"Imagine being married to someone for eight years, and then being told that you have to get a divorce and some stranger will choose your new spouse. Then imagine moving in with that person after only knowing them for a little while. What if they don’t like you, or you don’t like them — what next?"
When I was younger I lived with my mom, my big sister, and big brother. I was the youngest. I had never met my birth father, so he wasn’t a part of the picture.
When I was four, I was put into foster care for the first time. My sister came with me to my first foster home, but then moved out shortly after. That was the last time we were in a foster home together. I have lived in five foster homes since then.
The first four times I went into care because my mom was using drugs, along with her boyfriend at the time.
Amelia moved in with her adoptive family, changed her name, and changed schools this past November.
In the middle of Grade 9, Amelia found herself in a new school, with new friends, a new adoptive family and a new last name. Change is common for youth in care, so this was not the first time she found herself in a new school or home, but, of course, this time it was much different.
When, at the age of 16, April O’Neil’s social worker told her she’d like to adopt her, April’s world was turned upside down. Here, April movingly describes her immediate emotions moments after she was told.
It was clear to me that I was standing in one spot—so it must have been the room that was spinning. I was in the principal’s office standing face to face with a woman who, with very few words, wanted to shake up my whole world.
Would teens who move from foster home to foster home be better off in an orphanage?
There's a "new" debate going on about building orphanages for foster kids. There's even a group in Minnesota that's proposing orphanages for younger children. When asked at a public hearing what ages of children they would place in their orphanages, they noted "60% of the children will be 8 or 9 to 15 year olds with the rest being older or younger." So we know that at least one group out there is advocating for children even younger than 8-year-old.
Social worker Anne Melcombe is a big believer in teen adoption. Why? Because she knows that teens want families and that there are families who want to adopt teens. In this article, we meet some of those parents and the kids they will adopt.
Anne Melcombe once asked a group of former foster kids if they would have liked to have been adopted. One man, 23 years old, 280 lbs, and covered in tattoos, held up his hand and said, “You bet your ass I would have liked a family. I still would!”
Psychologists have given us a concept of non-verbal communication that makes an incredible amount of sense in the context of adoption—it is called inducement.
Those of us who live or work with adopted children need to understand that inducement is the language of the abandoned. Inducement is the most important conceptual tool we have to understand why children act the way they do.
Four years ago, Focus on Adoption profiled Colleen, an 11-year-old girl who desperately wanted to be adopted. The staff at AFABC were touched by this child’s clear-eyed vision of what her future could and should be. Since then, we’ve kept in touch with Colleen’s progress—as you know, each year that a child waits for a family reduces his or her chances of being adopted. We were thrilled that last year Colleen and her new family’s dreams came true. Here her social worker explains how it finally happened.
I first met Colleen when she was only eight years old.
AFABC has prepared this special needs supplement on trauma because, whether we like it or not, trauma is inextricably linked to adoption. Of course, not all children who join their families through adoption have experienced trauma, but many have.
You are close to fulfilling your dream of becoming a parent. This is a time when it is easy not to ask the hard questions. But they must be asked so that you are as well informed as possible and you are better prepared to parent the child.