Strong Enough?

Mr. Something read through my posts yesterday and when I asked him if he had anything thoughts on my musings his one comment was, “I guess I just didn’t realize how decided you were.” I was a bit surprised by this because I don’t feel decided at all but I do know that every time I have come up with a point for the “con” list I immediately come back with a “pro.”

Today’s thoughts are all about age. When we originally talked about the idea of foster care adoption we both loved the idea of a child between four and nine years old. This goes back to my original feelings of not ever feeling compelled to have a baby in my life. Since this idea has been on the table my kid radar has definitely been turned up. Every interaction I have with a child I find myself thinking, “What if this child was the one that was available for adoption? How would I feel about it then?” Mr. Something says that I’m shopping for children but I’ve never given children younger than my own elementary students much notice. What I see it as is careful data collection.

Maybe I’m getting scared of the challenge of a child with eight or nine years of life with another family (or families.) The trauma of being taken away from their families and homes is unimaginable to me. Children don’t understand that a different placement could be “for the better.” When you are a child you think that everyone’s home and family is like your own, they don’t understand abuse or neglect because in many cases they don’t know life any differently. Am I strong enough to take on these challenges?

Family Stick Figure

I told Mr. Something that I’m starting to think of younger children (two through four years old) and he was a bit taken aback. His taken aback-ness was great though, he feels strongly about helping an older child and his conviction was affirming. I immediately felt myself leaning back toward our original THP idea. Although, I’m not closing any possibilities, I just know that I have a lot more self-exploration to do. I would love feedback from anyone that has experience with opening their home to an “older” foster child (five and up?) Looking for guidance!

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2 thoughts on “Strong Enough?

  1. In response to your request for advice from a family that has adopted several older children (a sibling group of three in fact as well as two other older children) I have this message to pass on to you. This is from someone who has mentored me in my journey as a foster parent and through our adoption process. Her family has been fostering for over 20 years. She has always been a great source of strength and inspiration to me. I hope you find it helpful.

    “In my opinion and my experience the only thing I can say is that you can love an older child as much as a baby. When you adopt an older child you will be able to see right away if your child has special needs, they can be mild but it is always good to be prepared, we know that children that come from foster care are children who have usually been exposed to drugs and or alcohol
    and possibly have seen or been abused. One thing I always want to know is
    how much have they been moved around. I find attachment issues are by far the worst issues!!!!Children who have moved more than two or three placements
    will most likely have these issues. It takes many years for them to attach
    and sometimes it will never happen. If a child can attach you will have much more success and the relationship will be two ways.”

  2. One thing that I think will go a long way is your understanding of the child’s perspective. So many people expect that a kid should be nothing but grateful, that there is nothing to “miss” when you’re talking about a broken or abusive biological family… But as you’ve pointed out, that simply is not the case from a child’s worldview. I don’t think it will make the challenges any less, but I think it will impact your perspective and your approach towards parenting an older child.

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