Welcome to the second part in our month-long look at Foster Care and Adoption.
In part one I talked about the need for foster parents and adoption using statistics about the American foster system and the global orphan issues. – Click here to get caught up – Part One
This is part two – Meet the Panel – I will introduce you to the experienced foster and adoptive parents who are helping with these posts, and share with you some of the common threads that ran through their responses when I asked them about foster care and/or adoption.
Meet the Panel:
Adam and Gena, California. Three biological kids ranging from 6-14, and one three-year-old adopted from China.
Josh and Natalie, South Carolina.Three biological kids ranging from 8-4. Foster parents for nine months with two placements during that time.
Kory and Brenda, Florida. Kory has three biological adult children and together they have one teenager through domestic open adoption.
Brian and Alicia, Minnesota. Five biological kids ranging from 26-16, helping to raise their granddaughter, and foster parents to two kids, ages 8 and 2 whom they have had for 18 months. This is their first foster placement and they are planning to adopt the kids.
Jim and Rachel, Florida. Three teenage biological kids and an adopted four year old. The adoption is open and they also get to spend some time with their son’s biological brother.
Kelly and Channin, Minnesota. Two biological kids, ages 9 and 10. They have been fostering children for about two years and have had four kids placed with them during that time.
For the sake of their privacy and security, that’s all the information I’m going to give you about the families. I know that their biological, foster, and adopted kids’ safety is their top priority, and I want to honor that. If you have questions about foster care or adoption for these six couples, please post them in the comments, or on the Food Shelf Friday Facebook page. I’ll contact the panel and post answers in the coming weeks.
I noticed that a couple of thoughts came up over and over when I asked them about their experiences:
– The children in their homes are not “lucky” to be with them. Foster care and adoption are birthed from tragedy. These kids had to go through terrible struggles, scarcity, and even abandonment to get to this place. They may be in a good place now and thankful for it, but they generally don’t feel fortunate to have gone through so much just to get the same wonderful family other kids are born with.
– The parents see themselves as the lucky ones. This is no different from how biological parents feel. As a mom I have looked at my son and just marveled at him and the fact that he belongs to me. Foster and adoptive parents love their kids just as fiercely as bio parents. From Alicia, “The kids are the blessing! The kids are so much a joy to watch grow and bloom. Our daughter has gone from a little adult – so quiet, reserved, and polite – and burdened with the care of her siblings – to an 8 year old who runs, plays, whines and plays with her siblings! She even slammed a door not too long ago! She is acting like an 8 year old and her baby brother is a pest, not her responsibility to feed, comfort and care for.”
– Sometimes people say dumb things. That’s just how it is. Sometimes that person is me. Foster and adoptive families hear some pretty insensitive things. So when you’re trying to be supportive and caring, just run your words through your head first. These men and women and their other children make tremendous sacrifices. They’re not in it for the money, in fact they generally lose rather than gain financially. They don’t foster as a means of shopping for a child to adopt. They don’t think of themselves as perfect people who take on another child because they have some kind of expertise. In fact, the best description I can think of for parents who foster and adopt is simply, WILLING. As Natalie said, “We aren’t “great people” for doing this, we are just meeting a need because we have an extra bed. There is not this ideal family situation that makes the “perfect” foster home.”
As previously mentioned, if you have questions on foster care or adoption, leave a comment here or on the Food Shelf Friday Facebook page, and I’ll ask the panel to address it. Remember to keep praying for the orphans and foster kids in this world who need loving homes, and the foster and adoptive parents trying to provide that.