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― C. S. Lewis


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adopting Older Children

Most people who are in the adoption community know about the grim statistics of children who age out of the orphanages in Easter European Countries. Many of us shudder at what would have happened to our children, had they not become a part of our families.

But did you know that the statistics right here in the United States are not that much better?
Did you know that fewer than 50 % of teens in the foster care system are operating at grade level, and fewer than 3% of kids who age out of the system go on to get a college degree?

There are children who are released from Foster Care at the age of 18, with no visible means of support, no bank account and nowhere to go.
This doesn't sound too much different than what we read about in other countries.

We have adopted from Ukraine AND we have adopted from the United States foster care system. And I cannot imagine what would have happened to our precious daugthers if they didn't have a family.
Many people feel that they cannot adopt in Ukraine or Russia due to the extensive costs.

If you heart is wanting to adopt and bring a child into your family, please, PLEASE consider the Foster Care system. There are many children who need permenant homes. I know of many who will say, that when they read the files, all of the kids have problems. Well, just because Eastern Europe doesn't mention problems doesn't mean the children there are perfect and the children here are messed up.
OF COURSE they are going to have some issues. But these issues are there because of the lack of a normal family life. Much of the issues these children have are due to neglect and abuse.

pictures from heart gallery in N.Texas

There is a huge difference in cost when adopting in the U.S. An organization who is working hard to get children into permenant homes is called "Heart Gallery". Check out the Hart Gallery near you, and consider opening your home to a new family member. If you have any spare bedrooms, please consider filling those rooms with love and laughter.

Are you too old? Probably not. You can adopt in the U.S. until you are 63~!! :)


MoonDog said...

one thing in the states that is so daunting is that many states are not willing to place outside of their state. not willing to break up sibling sets of 8 or 10. not willing to look for a permanent placement for a child until they have been moved 17 times back in and out of their abusive families placed with relatives who give the kids back to their abusive and or otherwise unfit parents. children do not come out of these things unscathed. and another thing they do is put all kind of parameters on who can adopt them. like must be the youngest by many years. must be in a home wihtout pets. must be this and that. many people are not willing to give up family pets to bring in a child would wouldnt be safe with them. if you have already raised your kids a lot of people arent willing to start all over and the people looking to start families add to families have other young children to care for.

Diana said...

If I ever decide to do it all again (which at the very least won't be until after my boys are healed and stable and the whole family is ready for the adventure), I will look into foster adoption again. I agree, there are so many great kids out there pleading for families.

Being a now experienced parent of hurt children and seeing first hand the blessings and literal miracles that come as part of their healing, I could see myself deliberatly taking it on again someday. These kids need special care. They need parents who can meet them where they are and love them for who and how they are and aren't afraid to take on their copious amounts of baggage.

Unfortunatley, I also agree with some of the things MoonDog said. We looked seriously into adopting from foster care both times before we went to Ukraine - pre fraud and post (which is when we were actually able to go. Both times I was SOO turned off by the state and how they were running things. They flat out told me that I'd have to have kids come and go several times before we'd be considered a suitable adoptive placement (something none of us were in no way, shape, or form prepared to do), that their highest priority is putting kids back with their biological families "even if they are a little bit abusive or neglectful" because that is "what kids want and is best for them" and the list of rediculousness goes on. In a nutshell, they made it so nigh near impossible to ever get the kids out of the system that it wasn't something we could consider as an option for our family.

Since that time, I've had a very dear friend go through several foster placements - one that was supposed to be as for sure an adoptive placement as they can get (baby was returned after over a year to her drug addicted mother), a second that was supposed to also be a potential adoptive placement (removed with less than two hours notice to go live with their grandparents who previously had been rejected for foster licensing twice, but miraculously qualified for licensing once they slapped a lawsuit on the state) and a final one that was supposed to be a temporary 2-3 week deal until their relatives got the paperwork completed. 7 months later, my friend had to throw in the towel and have the state re-place them. The little girl was severely traumatized, she had no support from anyone (including her husband who couldn't stand the kid and the state who did nothing to help)and it just about killed her and destroyed her other two daughters and her marriage.

Do I know what it takes to parent these special kids? YES! Could I do it again? Maybe. Would I adopt older kids again if adoption were ever on the table again? Definately! Would I do it from foster care? It depends. If that's where the Good Lord says my kids are, ABSOLUTELY! Would I do it without that confirmation just to make a statement? NEVER! (I know you wouldn't either. I'm just saying...)

Unknown said...

The US needs an extensive transition system to help these children. However, with almost completely doing away with centralized foster care it would be both difficult and even more expensive than in some other countries.

Older child adoption is very rewarding, I can see that with my cousins and siblings who adopted older children.

Also, I'd love to know exactly which countries are meant by Eastern Europe in the adoption community.

Christie M said...

Ya'll are so right that things are messed up.
I think the biggest thing we can do is to get legislation to ease the way for adoption to happen.
I will blog about this later. I not a really great political person, knowing what to do, but I know those that are, and am considering talking to them.

New laws HAVE been made so kids don't get stuck in the system, but they have failed do to lack of people working to place children once they are released for adoption.

There are also stupid rules. If you have 6 kids, you aren't allowed anymore.... dumb!
(living in the home)

There are crazy rules and hoops to jump through that treat you as if you are in institution.... rules that no family typically lives by unless you are a foster parent. LOL

Like I said, when we adopted Anna, it was totally the will of God and we felt like we won the lottery! LOL

Our children are actively seeking to adopt a sibling group of 5.... I am very curious to see what happens and will report on it as soon as we hear anything positive. They are in the homestudy update process right now.

For Mr. Hevel. :)
EE countries would include Russia (even though it is part of Asia) Ukraine, Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Kazachstan, Estonia, Czech Republic, Belarus...Slovakia, Slovenia.
Croatia, Bosnia-hertzegovenia, Montenegro,
(the former Yugoslavia)<---easier to type

I do not know of any adoptions personally from Czech republic,Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Slovenia, or the former Yugoslavia, and no recent adoptions from Romania or Hungary.

But these are the countries I think of when I say EE.

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