MSF should match adoptive kids to parents

Currently, Ministry of Social and Family Development does not offer child-matching services.
Currently, Ministry of Social and Family Development does not offer child-matching services.PHOTO: ST FILE

I am happy that society is becoming more open-minded about adoption, but some adoptive parents are turning to parent websites for information and help, and they are subject to risks as a result (Adoption requests pop up on parenting websites, Feb 24).

For the adoptive parents, the whole process can be complex.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) website provides useful information.

By and large, those who want to take up the much more serious responsibilities of parenting should not be daunted by the process.

However, the more information and help is available, the better for both the child and the parents.

Currently, MSF does not offer child-matching services. One has to look for a potential child through relatives, friends or other parties.

Problems can, thus, arise when adoptive parents resort to searching online or through unrelated third parties. These include overcharging and even scams.

As for parenting preparation, the mandatory Home Study Report includes helpful discussions on family relationships and parenting styles among others.

The focus of the home study, however, is to assess the adoptive parents rather than provide them with help. Moreover, it is carried out for only the adoption of a foreign child or a child under the state's care. It is not a requirement for adopting local children.

Birth parents often have significant personal issues to feel that they cannot look after their child. They may already have financial needs, and medical costs for pregnancy checks and childbirth may be big burden.

There is also the stress of carrying a baby and, quite often, the social stigma in the case of an unwed mother as well as the pain of childbirth, and the guilt and regret which may come with giving up the baby for adoption.

I hope MSF will take up the role of matching all adoptive children in Singapore to their future parents to avoid any malpractice likely to happen in a private process.

A standard process for birth parents should be included to ensure that only genuine cases will proceed, avoiding the previously mentioned problems for adoptive parents.

MSF should provide financial help to cover medical costs and counselling for birth parents during and after the process.

The Home Study Report should also be a requirement for all adoptive parents and include essential parenting preparation.

Clara Yue (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2019, with the headline 'MSF should match adoptive kids to parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe