The Children Who Wait | Heritage of Words

Writer: Marsha Traugot


Marsha Traugot wrote the essay “The Children who wait”, in the prevalent trend of child adoption in a few decades in America context. Marsha Traugot suggests reasons for a new trend in adoption. Now a wider variety of Families can open their homes to children who in the past would have been levelled unadoptable. In setting forth the causes for this phenomenon, Traugot draws from specific case histories.

The writer begins her essay with an example of a 51/2years old black homeless girl named Tammy who is suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome which can stop her intellectual growth at any time. By this, Traugot wants to prove that she is not dealing with fiction but a specific case study. In the past, especially before 1960, the black, disabled, handicapped and sick children were unadoptable. Tammy has recently been legally freed for adoption which shows the changes that have taken place in the American adoption scene. Before 1960, only healthy white infants could be adopted. But now, the American adoption scene has been completely changed due to different civil rights movements, birth control, changing social values and social science research. Because of civil rights movements, the attitudes of American people towards Negro children changed. Due to birth control and legalized abortion, fewer unwanted babies were born. Even the unmarried women could keep their babies with them because of the changing social values. As a result, healthy babies were hardly available for adoption and people turned their attention to other children like Tammy.

Due to the massive growth of population, the number of homeless children is in the increasing trend. Between 1960 and 1978, the number of children in the foster home reached nearly half a million. Many states have no idea about the number of children who lived with their biological parents, who lived in foster homes and those children who could be adopted. If such children were left in the foster homes for more than 18 months, they would suffer from different kinds of illnesses and social crimes. It would make their life more troublesome, complicated and worse. The politicians also wouldn’t invest any fund to begin new programs for such children as the children have no rights to vote. So, the homeless children were neglected and uncared. According to child care specialists, the cost of keeping an average child in the foster home was. $3,600 to $24,000. This shows that the foster home was expensive and cruel. The writer suggests that social workers should change their attitudes. They should accept even disabled children for adoption. They should open child care centres and hold meetings.

Now, the social workers write down the characteristics of the child and the profile of a suitable family and then they try to match. To find the possible adoptive parents, the social workers first look to their lists. They give detailed information about the children to the regional exchange offices. They organize meetings and parties for children and possible parents to meet informally. If they still can t find adopters by personal contact, they advertise on T.V. and publish the child’s profile in the newspapers. Thus, child welfare specialists and social workers can do a lot for the children who wait for adoption.

Important Questions and Answers:

Q1. Whom does Marsha Traugot refer to as the children who wait?

Ans: In ‘The Children who wait’, Marsha Traugot has shown the changes in trends in adoption comparing the past and present and exhibiting various examples. In the past, not all the children in foster homes could be adopted. The prevalent law restricted adoption of Black children, handicapped, the unhealthy and the children above 5 years old. Similarly, the children from minority and mixed-race were also labelled as unadoptable. But after the 1960s, especially after the Second World War, the new trends in adoption emerged in America. A wider variety of families began to open their homes to such children who in the past would be labelled unadoptable. This helped to raise the standard of justice and humanity. Now any type of child can be adopted from foster homes by suitable families. Thus, Marsha Traugot refers to the children who wait to those who once were confined to live only in foster homes and now are waiting to get their family and future as well.

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