Like many adoption workers for the Ministry, I am most often contacted by those interested in adopting a child, or sibling group, who fall into one major category, "five or under, the younger the better." The reasons are not hard to understand. Children this age have an unarguable appeal and many prospective adoptive parents feel that "this is the one" after seeing a child's photo. There is also a common perception that the younger the child the easier the attachment process will be after placement, and the sense, or hope, that the younger child will feel more fully like "our own."
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Recently I received another “one of those calls out of the blue” that all social workers occasionally receive. This call was from an adoptive family that I had worked with in the past and hadn’t heard from for almost seven years, as they had moved from our region.
Life with my bio/adopt/foster family was always interesting and always changing.
My first connection to adoption was a toothy, hairless Cabbage Patch kid with a scrawling Xavier Roberts tattoo on his posterior. My second connection arrived as two-year-old toddlers – twin brothers that would be my family’s first step into the world of adoption. I stopped counting those connections soon after. More children arrived. Our family expanded exponentially. Friends jumped on board, adopting little and big ones. Even an aunt and uncle joined in. Adoption was everywhere.
MCFD adoption social workers explain the ABCs of matching families and children.
One day, Mom gave my sister an African-American Cabbage Patch Kid. I was given India Barbie. We didn’t know it at the time, but my sister and I were being prepared for our future.
My parents had decided that six kids by birth wasn’t enough so, when I was six years old, we welcomed through adoption my twin brothers Greg and Nicholas. I remember how proud I was to have them as my little brothers. It didn’t seem overly difficult or challenging for them to claim their places in our family. Our Irish and German family tree simply sprouted two new branches.
Cathy Gilbert has been through the MCFD proposal process dozens of times (she’s adopted 11 children). Here, she shares what she’s learned.
Accepting a proposal is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make—it needs to an informed one.
Once parents, or a social worker have seen a potential child and parent match, information is given to the prospective parents in order for them to decide whether to move ahead. At this stage, basic, non-identifying information is given which may include:
Do big adoptive families work better for children with attachment issues? The families we spoke to all think so.
These days, having numerous kids tends to be considered eccentric. For some children though, a bursting-at-the-seams-family may be exactly what they need.
Most parents shy away from adopting children with special needs. Here we meet parents who actually want to.
When I interviewed Carrie Hohnstein, mom of 11 children, I probed for quotes that might offer hints of the constant drama and stress that I assumed was an inevitable feature of her life.
There were slim pickings. Carrie just isn’t a dramatic person. She’s calm, thoughtful, and unflappable—qualities which are probably central to her success as a parent in a large family.
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.
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!”