Thursday, April 28, 2005

Adoption from Foster Care, the Fresh Air Fund and Me

An article I wrote, based on our experiences with fost/adoption and being a Fresh Air Fund host family, was just published in Hudson Valley Parent magazine. The article is not posted on their website but a fact sheet I wrote is at www.excitingread.com (click on Facts about the Fresh Air Fund). I'm just tickled.

I don't like to think of myself as an adoptive parent, I'm just a mom. If you want to get technical, three of my four kids were adopted from the foster care system. All three adoptions were transracial. We even adopted out of birth order. Our kids were placed with us at different ages(6years, 15 months and 4 1/2 months) and, like all children, each has his or her own challenges.

One of our kids is homegrown and no I didn't get pregnant after I adopted, my biological daughter was the first one on the scene. (Everyone seems to ask that question.) We didn't struggle with infertility either. After having one child, we explored and ultimately chose adoption because we felt there were too many children in the world who needed loving homes.

When my youngest son's adoption was finalized, we had to decide if we were open to more children. At that time, our caseworker had two little ones he was looking to place. He wanted to place them with us. Despite the temptation to say yes, we said no. With four kids, there was barely enough of us to go around. Instead, we chose to share our experiences so others can see the rewards and frustration of the adoption process. We hope others will be inspired to explore foster care adoption as a result. We have never regretted that decision.

When you adopt transracially, you become an unofficial ambassador for adoption. There is no hiding the adoption in our family, all you have to do is look at us. I have chosen to embrace this. I will answer any question relating to our adoption experiences providing it is relevant to your adoption goals and providing it does not invade the privacy of my children. I have been approached at school, in the doctor's office, on the soccer field, in the grocery store and many other places. When friends of mine meet someone thinking about adopting, they pass on my email address.

I am currently working on a children's book based on my daughter's experiences transitioning from foster care to forever family. She is now thirteen and wants to share her experiences so other children adopted from foster care will know they are not alone.

2 comments:

Connie ;o) said...

I could really relate to your post. I am the adoptive Mom of four children as well. My husband and I adopted all of them from our state foster care. We are so very blessed. I don't think of myself as an adoptive Mom either. Just a Mom. I would love to adopt more, but just not room. So, now I am training to be a CASA / Guardian ad Litem for children in foster care. I don't know how I will keep from bringing them home to live with us!
Blessings to you
Connie from Washington State

Katie said...

Hi Connie,

Its always great to meet someone with a family similar to ours. I'd be terrified to become CASA for exactly the question you pose. I can barely read Fostering Families Today without thinking about adopting the waiting children they showcase in each issue.

People seem to think adopting is the hard part. I think in fost/adoption knowing when you've maxed out your personal resources (emotional & time) may be even harder. Nothing was harder than telling our caseworker to close our home.