Recently, I had a fascinating conversation with an individual who was asking all sorts of adoption-related questions. Wonderful questions. Questions that make my heart sing because they speak to a curiosity and openness to learn about children who wait for permanence, and the families who eventually welcome them home.
As often happens when I talk about WACAP, the conversation turned to children with “special needs,” the children who make up over 85 percent of our placements and whom many overlook. These children may be older, or have two or three siblings; they may have a significant medical diagnosis or developmental delays. Rather than asking more about these children, however, my new friend wanted to know about the parents who adopt them.
“Are they really committed?”
“What happens when the child turns 18?”
Thinking about these questions, my mind wandered to the many myths about adoption that are prevalent today, particularly related to adopting from foster care, and as echoed in the voices of foster care alumni , which I’ve tried very hard to hear. One alumnus stated in a Dave Thomas Foundation blog post, “My question is who would adopt us with all these issues? And when we are considered grown will they abandon us?”
These questions hint at a desire to believe in a ‘happily ever after’ for every child.
I would say the same thing to this young adult as I did to my friend that day:
- YES, there are families – wonderful, nurturing and safe families – committed to these children.
- YES, these children and adolescents – full of hope, joy and resilience – are worthy of families.
- YES, adoption brings its challenges. Like every other relationship, it takes work and commitment.
- YES, an 18th birthday is just the beginning of an ever-evolving relationship that gets better and richer with time, and
- YES, isn’t it great? Not only for those children who once waited for a family to call their own, but for the families whose lives are also forever transformed for the better?
And then I might say,
- YES, many children still wait.
- YES, WACAP actively seeks families for every child. And when we find them, we help to bring those children home. This is not a fairy tale. Adoptive families make permanency, or ‘happily ever after,’ a reality.
About WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home