Adopting siblings is a great way to maintain an adopted child’s stability. A Family For Every Child indicates that a child’s siblings are their only “forever family” until adoption. They are the only people who have had a front row seat in the child’s life. Siblings understand each other intimately. Separating them can be devastating.
BBC.Com recently shared a story about a couple who adopted seven siblings. Georgia residents, Josh and Jessaka Clark did something most people would find unbelievable. On May 9, 2017, their only child Noah became one of eight children.
The Clarks adopted seven siblings after fostering them for two years. The adopted children were in a children’s home for almost four years before coming to live with the Clarks. Social Services finds it difficult to place children in homes with even one extra sibling. To take on a family of seven, is highly commendable.
In a report from Inside Edition, Jessaka Clark stated that when they were dating, Josh indicated he wanted ten children. She didn’t believe him then, but now she does!
ABC News reported that Jessaka is a stay at home mother while Josh works in finance.
The Clarks have embraced their new family and look forward to enlarging their house to accommodate all of the children. Currently, they have four girls in one bedroom and four boys in the other. The Clarks have already raised over $60,000 on their Go Fund Me page to help them make more room.
Jessaka and Josh Clark look at things from a spiritual perspective. They believe that God has called them to raise all of their children and they look forward to blessing even more children in the future.
It has been a very long and difficult road for Carson Petersen. The 18-year-old has been in and out of the foster care system since his mother killed herself when he was only three. He was briefly taken care of by his biological father. However, that did not go well and Carson wound up back in foster care again. Carson admits that he started to lose hope of ever belonging to a family like most people. However, his dream finally came true when he was officially adopted by Renee and Tex Petersen. The adoption was made official at the Fresno County Superior Court on June 30th. Carson is currently a senior in high school.
Carson has actually been a part of the Petersen’s family since 2014. However, Carson asked his foster parents to officially adopt him late last year. They knew how much such a gesture would mean to Carson. The Petersens have a biological son, Hunter, who is 18 as well. They also have a young son and daughter who are both adopted. Carson hopes that his story can be an inspiration to kids who still find themselves in the foster care system after many years. He believes that it is very important to never give up hope.
Carson does not have any plans for his immediate future. He is not sure if he wants to attend college. He just wants to focus on spending time with his family right now. The family has a vacation to Europe planned for later this year. Carson has never been able to travel outside of the United States. Needless to say, he is very excited about this new adventure in his life. Carson did admit that he wants to learn a foreign language because he is interested in other cultures.
Many children struggle to find a stable set of parents in the foster care system. Most parents who are interested in adopting want a very young child. This makes it very difficult for children over the age of eight to get people to be interested in adopting them. This often causes them to languish in the foster care system for many years. Studies have shown that children who spend a large portion of their childhood in a foster home often commit crimes and do poorly in school. Fortunately, Carson did not fall into either of those categories. He is a great student.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.