Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dr. Phil on Evan Johnson Placement Story

I don't ussually watch Dr. Phil, but I wanted to see how he handled the Evan Johnson story that the NBC Today show botched so badly.

Dr. Phil did a better job making it clear that Evan Johnson was placed with guardians for 3 years rather than adopted. He spent a long time on the story and threw in another story about another attempt at adoption that didn't work out. Dr. Phil did say that these were atypical stories that should not discourage people from adopting.

These two stories certainly were atypical. The strange thing about the Evan Johnson story is that the child was placed with his guardians so long when he had a biological father who wanted him. The second story involved an attempt to adopt a Native American child. Two things make adopting Native American children problematic for non-Native Americans:

-U.S. law regarding Native Americans
-Native American tribes are generally opposed to non-Native Americans adopting Native American children because they feel that the children are denied their culture and the culture is denied a member who should be carrying on the tribes traditions.

This story also made it appear that the couple didn't get good legal advice at the start of their attempt to adopt.

Both these stories dealt with Children who were never adopted. Adoptions are permanent. Dr. Phil did a better job of making this clear than NBC. He could have done a better job of putting the stories in context of the large number of successful adoptions that happen every year.

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