First of all, before I start, I kinda updated some information on this blog. Primarily reflecting the part that I'm now a married lady and no longer a single parent. For those of you who wonder, I had a fabulous wedding, and the honeymoon was divine. Because I always had a personal thing against being a single parent with boyfriends spending the nights or living in before the serious commitment came in (for the mental health sake of the child) while S had all his stuff moved in by the 2nd week of September, this month has been about adjusting to him being around 24/7. It's been a trip.....wonderful and different. Tigger did have some regression in the obedience/testing boundaries stage, however, that was always expected, but slowly we are getting into a rhythm.
But enough about that, as you all may know (or not know) November is National Adoption Awareness Month. And since this was mainly established for children in foster care, I felt a few blog entries are in order especially in these dire economic times.
2 years ago, I had the pleasure of finalizing the adoption of my Tigger. I was her foster mom for 11 months and 5 days before the legalities were over, however, November 2010 marked the end of the foster care world and 'normal' life.
During the ceremony before the families were individually called for their turn in the courtroom, the director of our county's foster care program said that this year there were 500 adoptions happening on National Adoption Day (Nov. 20th). While many people clapped, and yes for foster children this was good news for them, but I just thought "how sad". Think about it, 500 children born into family situations filled with physical, emotional, sexual abuse, neglect, sometimes extreme substance abuse which led to harm etc. etc. etc. That is just sad.
What I found encouraging that day was that many families were adopting not only toddlers, but I saw families finalizing with an older child or an older sibling set and I was thinking, that's good that these siblings are together or yay, an older child has a home now. I hope stability is in their future.
I do support National Adoption Awareness Month in the way it was meant to be....for children in foster care. They need homes.....people that are able and willing to put forth the work that parenting brings should have resources to be able to give children a second chance. I believe this mentality is different than other types of adoption....these children have had a chance and for some reason or another that didn't work out, but they deserve a chance. Not because the people adopting are angels or hero's or whatnot, but because children are our future and should have a chance at stability.
Now on the flip side, we should also support resources for individuals and families so they have a chance at changing their lives so their children aren't impacted by abuse or substance abuse. My husband S and his job has given me a window into this side. S is a medical social worker and at this time is a supervisor and coordinator for all the anger management groups, domestic violence groups, substance abuse, and troubled teens. He works with an agency that is connected with another county's department of probation and parole. So many of his clients have had children removed because of physical abuse or substance abuse issues in the home. My husband does his best to make a difference. He is a perfect man for this job. While he is the biggest teddy bear in the world and has the biggest heart in the world, he is a rough around the edges guy. He doesn't take crap and he dishes it back in a way that some of his clients need. Thing is, he cares about his clients and he knows that their support system is nilch so their choices have not been the best. By providing counseling and group services in order to better their lives (men and women), maybe some of these clients can be reunited with their children in a healthier manner and bonds do not have to be broken. S isn't naive, he knows he can't reach everyone because at the end of the day it's each person's decision whether or not to take his anger management advice and techniques or turn around from drugs and alcohol, however, he believes that if even one or two clients get their act together and get some sort of education, their families back or working better with other relationships, he's done his job.
Why is this important, because it's a resource, and if we don't support these resources, then lives can't be changed either. Thinking about children and their best interests means we need to be aware of what resources are out there and support them for either biological parents or adoptive parents if the former cannot be.
500 adoptions from foster care is 500 children needing help....it's also 500-1000 biological parents that may need services like those my husband provides....not all of them will change, but that's not our concern....our concern is that children have chances in this world, either with their families if possible because then familial bonds are not broken, or with appropriate adoptive parents, so they can have a second chance and be our future, in whatever manner that is.....no expectations, just decent and kind human beings.