November is national adoption month. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. But it holds a very special place in our hearts. If you know our story you will understand why. If not, you can read a little more about it in our small published story here. And within the next year we hope to have our entire story published, which is a great big roller-coaster of exciting and frightful emotions. So definitely check back for updates on the fun we will have with that!
When you think about adoption, there are many many ways that you could go about it. And oddly enough, I have had the blessing of experiencing adoption in more ways than one. But today I want to focus on foster care. It is something that I am sure every knows, the term at least, but likely not in depth. And even after having experienced adopting a child who had been placed in the foster care system, I still do not feel completely educated. But there are resources out there and it is my hope that by sharing today that people will become more educated and get more involved!
Older teens have lower adoption rates than younger children, and they often wait longer to be adopted. But no matter their age, all kids need a supportive, loving home, and the teenage years are a critical period.
There are 428,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and 112,000 are waiting to be adopted. That is just TOO many. And to make matters more complex, so many of those kids are seen as “too old” to be adopted by a family. Approximately 41 percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17 percent of those adopted have been in this age group. Don’t those kids deserve to have a loving family just as much as any other child?
Dominique was 8 years old when we were blessed with bringing her into our home. Not yet a teenager, but also not what some would consider young. But not once, not or a single moment, did I think that she was “too old” to bring into our home. The children who are in the foster care system are stuck. They need people who want to provide them with a loving, caring family. People who will simply bring them in and show them what compassion is. Someone who will give them a forever family, no matter how old they are.
Most of these kids grow up never having a family to count on. They move from home to home, never knowing how long they are going to be in one place. Most of them develop the idea of the perfect family, something that exists in their mind, and something that they think will probably never exist for them. And it breaks my heart to think that many of them will grow up without ever having known what it truly feels like to have a family.
I thank god every single day that we have our daughter. She is now almost 18 years old and she is an incredible young woman. You would never know her past unless she came out and blatantly told you about it. She is balanced, she is respected, and she has a heart that is so filled up. I hope that her story will inspire you to reach out and learn more about adoption and the foster care process.
If you are serious about learning more about fostering or adopting, please be sure to get information from a trusted resource. If you need help connecting with resources or a local agency contact us. You can also contact the foster care program manager in your State or Territory. You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent! Even ven if you’re are not ‘perfect’, you still have the ability to provide the stability and security that older youth in foster care need and deserve.
- Deciding to Pursue Adoption
- Applying to Adopt
- Completing an Adoption Home Study
- Getting Approved to Adopt
- Envisioning Your Family
- Being Matched with a Child
- Receiving an Adoptive Placement
- Legalizing an Adoption
- Being an Adoptive Parent
- Applying to Foster
- Completing a Foster Home Study
- Getting Approved to Foster
- Receiving a Foster Placement
- Being a Foster Parent
No matter what their age, youth need the love and stability that a family can offer. I hope that you will take a few minutes and check out the Adoptuskids.org site. Look around and learn about fostering and adoption. Learn more about the success stories of those kids who have been adopted and how much of an impact it had on their life. Maybe today you can make a difference in the life of a child.