On June 30, 2017, Carson Peterson became the adopted child of Tex and Rene Peterson after more than thirteen years in foster care, says Nicole Pelletiere (18-year-old who spent nearly 13 years in foster care adopted into forever home). Why was it so hard for Cardon to get adopted? With 68,000 children in foster care, it is a miracle he was found by the right family. Not only are there so many children in foster care, they are not all listed on the California foster care system’s website, California Kid Connection/]. For every child that is listed, there are at least 95 children that are not put up on the site, lowering their chances of ever finding their forever home. How would the Petersons even found Carson if he wasn’t listed? They would have had to be major advocates and have made phone call after phone call to find an unlisted child. One of the other big problems is the way the foster care system works in California. According to Jeff Catz of the Huffington Post, “California is one of about ten states that have a state-supervised and county-administered approach to foster care” (California adoption – Why Is It So Hard to Adopt from Foster Care?). This approach means that each county is a system within the statewide system and inter-county adoptions are rare and hard to process. Between the massive number of children in the the foster care system, the large number of those children not listed on California Kid Connection, and the bubbles that counties have become within the state, it is no wonder it took thirteen years for Carson to finally find a permanent, loving home.
Elijah and Janielle knew that they were going to be adopted one day. However, they did not know the exact date. They thought that they were going to get adopted after the school year ended, but their real adoption date was closer than they thought.
Elijah and Janielle went to Disney World with their foster parents back in April 2017. They were given buttons and told to write down what they were celebrating. The kids wrote down that they were celebrating being adopted. The parents wrote down that they were celebrating adopting their children.
The park arranged for the children to meet Mickey Mouse. The children thought that they were just going to get their pictures taken with Mickey Mouse. However, Mickey Mouse actually told them the date that they were going to be adopted. Janielle and Elijah broke down crying when they found out that they were getting ready to be adopted.
The video of Elijah and Janielle breaking down after they found out their adoption date was posted online on July 6, 2017. It has received over 14 million views. Courtney Gilmore, whose is the children’s mother, stated that she knew the kids would be happy. However, she had no idea that they would break down and cry.
In most cases, when children hear exciting news, it takes a long time for them to process it. However, Elijah and Janielle had an immediate reaction when they found out that they were going to officially be a part of a family.
When a couple makes a decision to adopt a child, they often think that it is as easy as filling out an application and selecting the child of their choice. However, there is nothing that can prepare a person for the difficult path ahead of them. Here are four ways that you can prepare for adoption:
1. Develop A Certain Mind Set
First and foremost, you need to have a clear mindset that it is not going to happen overnight. The road to adoption is quite long, and there are many obstacles that must be overcome. You must go through classes, have a home study, and get a physical to be approved. Then comes the hard part, waiting. Develop a mindset that this is not going to happen overnight. For some, it happens quickly, and for others, it takes years to adopt a child.
2. Close Out Your Pregnancy Struggles
Before bringing another child into your life, you need to make sure that you have dealt with all of your infertility struggles. You can’t focus on an adopted child if you are mourning a miscarriage or the fact that you cannot have children. Get counseling or do whatever necessary to find peace with these issues.
3. Get Your House Prepared
Some people find that getting their house ready is a great way to keep their mind busy. Start thinking about safety plugs in the light sockets and anything that could be dangerous to a child. When you are further along in the process, you can set up a room. Start buying things a little at a time so you are not overwhelmed when the day arrives. Just be careful not to go overboard as you don’t know the gender or age of the child yet. Things like blankets and toys are usually safe.
4. Ensure Your Marriage Is Strong
Finally, many people want to have a child to try to fix a problem in their marriage. If there are any lingering issues or complications from infertility, then you need to deal with those before starting a family.
While you are waiting for the call that a child has been matched with your family, you will have plenty to do keep you busy. Once you hold that child in your hands, it will seem like all that time was but a blink of an eye.
Children’s Right to Parental Care
It is the right of every child to receive parental love. Some children are unable to get it due to neglect by their families. As a result, these children end up facing mental torture caused by the challenging situations they encounter.
Eligibility of the Foster Parents
There are laws that allow parents to adopt these children. However, a controversy has emerged regarding the eligibility of the foster parents. In 2015, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Texas Department of Child Protective Services had violated the constitutional rights of the children by exposing them to unreasonable risk www.atlantic.com/news . The judge argued that the parents to adopt the child must be of undisputed character.
Freedom to Serve Children Act, 2017
The judgment stirred a lot of debate that found its way into the Texas House of Representative. A bill (Freedom to Serve Children Act) was tabled in the house which empowered the government-funded foster care and adoption agencies to deny adoption rights to parents with questionable religious backgrounds www.pbs.org . This includes the transgender, same-sex couples and atheists.
Matters Arising from the Bill
The questions of whether the bill will ease the burden of placements of the foster children rages on. Critics argue that the bill will complicate issues for foster parents leading to reduced placements. There are currently more than 250,000 children waiting for placement in Texas. While it’s true that the children need the care and love of a family, it is paramount to ensure their safety.
The bill was passed to ensure that the children’s religious beliefs are not compromised by the new family. It is not worth to have a child adopt behaviors that are against their upbringing beliefs just so that they get parental love. Some of the children are relatively young. If adopted by a family with questionable characters, it is likely that the child will adopt the behaviors of the foster parents as they grow.
The children’s interests should be considered during the adoption process. The passage of the bill in Texas is a step in the right direction. It guarantees the children’s safety and comfort during their stay with the foster families.
If you are interested in adopting a child, you are probably just getting started with what you need to do. You might be surprised to find out that there is a lot that goes into adopting a child, whether you’re trying to adopt in the country or in a different country altogether. No matter where you’re looking to adopt, it’s vital that you work through a professionally licensed adoption agency. These agencies specifically work with parents who would like to adopt a child and need help with the grueling and often lengthy process.
When you meet with the adoption agency, they will run you through a series of tests to ensure that you’re a viable candidate to adopt. Not every parent is a good fit for adoption, and these agencies want to decipher between different folks to find the right one. This might involve health checks, home checks and even a psych evaluation to ensure that you and your partner are stable enough to raise a child. Once you’ve been approved for adoption, you’ll be put onto a waiting list for either a baby, child or teenager depending on who you’d like to be part of your family.
The process of adopting is long, grueling and tiresome. In most cases, you should expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to adopt one child. This is an incredibly expensive fee that most parents just cannot afford, but it is a necessary evil if you want to add to your family through adoption. If you have any issues with your adoption, it’s important that you talk with the adoption agency to find out more about the problems you’re facing. Adoption isn’t for everyone because of the price and the time involved just to get your new baby home, but it is definitely worth the effort for individuals who either cannot have children naturally or want to help in the fight against kids put into the foster care system.
Amy Seek recently submitted a moving piece to the New York Times where she discussed the realities of open adoption. Seek, a New Jersey architect who lived in New York city during her college years, discussed her experiences with open adoption and, in doing so, revealed her great love for her birth son and his adoptive mother. The piece received a massive response by subscribers to the Times and Amy Seek has also penned a piece thanking readers for their overwhelming show of support and encouragement.
In her opinion editorial, Amy Seek describes the emotional process she went through when she decided to give her baby up for adoption, when she opted for an open adoption, and finally had to leave her child behind. Seek became pregnant when she was 23 years old and had already separated from the child’s father. She felt that she was not ready for children because she desired to pursue a career in architecture did not think she could complete this goal with a child. The father of the child was supportive of Seek during her pregnancy, and supported her decision to give the child up for adoption. Both Amy and the father of her child began the process of seeking an adoptive family.
Seek describes her meeting with her son’s future birth mother as one where she instantly knew they connected. Seek’s connection to her son’s birth mother extended to the present time. Seek now visits her son routinely as a part of their open adoption process. These visits are both joyous and painful for the architect. She describes her adoption decision as her greatest accomplishment and deepest regret. While she cannot be more pleased with the outcome of her son’s life and deeply respects his mother, she also realizes that she is now ready for children and hurts for her son’s presence in her life. Amy Seek’s story is a hopeful and painful, real life encounter with a courageous decision.
On Thursday, June 15, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbot signed House Bill 3859 into law, protecting religious rights for faith-based adoption groups in state child welfare programs.
The new law will allow faith-based groups that work with the Texas child welfare system to deny services, including foster placement and adoption, under any circumstances that “conflict with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Critics of the bill, including Democrats and civil rights groups, claim the bill will allow private, faith-based child welfare groups to discriminate against parents who are of a different religion or who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
There are currently more than 30,000 children in the foster care system in Texas. Many children in the state age out of the system “more damaged than when they entered,” said one federal judge in a ruling that Texas violated the constitutional rights of foster children. After exiting the system, many former foster children face homelessness, drug addiction, unemployment, and incarceration.
Proponents of the new law, including the bill’s sponsor, Representative James Frank, say the law will help children find homes.
Frank said the purpose of the Freedom to Serve Children law is to get more people working in child welfare. Rather than exclusion, the law is designed to offer protection to prospective foster and adoptive parents and child welfare workers who have been discriminated against for their religious believes.
Frank and other supporters of the bill have said the result should be an increase in foster homes by the end of the year to address the shortage of foster homes as well as adoptive families in Texas.
Texas joins several other states that have passed faith-based protective adoption agency laws, including Alabama, Michigan, North Dakota, Virginia, and South Dakota, which passed a similar law this year.
In a recent article on the Huffington Post, an Indian-American mother shares her story of adopting two white girls. She and her husband decided to adopt the twins after fertility problems, later giving birth to a biological child as well. The author says she loves all her children equally.
Though she tries not to make race and culture an everyday serious discussion, the author says it creeps into life often. From sending lunch boxes full of traditional Indian foods to school with her kids to actively seeking out a diverse group of friends, parts of life that other moms barely think about are always on her mind. Though she admits it would make her and her children’s lives easier to just pack a lunch like all the other kids eat, this mother makes an effort to immerse all of her kids in their culture.
Despite her efforts, the author always experiences racial awareness whenever she takes her children out in public. Whether they mean to be insensitive or not, people ask her questions that make her heart sink. From “What are they?” to “Are you their nanny?” to “Where are their parents?”, questions from strangers make this mom feel awkward and scared for her twins’ future.
Though it comes with daily struggles and hardships, the author says she is happy about her family’s unique traditions. The combination of Indian and American customs are what makes her family one of a kind. She also notes that growing up Indian-American as white girls gives her kids a unique outlook on life. From knowing how to cook traditional dishes and speaking Tamil to forcing people to feel sheepish for making assumptions about them based on their names, these girls have a bright future.
Adoption is a wonderful process that gives a child in need a loving home and family to call their own. Unfortunately, adopting a teenager can often be a long and difficult road, since you’re taking on the responsibilities of an older child who needs additional care, both physically and mentally. Oftentimes, teens in the foster care system are there because they have problematic histories with crime, drugs and past family calamities. Taking on an adopted teen is difficult work, but it is well worth it considering the fact that you’ll be responsible for turning that child’s life around.
If you’ve adopted a teenager recently and are finding that you’re experiencing problems, it might be a good idea to consider seeing a family counselor. Counselors are trained and experienced to handle a wide array of different issues, including those found in adopted families. The adoption agency will probably have a list of approved therapists who are specific to adopted families, so you might want to consider contacting the agency if you’re experiencing problems at home.
The key to getting along with your adopted teen is to understand what they’re going through and what their past was like. Keep in mind that you’re bringing a teen into a totally new environment that they might not like, especially if you’re a stricter family with more guidelines and rules than they’re used to following. You need to be as patient as possible with your child because this is the time they need it the most. If they require space away from you, your spouse and your other children, let them have that space and don’t force them to do anything. There is a difference between being a caring, loving and protective parent and being an overbearing one who is making life miserable for their adopted teenager. When it concerns your child, it’s all about giving the situation time in order for you all to get along and consider yourself a family.
Most people know that adopting a child is not easy. The cost can be prohibitive, there may be laws that complicate the adoption if the child is coming from out of the country, and there is a risk of complications with a birth parent. Some adopted children come from homes where they’ve been abused which make it difficult for the bonding process with their adoptive family. Adoption inherently carries risk. Yet, parents still seek out a child to add to their family.
Recently, the number of foreign adoptions has dropped drastically. Some countries like Russia have enacted laws that ban parents from certain countries from adopting children from Russia. Many such policies are politically motivated. Adoption is used as a tool to punish citizens of a particular country. Other countries have laws based on ideology or religion that may ban single parents or gay couples from adopting.
Another barrier to successful adoptions is the cost. Some countries have begun to see adoption as a business. When that happens, fees can soar up to $30,000 or more, making the cost prohibitive to many potential parents. Many parents are willing to sacrifice their financial stability to bring their child home with them.
The process of adopting a child is complicated, but many loving families are still willing to go through the heart-wrenching process. Thousands of children are left orphaned each year. At the heart of the adoption process should be what is best for the children involved. Their health and welfare should be what drives the policies not political ideologies or an opportunity to make money. When governments, adoptive workers, and parents act with the best interest of the child in mind, the process can be made more bearable. Perhaps if everyone involved was able to remember that a child lies at the heart of the adoptive process, then more children could be matched with families who want them.