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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Facing undetected expectations

As we grow closer to adoption…though it doesn’t feel like we’re any closer at all to getting the paperwork done…I am forced to face head on some fears and issues that have been shoved to the background since Ed and I made the decision in our dating days that ours would be an adoptive family.  I should warn you early on that this entry is a mental release of thoughts, fear and emotions.  It may not present solutions to the problems stated herein but is a definite vehicle to finding those solutions.  As I solidify and process these thoughts, my brain will become more organized to pursue solutions to said problems.  Now that the disclaimer is complete, let’s get on with it.

I know that adoption is one of the most difficult things that a family can undertake.  Inherent with adoption is loss, tragedy and grief on the part of the child.  This can also be true on the part of the parents if infertility has led to adoption; however, that is not the case with us.  We have come to adoption as a result of our faith, as a result of our desire to take in those who have no one and love them as our own–to love them in the way that God has loved us.  Just as is the case with us and our adoption with God, these children will come to my home with significant trauma in their past and even their present.  Though their past may have included abuse and neglect (to put it mildly) these children still love their birth parents.  Their dysfunctional home is the only home they have known.  Coming into my home–as healthy of a home as it may be–and calling my husband and me “Mom” and “Dad” will be an extremely difficult adjustment for them.  These children will need significant emotional and psychological healing.  On top of that, Ed and I plan to adopt a child with special needs–a child with either a mental disability or a physical disability.   To say the least, this will not be any easy time for our family.

Because we know that this will be a difficult process, we have been doing research on adoption to help make the transition as smooth as possible.  We have been learning what to expect and what are the best methods for parenting children from the hard places.  In my research, I recently learned a startling statistic:

  • 1/3 of adoptive families have a relatively seamless transition.
  • 1/3 of adoptive families have significant challenges but are able to deal with them and/or overcome them.
  • 1/3 of adoptive families face such difficult circumstances that the family collapses.*

1/3 of adoptive families collapse?!  That is an absolutely HUGE number!  I knew this process was difficult.  I never considered that it would cause my family to collapse.  I think I just had this underlying expectation that since I was doing God’s will, though the process may be difficult for a while, it would ultimately be successful and we would be one big happy family.  I never even considered that might not happen.  I know that being armed with information and being connected with those who have done this before, as well as being connected with professionals, increases our chances of being in the 2/3 of families with successful adoptions, but the chance of being in that bottom 1/3 still remains.  How will this affect my other children?  Will my daughter, Daniela, grow up to resent her parents because we brought in a child who destroyed the family?  Will I grow to resent that child and I feel that he or she ruined our lives?  I know, I know.  That’s a horrible thing to think and most people would never even say it, but I have to be honest with myself.  I am a fallen human being and I am capable of these sorts of thoughts and emotions.

On the flip side, God is able to love all of His children unconditionally–regardless of how we behave.  Something the Lord has been teaching me for the last several years is that I have to depend on Him for literally EVERYTHING!  He can give me the ability to love this child.  Furthermore, I have to look at the benefits my family would receive from adoption.  These children will teach us all about the strength and vitality that God has created within the human race.  They will give us an opportunity to serve selflessly and to love someone the way that God loves us.  They will give us the opportunity to experience greater depths of the love of God, as God loves the “little ones” with a ferocity we can not imagine. And I’m sure there are a thousand other things I’m not thinking of right now.

All in all, I still think adoption is worth it, but before we bring a child home, I need to come to terms with the risks I am taking and trust God as if my life depends on it (because it actually does!)

*Statistics courtesy of Dr. Karyn Purvis, Empowered to Connect.

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My husband and I begin our foster care training this evening.  We are so very excited about bringing a little one in need into our home.  I was reading an article this morning here: http://fostersurvivor.netfirms.com/statistics.shtml (I have no idea why the layout of the article is so messed up!) and found some disturbing statistics.  I won’t go into details…you can read the article for that… but here are a few of the more startling ones:

  • A recent study has found that 12-18 months after leaving foster care:
    27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated
    33% were receiving public assistance
    37% had not finished high school
    50% were unemployed
  • 80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.
  • Children are 11 times more likely to be abused in State care than they are in their own homes.
  • Children died as a result of abuse in foster care 5.25 times more often than children in the general population.

Something I found interesting was the fact that the article began, “A few pieces of information that really bring home the point that CPS is not taking care of their charges.”  Now, I’m not here to defend CPS.  I’m not here to make any sort of statement about CPS, but I don’t think we can lay the blame solely on their shoulders.  I think we all bear a portion of that blame.

I’m reminded of a famous quote from Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I think that is certainly true here.  Where are all of the non-abusive families willing to take children in?  We know that abusive families are certainly a minority, so why do they account for the majority of foster families?  Because good people are doing nothing. Because good people aren’t taking these children in, so virtually all that’s left are the dysfunctional families who will do it for the reimbursement check.

Well, I’m determined to break the cycle. My family is going to do something.  We are going to take these children in.  Who’s with me?

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