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.
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.
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.