Never too old for forever


Sarah Groothedde
Focus on Adoption magazine

I grew up in and out of foster care, where sometimes it felt like no one cared. All I wanted was a family and a home that was mine, but that wasn’t in the cards for me.

Instead I got a system that moved me from home to home more times than I can count and certainly more than I care to remember. When I aged out of the guardianship of the system that was my parent, I found myself homeless. I was still struggling to overcome abuse and neglect.

People weren’t meant to grow up without parents, but not all parents are prepared or able to care for children.  There is no test to be a parent and no degree required. I am one of many children in this province who never asked to be born into a world where they would be neglected and abused so severely that the government had to intervene and raise them.

Learning alone

When I moved, I also moved schools over and over again, sometimes even going back to the same school a few years later. I changed schools somewhere around 30 times.

I was functionally illiterate until Grade 8, when I forced myself to learn how to read, sometimes looking up 10 words in the dictionary per page. Other times, looking up one word led to looking up another word from the definition of the first, and then another. In Grade 8, I read my first novel.

I tried really hard to graduate with my class, but being so far behind made that impossible. However, I did get my Grade 12–maybe a little late, but I did it, and that is something that my biological mother, grandfather, brother and sister didn’t accomplish.

Even though I’m a fighter, it’s scary to be all alone and have no one to call for help. And just like that–when I felt  broken, alone, and had given up all hope of ever finding a family–one found me.

It’s never too late

My mom is loving, caring, and courageous. When I met her, I was already an adult. She is my mother not by birth,  but by choice. We have something called a moral adoption. The law here in BC won’t let her and her husband  adopt me, because they didn’t parent me before the age of 19. But she is my mother and her husband is my  father, and whatever the law says, she is my family.

Before I met her, I never had anyone who wanted to be in my life and help me without wanting anything from me  in return. At first I didn’t trust it. But whenever I needed her, there she was, always looking for ways to help me. I didn’t know how to ask for help, so she never made me.

A mom for forever

When she saw the state of my shoes, she bought me new ones. When I didn’t have a winter jacket and was just making do, getting soaking wet and freezing cold, she bought me a jacket. Whenever I wear it, it feels like a hug from her. She takes me to the doctor and worries and fusses over me when I’m sick. Most of all, she  unconditionally loves me, and nothing I ever say or do will change that.

A few years ago my mom and her husband walked me down the aisle at my wedding. But they didn’t give me  away, because they will never give me away. They will always be my family. It’s never too late to have a family, and I am never too old to have a mom.

What is moral adoption?

Moral adoption is an unconditional, moral commitment to be a family for a young person for the rest of his life, whether or not he is willing (or eligible) to be legally adopted. Moral adoption can also be a less threatening way for young people to find a forever family.

Moral adoption is also an option for families that do not meet the legal requirements for adult adoption, which vary from province to province. A moral adoption ceremony or another celebration can honour your parent/child  commitment and relationship.

Click here to find out more about options for adult adoption.

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