adoption Archives

The long process of adoption

Many of you know that we have completed our homestudy that qualifies our family to adopt from foster care here in Florida and many other places in the USA.  That was a year and a half ago and since then we have experienced the ups and downs of matches, non-matches, hope, mistakes, recertification, and the heartbreak of knowing a child is a victim of something that can potentially create in him or her predatory-like behaviors.  It angers me that a parent, or anybody, would do such things to a child. It angers me that those abuses can and do change a child, even a very young toddler, forever.

We recently received a call about a child that our family is being considered to adopt.  This caught me completely off guard because I feel we are often overlooked as a possible match because of our family size.  We’ve had calls about 3 possible placements so far and each call has had me so nervous.  The case worker asks me questions about our family, why we want to adopt, what we do for fun, and I’m so afraid of saying the wrong thing, not being clear, not giving enough information or giving too much information or going on and on about nonsense that doesn’t do anything but make me seem a little crazy so I err on the side of caution and do more listening instead of talking which I am not sure is any better.

I can’t think of the right questions to ask until I get off the phone and then I’m afraid to call back because I don’t want to appear obsessively eager but if I don’t call back our interest in the child might not be fully realized. I get my hopes up and remind myself not to get my hopes up in 10 second cycles and my stomach sits in knots while I try and reason with myself that being calm and patient and trusting in God is the best course of action.

The truth is we aren’t likely going to be matched with this child, no matter how much I want this placement. Because even though we believe that being adopted into a large, bonded family can be an asset to a traumatized child, from the outside looking in it can just appear like organized chaos, which is also true.

But, seriously, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this obviously fun family?

My plan is to remember that God is in control and if He is preparing us to adopt a child or sibling group we’ll know when He’s ready for us to know.  Until then, I’ll just hope and pray that we’re prepared for him, her, or they when the time comes.

And when that happens we’ll have fun updating our family pictures for sure.

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adoptionawarenessGrowing up I clearly recall my home being a safe place, my safe place. If there is anything of more value to a child than a feeling of safety and security in a loving home, I don’t know what it is. I look back on my childhood and feel overwhelmingly thankful that my parents gave us a sheltered childhood.  We were nourished and taught good and right things and never lacked for anything and when the teenager that lived two houses down was irresponsibly sighting his rifle before going hunting the next day and I was sure his intention was to kill me…
I instinctively knew where to run for safety.

In the 27 hours of classes we were required to take to become approved to adopt through foster care here in Florida, I learned that every child in the foster care system has been through a traumatic experience that has cost them any hope of feeling that kind of safety. The vast majority of them have been either forcibly removed from their homes or given up voluntarily by one or both parents.  It leaves them feeling vulnerable and alone. The ultimate betrayal – turned away by the people who were supposed to instinctively long to protect them.

I have learned what kind of abuses take place and what effect that can have on a child. I learned that it is usually bad. Really bad.

I have learned that we, individually and as a society, have gotten far too comfortable with their cries.
Deafening. Silent. Raw. Hidden. Heartbroken.

I have learned that I can’t do that anymore.
And I have learned that sometimes all you can do is pray.

I have learned that there is a lot of fear in adopting a broken child and a lot of thought and consideration has to go into it before a challenge like that should be taken on.
And I have learned that no matter how much thought and consideration you give it there is no way to prepare yourself.

I have learned that the system that has been put in place to facilitate the best possible outcome for both adopter and adoptee is broken. I’ve learned that quite often, out of an understandable desperation to find children a home, the people in charge, the experts, will break the most essential of those rules and set everybody up for failure. Because there aren’t enough foster homes. Because the kids are close to being too old to place. Because they might have a disability that is just beginning to show and it’s RIGHTNOW or possibly never.

And that’s when failure happens.  And everybody is to blame but nobody is at fault because the real failure is not doing anything at all and nobody involved can be accused of that.

I have learned that it is hopeless.

And I have learned that there is hope.


 

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