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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Planning Permanence for Youth


I recently attended a presentation on Permanence for Youth. Meaning Teenage up to twenty five years old adoption placements. Since the presentation I've been thinking. It's completely 100% true that everyone deserves a family, a place that they can call home. A place that they can rely on, visit during the holidays, share their life trials and experience with someone who is their Mother or Father. Everyone should be entitled to a family. When we first thought about adoption, we thought about adopting overseas. Even eight years ago we didn't know adoption existed in our own Country, our own Province. Plus we thought that adopting a child from a different Country, who was in an Orphanage needed a home more. I can say now,"perhaps they do but we have children that move from foster home to foster home without a sense of permanency" Without a family, we have more homeless addicted individuals because they don't have those supports, those attachments, that love that most of us have experienced. We often wonder why people commit different crimes. For them, sometimes it's survival. Being an adoptive family we've heard many past stories from our children that brings tears to my eyes. I often wonder, if they weren't adopted, where would they be now? Ten years from now without a family? One of our sons was nine years old when we adopted him from a all boys home. "The house" it was called. A place where workers came in and out on shifts. Can you imagine such a place exists in British Columbia? The house! When we visited this house it was completely foreign to me. There was an office, a kitchen, a living room and multiple bedrooms. Bedrooms that consisted of nothing but damage. A remember seeing a little boy crying out his bedroom window because he was being punished. I wanted to take him too. A boy who was alone with no family. Our son we adopted from "this house" was previously in ten different foster homes. The shift workers either wasn't allowed to deal with his behaviors or chose not too for multiple reasons. So the police were called, drugs were administered and he'd be hospitalized instead. I often wonder where was his emotions during all of this? He was a lost boy. Emotionless. It's amazing what a family, what adoption, what permanency has done for him. As much as I smile because he's now safe, he's only a small percentage of children that are waiting for a place to call home. When I attended the Permanence for Youth presentation I learned something new. I knew that adoption is for all ages up to what I thought was eighteen. There is young adults, nineteen and over that have aged out of foster care that still would love to have a family. A place to go to on Christmas. Perhaps a family that can help them further their education, prepare their wedding and be a Grandparent one day. I remember having my birth babies and I needed my Mother beside me. With writing all this and having teenagers that are mostly attached, it's a scary thought to adopt a teenager. OR possibly a young adult. It's not for the faint at heart. When I think about our older adoptions, was it love at first sight? "No" The idea of love was there but it was more dedication and patience. With time love follows. I wrote on an older possibly deleted post that our seventeen year old now didn't call me Mom until three years later. I never expected him too ever, it was his decision. Just like adopting a teenager or heh, an adult......it's their choice. It's their choice to want adoption and ultimately their choice to choose you as their parent. That's where the understanding and patience needs to be acute because it does take years. Years for these young adults to trust and to understand that they're not going anywhere no matter what they do or say. It's not an easy road to adopt older children but they still need a belonging in this world. Even with our teenagers, even after adoption, they go through their fazes of not wanting a family. What teenager wants a Mother or Father telling them what to do anyways? Eventually rebellious or not, they realize they need their family and for our teens, we are here. Which makes me sad for some teenagers, for some adults after realizing they can't do everything on their own, they have no where to turn except what they know best, survival. Drugs, Alcohol, Prostitution, theft, homeless and worse. This is in our own Country. I know having a family isn't going to stop poor decisions but it could minimize them. My conclusion is adoption isn't just overseas, isn't just for babies, it's for anyone at any age that needs or wants a family. I posted a picture of our seventeen year old son above, he's one of our birth children. The reason I did is because every child is born, every little child is adorable and they all grow into teenagers. There was a question at this presentation if their pictures should be shown with their adoptive profile for interested families. I don't believe any child should be chosen through a picture. IF so, perhaps a adorable younger profile picture should be shown instead because after all they don't look like this forever. Which makes me advocate, if you have what it takes, you're willing to wait for years for possible attachment, you have the understanding and patience for anything; jump into teenage or adult adoption. It's worth changing someones future knowing their wanted. :)

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