I have mentioned, a few times “who” you want to adopt. I thought, maybe I should explain this a little better, because when I say this to people ‘in real life’ I often get back “a child (or a baby) is who I want to adopt”. Yes, obviously, I get that, but I’m talking more specifically, who is that child that you want to adopt.
I’m a baby person, I always will be. I loved having a newborn. I even loved the sleepless nights. I’m not crazy, I just really enjoyed everything about my baby. But choosing our particular path for adoption meant giving up on wanting a brand new baby. See what I mean now, about who you want to adopt? It is actually very important to think about this, and talk about with your partner. Going through child services often means you are being matched with young children, not babies. Don’t get me wrong, there are babies in the system, of course, but generally, by the time they are ready to be matched with an adoptive family, they are no longer babies. It takes time to figure out what’s best for these kids, work with biological family, file paperwork, go to court, get them any help they require ect… ect… so by the time these babies are ready for adoption, they aren’t so little anymore. At the information session we attended we were told that it is pretty rare to be matched with kids under the age of three. If you aren’t willing to consider children older than that, then perhaps this isn’t the right route to take. Obviously, they won’t completely turn you down, it does happen that people are matched with kids under three, we were afterall, but you may wait a lot longer for that match to come along.
Age is important to consider because it completely changes your parenting approach. We chose to be open to any children at least one year younger than KB. That was a pretty large gap, so we talked often about how it would feel to adopt a six year old, versus a one year old. There was no way to prepare for a child because of this age difference as well, however we knew that, ultimately, age didn’t matter to us as much as having the right match, so we chose to be open to as many kids as possible. There are some issues you may face while contemplating ‘older’ children. For myself there have been periods of mourning, where I actually grieve not being able to spend time with them as babies. The loss of bonding, the missed firsts. By two and three, they have their little personalities well underway and I wasn’t able to help shape them. For some people, this is a hurdle too big to jump over, for others, like myself, it’s a sadness that I carry, but it doesn’t consume me. I will get to make new memories with the boys, have new adventures and be able to encourage and support them in their endeavours. But mostly, I get to love them, their age isn’t going to change that!
We should also talk about the more ‘taboo’ issues, like gender, race and ability. Personally, I don’t find these topics hard to discuss, but some do. It is important that you think about these things though, and be honest with yourself about who will fit into your home. There is nothing wrong with saying that you would not be able to take in children with ASD , so don’t feel bad. The more honest you can be with yourself and your worker, the better they can match you with the right child. This applies to private adoption, as well, since you may be presented with a Mom who admits to drinking during pregnancy, for example, therefore you would need to open to the possibility of FASD. You need to make the right decisions for your family. Deciding to stay within your own ethnicity, does NOT make you racist. For some people, the challenge of explaining differences in skin colour might be too much. You are not heartless if you decide you cannot be matched with children with disabilities. Some people are just not comfortable or able to deal with these types of issues. You have to do what works best with your family dynamic. All of these choices bring their own unique baggage and will have an impact on your life. We chose to remain open to both genders, any race/ethnic background, behavioural, developmental, learning issues. We asked to be considered on a case by case basis for children with ASD, FASD and other things like that, as they are so varying that we couldn’t just say no to all of them. We said we were not able to take children who were unable to go up and down stairs as our house cannot be made accessible for them, any children already displaying violent tendencies towards other kids and pets, who may not be healthy for KB and our animals, as well as any children who would require so much attention that it would significantly impact KB’s life. We chose to remain as open as possible so that we could have as many matches as possible, knowing that, at the end of the day, we had the ability to say no to those matches, until the right one came along. We also realized that there are many kids who fall into the cracks in these labels. A lot of children end up being put in the FASD category simply because their birth mother couldn’t say without a doubt that she didn’t drink while pregnant. They are just playing it safe, but if you decide you are completely closed to even considering FASD then you risk closing yourself off to a lot of those kids as well. Your homestudy writer will talk to you a lot about these decisions, and will also comment on her/his opinion of how honest and realistic you are about these choices. Your worker will also help you with this decision, so you aren’t stuck making it alone.
As always, if you have any questions, please let me know 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!!!
I’m Happy, I’m Healthy, I’m looking forward to the weekend! Take care 🙂