Many step parents, foster parents and wonderful individuals step up to become true parents to children. Being a parent is not something that everyone can do, if it were then foster care wouldn’t be over filled with children in need of loving families. Recently one ten year old California boy understood exactly what a real father was. When Kalani Watson asked his mother how he could make his last name the same as hers and his step dads she explained the entire process to him. Kalani loves his step dad Brandon Williamson and decided to ask him to officially adopt him. During his birthday party Kalani read a note that he wrote and Brandon agreed to begin the adoption process. It will take some time but it will create the sense of family that Kalani is seeking.
In a simliar incident, foster mom Milli Holloman made a decision to start the adoption process of her foster child Vera Wren. She knew that she was missing something from her life and that she needed to be Vera’s mom. While Milli didn’t intent to gain any publicity for her adoption she hopes that her viral photo shoot inspires more people to open their homes and hearts to becoming foster parents. One the adoption was completed, Milli decided to incorporate a photo shoot for her friends and family. She is a photographer and wanted each person who had a part in the adoption process to hold up a sign stating what their part in the process was. A judge held a sign that read “Today I Saw A Happy Ending” and her nieces and nephews held a sign that said “Today We Have Another Cousin”. Adoption and fostering can change the lives of children seeking stability and love.
The final preparations for adoption signal a new and most probably a happy beginning to most children in foster care. Such a euphoric feeling resonated with 18-year-old Carson Petersen as his adoption was finalized in a California court. Carson finally managed to find a haven in the private comfort of his foster parents, Renee and Tex Petersen, despite spending over ten years moving around the foster system.
While addressing journalists from ABC News on June 30, Carson couldn’t help but describe the feeling as “emotional” as he could finally let go of the past and look forward to the future. Carson initially entered the foster care system as a 3-year-old following the sudden demise of his mother. Having attained the age of 8 years, the system deemed it necessary to place him under his father’s custody. However, he was later reabsorbed into the system after being homeless for a few years.
According to him, such a period mainly manifested toxic behavior characterized by the consumption of alcohol and drugs. Before meeting the Petersen’s, Carson behavior drastically reformed and ultimately earned him an opportunity with the loving and caring Christian family. More importantly, they embraced him as their “son” rather than “foster son” which was pretty awesome. Carson recalls the exact moment he had managed to master some courage and ask the Petersen’s to adopt him as their son, especially after having lived with them for a while.
Based on Tex Petersen’s perspective, the idea struck him with positive relocation as he intended on providing unconditional love and support to the young Carson. In most situations, parents tend to reflect on the idea before making any informed decision. However, this adoption process proved to be different as the trio had built a loving support system.
On the adoption day, Renee Petersen gushed about Carson as a young man blessed with the ability to help others in need.
Speaking from experience I know how magical it is to go to Disney World. Taking your family to Disney World and watching the excitement in your children’s eyes is an indescribable experience. One family, Courtney and Tom Gilmore along with their foster children April and Janielle managed to top this experience according to CBS News yesterday evening at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mickey-mouse-surprises-brother-and-sister-with-adoption-news
This family’s most magical moment came when they took their children and Mickey Mouse announced that the Gilmour family would be permanently adopting the siblings, April age 12 and Janielle, age 10. The Gilmours arranged a private meet and greet with Mickey Mouse and slipped him a wooden sign. Mickey Mouse held up the sign announcing the official adoption date. This was a true magical moment, as the girls have been in and out of foster care most of their lives. The girls had been with the Gilmour family for over 3 years and thought this day would come but was surprised that Mickey Mouse was the one to reveal the official adoption date. The girls cried with excitement and relief.
Courtney Gilmour told CBS News that as a child she was a foster child too. She understands what is involved in being a foster child and how it changes your life. She knew that someday she wanted to be a foster parent. Only a month after the Gilmours were married, they became foster parents. They have fostered 13 children over the years, including April and Janielle. Most have been short term placements. April and Janielle are now a permanent part of the Gilmour family. The official adoption date was May 25, 2017. The heart warming story recently made news due to 1.5 million views on facebook of the magical Mickey Mouse moment.
One Arizona mom is making a big difference in the lives of orphaned kids. Both she and her husband have adopted a total of four kids so far. They are planning to adopt another girl in the near future. Together the Gagnon couple has six kids, which includes four adopted kids and two biological ones.
Stacey Gagnon is not just adopting any children. She and her husband are adopting orphaned kids that nobody wants because they have severe defects or disorders. One of her adopted kids named Joel has only one ear and suffers from a facial deformation. Another of the couple’s adopted kids has spina bfida and needs a wheelchair for mobility. Additionally, another one of her adopted kids has suffered traumatic brain injury. Yet another adopted child needs a feeding tube in order to survive.
The nurse and mother of six kids says she is heartbroken by the fact that nobody seems to want these kids. They are often cast aside by their own parents and families. Due to the fact that nobody wants them, they are often taken into state care. Conditions and care at some of these orphanages can be abysmal. So Stacey and her husband who is a school teacher are adopting these kids and giving them a loving home.
Stacey Gagnon says that it is very difficult to be a parent of an adopted child and even more difficult when that child has a severe deformity and illness. In these cases it is even more important to let these kids know that you love them and that you will be there for them. Many of the orphaned kids have faced stares and gasps from their fellow peers, which Mrs. Gagnon says is very painful to experience. She recently made a stir on the web when she called out kids for staring and gasping at one of her adopted sons during a church event. Her posting was aimed at encouraging empathy and understand of sickly and deformed children such as her own adopted kids.
As a licensed foster parent, it becomes very challenging trying to let go of a child you have loved and parented for a lengthy period. A greater challenge is attempting to adjust to the arrival of a new child fresh after the departure of your first foster child. Letting go of your first foster child leaves you under a great deal of mental, emotional, and physical strain. This is because you have very high expectations thinking that you will be able to adopt this child.
The strain experienced comes from the uncertainty of adopting this child, coursing through the bureaucratic red tape of a failed system, and having to say goodbye to someone who has grown to become part of your family. This means that as a foster parent, falling short in one experience can significantly drain your energy and morale. One reason that can cause your foster child to leave is if they are reunited with their biological relatives. However, when you decide to do it again, you will be more prepared to deal with the dilemma of the possible outcome.
It is essential to pick yourself up quickly because the American foster child system is never short of children who are in need of a family. Even though the departure of a foster child is accompanied by a deep sense of loss, preparing yourself emotionally will assist you to get back on your feet. Most foster parents have to be optimistic and hope that every time they take in a child, the probability of adoption is very high. This will enable you to realize that your current foster child is not there to replace or displace the previous one but to offer a new beginning.
The panic associated with meeting a new child is most likely based on the subconscious need to fill the void left by your previous foster child. However, the only way to go about this is to treat each experience separately, start afresh, and make the most out of every situation.
Susan McGalla is committed to helping women advance in business. She herself is something of a trailblazer with her success in the corporate world. She has reached some top executive posts throughout her career and shared her knowledge and experience with many different female audiences. Two examples are Women and Girl’s Foundation of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Mellon University Speaker Series for CEOs.
Her business savvy and experience has culminated with the founding of her own enterprise known as P3 Executive Consulting, LLC. They are expert consultants, led by McGalla, who specializes in teaching clients how to brand better. With her ability to instruct clients on how to differentiate their products and services, P3 provides timely help so businesses can grow. McGalla and P3 aren’t limited to this aspect, however. They are also adroit marketers who teach companies to effectively manage talent and improve operational efficiencies. It’s a lot to take in, but it illustrates how much ground McGalla has covered in her career.
In her personal life, Susan McGalla grew up in a competitive environment. She had a rough and tumble existence with two brothers and a father who was a football coach. She wasn’t cut any slack with her family as a girl and thrived in spite of that. It has served her well in business where ambitions sometimes clash. Her parents encouraged her to work hard and instilled in her a sense of confidence. So, with this helpful background, she is comfortable working with both men and women.
Her tenure with American Eagle Outfitters(AEO) is noteworthy. She found herself working almost exclusively with men and helped change the corporate culture there. At the time there were no women in executive positions or on the managerial board. McGalla, with her talent and ambition, thrived and helped open the door for other women to climb the corporate ladder. McGalla eventually rose to the position of President at AEO with extensive responsibilities.
Her consulting business offers an insider’s perspective on the retail world. She works with top financial officers and shares her accumulated wisdom so others can excel too. The luxury of running her own business and enjoying a measure of autonomy is the byproduct of years of hard work and flexibility demonstrated throughout her career. She has maintained a healthy perspective on her gender considering it to be neither an asset nor a liability. She has always hoped to be judged on the quality of her ideas instead.
Same-sex couples and single people have been discriminated for a long time, especially regarding adoption of children. However, in Queensland, the Labor bill passed the reform of the state’s adoption laws after a debate with the esteemed Speaker casting the final vote. Therefore, same sex couples and couples seeking fertility treatments were allowed to register themselves on the adoption register.
Insights of the Supporting Party
Shannon Fentiman, a famed Government minister, expressed her joy of passing the bill that previously discriminated the same-sex couples. She mentioned that Queensland community had prevented these individuals from meeting the needs of children through adoption. She added that children’s needs should be prioritized and met without considering the parents’ sexuality or their single status. Shannon cited that these individuals encouraged a positive relationship and a nurturing and supportive home for children.
The Opposition Party’s Views
Ros Bates, an opposition MP, cited that the action of allowing adoption of children by same-sex couples was because of the minimum number of adoptions in Queensland annually. Bates also argued that Queensland had a limited number of children seeking adoption; therefore, it was inadequate to guarantee a relaxation of the adoption eligibility criteria.
A Touching Testimony
Steven Miles, a well-known Labor MP, cited that he was aware of a same-sex couple that became foster parents to a young boy. The couple nurtured and loved him despite his worst behaviors. As a result, the boy learned to understand and reciprocate their love. Steven mentioned that the young boy is currently proud of the couple and wants them to officially adopt him since they helped him overcome his sad past during the last five years. The Queensland bill of same-sex couples and single people’s adoption rights has earned the state popularity, unlike the Northern Territory of Australia and South Australia that still prohibits adoption by same-sex couples.
ABC News reported on 18 July that an 18-year-old who had been in foster care for over 13 years had been adopted into a forever home. According to this article http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/18-year-spent-13-years-foster-care-adopted/story?id=48679708 Carson Petersen, an 18-year-old young man from Fresno was adopted by his foster parents Rex and Renee Petersen after having spent over 13 years oscillating between foster homes. He was placed into the foster system at three years of age when his biological mother took her own life. Carson Petersen has been put under the care of his biological father five years later when he was eight, but three years down the line he was homeless in the street. Thus he was brought back into the foster system.
After moving from one foster home to another and experimenting with drugs and alcohol for a short while, Carson met the Petersens. He says that his life changed for the better from that point on as they are a Christian family that believes in him and sees the best in him. Even through hardships and challenges, this family never gave up on him, treating him like one of theirs. He says that he was happy that he was made to feel like he belonged, and was grateful for the love that he was shown. That is why he requested them to adopt him right before Christmas of 2016.
Rex Petersen says that it was a no-brainer. They had lived with Carson since 2014 and had come to like him for his good nature and natural instinct to help people. They said that they considered Carson as their son and were happy to make that fact official. Rex stated that it is devastating to watch kids go through the foster system, moving from one home to another and back into the system. He was only happy to provide a home to one and give their life meaning. The adoption was formalized on June 30th at the Fresno County Superior Court.
Studies show that adopted children suffer from learning disabilities at more than twice the rate of children born biologically to both parents. The result is that many parents of adopted children find themselves in need of professional special education services.
It brings up a lot of issues, including the possible need to find a special needs private school, or if the child attends a public school, making sure that this public institution has the proper resources to handle disabilities. Some parents resort to home schooling while others hire outside private professional help.
Although it is well known that children of adoptive parents have a significantly higher rate of learning disabilities and other issues, finding reliable data to back it up has been elusive so far. Studies have been done, but statistical results vary widely.
For example, a study conducted at Illinois State University found that fully 40 percent of kids that are adopted are receiving special education services. But another similar study done by the Institute of Family Studies came in with a rate of 24 percent.
Although these results are highly at variance statistically, it is an almost certainty that when looking at all children – both adopted and those belonging to natural parents together – the rate of special needs is 10 percent of all students.
What does it mean? The implications are many. For one, parents who are considering adoption should be aware that the child they plan to adopt is much more likely to require expensive, long-term special education resources.
Other implications from the statistics concern funding decision for various government programs. When lawmakers formulate budgets for special education having reliable data on how much to spend on such resources is critical.
The bottom line, however, is that adopted kids are more likely to require special education resources.
Anna Lokey’s husband, Shaun broached the idea of adopting a child, which took her off guard, to the extent that she considered it an understatement. She felt she wasn’t ready to bring up someone else’s child, whereas the husband took it as his duty to adopt a child owing to his childhood experience and upbringing. After a few years, Shaun shared a video with his wife on adoption and beseeched her that it was not about being a perfect parent, but rather being available and participating in their daily lives. It took a long conversation and prayers to have the couple add three more children to their three biological children.
Being a Parent of an Adopted Child
According to Shaun, adoption can be quite exhaustive and expensive. The cost in 2016 stands from $ 20,000 to $ 50,000 per child. The costs are distributed to travel, paperwork and licensing. Prospective parents should look into grant programs. Anna and Shawn adopted Lily in 2010 when she was only two years old, Judah in 2010 at age 6 and Milo in 2014 when he was three years. Each child comes with unique challenges. For instance, Judah had some roots in his language and culture.
Challenges that come along with adoption
The language barrier is also one of the problems faced and the time is taken to adapt. It is also an uphill task trying to connect with your children emotionally since the young adopted children are slow to warm up to their new homes, surroundings, and parents. You have to deal with your fears of rejection and the many ups and downs.
Statistics on adoption and parenting in the U.S Alone
More than 110,000 children were adopted in 2016 according to the National Council for Adoption, a figure down from 2007’s 133,000. The decline is attributed to the drop in foreign adoption and the harsh economic conditions. The State Department reports that in 2016, parents in the United States adopted 5,372 children from other countries, compared to 22,884 children in 2004. The figure has been consistently declining every year since that peak.