I'm a youth who was in foster care. I know what it's like to meet with social workers and have conversations about my future. I think that planning permanency and adoption is a good thing because it gives youth a sense of stability and belonging. Permanency is important because it sets the ground work for the youth's future; it sets up a permanent family life and also might help to make sure that positive outcomes are possible for the youth in the long run. Here are some suggestions I have for people who work with youth in care or adoptees!
Many adoptive parents incorrectly assume that once they have been granted a legal adoption order, obtaining citizenship or permanent resident status in Canada for their child is a mere formality.
After all, the adoption has been legalized in the foreign country. Isn't it now legal in Canada too? Isn't it my right as a Canadian citizen to have my child granted status?
Our adoption journey started in 1998. We chose domestic adoption for a number of reasons, including wanting a newborn, and the possibility of openness with a birth family. We were prepared to wait, knowing we had no control over when, or even if, we would be chosen.
We did all the paperwork and education sessions, and by March 1999, our homestudy was ready. We jumped into the pool of waiting families and prepared to wait.
Wow, we are the parents of two children that just celebrated birthdays. Our daughter just turned three and our son just had his first birthday.
I can’t remember the first time I learned the term “waiting parent.” But somewhere along my journey of building a family, the term has become second nature. It was like a category was added to my identity. Some might have described me as a woman, wife, student, football fan, queer, Polish – but when all the paperwork was submitted – I was also a “waiting parent.”
“Daaaddyyy... I reddy for waaaiipe...!” My recently adopted child yelled out. “Coming!” I sang back. I look back now, years later, to those daily routines of officially being a bum wiper for my children as precious moments. They were opportunities for each of my children to know that I am dependable and committed, and that I love each one. In our adoption journey, those days of behavioural regression manifested by our adopted children were truly blessings in disguise which needed to be seized as the ticket to trust, bonding, and relationship building.
If we overlook single people as possible adoptive parents, we could be missing out on wonderful parents for our kids.
There’s little doubt about it, the chances of adopting if you are single are slimmer than for couples. This not only affects single people, it also means that children miss out on a loving, committed parent.
A primer for parents and parents-to-be
I’ve read about using lifebooks to help adopted children make sense of their lives. Why use lifebooks with children before they’re adopted?
Am I ready to adopt?
Before you decide, consider the following questions:
Adoptive mom Carol Bolton describes how she struggled but succeeded in developing an attachment relationship with one of her newly-adopted sons.
Last year, we adopted our two sons. Though siblings, the boys had been placed in different foster homes and barely knew each other.
David, aged two, was placed five days after birth with foster parents who were very experienced and knew how to transition a child to a new family. David moved in with us first and the process went very smoothly.