to be fixed so it doesn’t need to happen, or only happen as a last resort? This part of the talk is what I think needs to happen in adoption (obviously the questions will be different, starting with what causes most adoptions to happen, and then what are the solutions)…
“We’ve recruited a team of scientific rivals, the best and brightest who all have different hypotheses for what’s at the heart of this epidemic. Some think it’s too many calories consumed. Others think it’s too much dietary fat. Others think it’s too many refined grains and starches. But this team of multi-disciplinary, highly skeptical and exceedingly talented researchers do agree on two things. First, this problem is just simply too important to continue ignoring because we think we know the answer. And two, if we’re willing to be wrong, if we’re willing to challenge the conventional wisdom with the best experiments science can offer, we can solve this problem.”
There are far too many different groups in adoption not talking to each other, and all believe they are right – no one is willing to be wrong, myself included. People believe domestic adoption is better today and my era was all wrong. Was it? Is what is happening today better? I think parts of my era were better, and parts of todays adoption is better, and I think that parts of adoption before my time were better – but I could be wrong. But if domestic adoption is being done better, shouldn’t the numbers be declining to only those where the parents just don’t want to be parents, or chose not to access services to overcome their challenges? Where, if they wanted to parent – the hand-up that they need for the first few years is there? Why are the adoption models in other countries seeing less domestic adoptions? Countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, UK, Germany, France. Chances are – some may be resistant to studying those models to find out why there are less adoptions, why those models are working to reduce adoptions, and what are the flaws to avoid.
An adoption conservation needs to be uncomfortable and take the “me” out of the equation, and put the “child” back in the center of what is important to the point that adoption returns to finding a home for a child who needs a home. The children need the adults to find common ground and consensus to find solutions for the primary causes, so only those who need a home are adopted.
What are the primary causes of international adoption in developing countries? I would suggest that it is likely that most adoptions aren’t happening because the parents don’t want to parent, rather because poverty makes it the only “choice” they have for a child to the chance to reach adulthood. Is poverty also one of the reasons for corruption in adoption, and is it not also harming the children who truly need adoption because it is their last resort? Is their a solution to poverty that would reduce the need for adoption?
I also watched the talk below from TEDx Sydney Australia 2013 – a lesson that can be applied in different ways for all types of adoption – if we truly want to reduce the number of children that need adoption, we have to start with the cause, not put on a band-aid called adoption to the problem. Fix the cause to make sure only those children who need adoption, are adopted. Stay tuned to the end because it isn’t just working in Australia…note you can just listen to most of the talk, but the start has graphics and Q&A asked to the audience…
Paul Pholeros: How to reduce poverty? Fix homes
“In 1985, architect Paul Pholeros was challenged by the director of an Aboriginal-controlled health service to “stop people getting sick” in a small indigenous community in south Australia. The key insights: think beyond medicine and fix the local environment. In this sparky, interactive talk, Pholeros describes projects undertaken by Healthabitat, the organization he now runs to help reduce poverty — through practical design fixes — in Australia and beyond.”