adoption

Book Review: Ready or Not

Posted by | Resources and Awareness | No Comments

Are you considering becoming an adoptive or foster parent? If so, pick up this book. Over the course of 30 days, Pam Parish, herself a foster parent, will lead you through 30 themes relevant to adoptive or foster parenting. Each chapter will guide you as you think about pursuing foster care or adoption, asking you to consider many aspects of the journey, pointing you to relevant verses in the Bible, asking hard questions, and giving you space to write down your thoughts and feelings. Throughout this devotional, Pam shares from her own experience, encourages you to reflect on your reasons for embarking on this adventure, and makes sure your eyes are wide open before you do so.

ready or not cover

A few highlights:

On day one, Pam points out the Biblical mandate to care for the orphan and the fatherless, but notes that not every Christian’s call is the same in that regard. She writes, “It’s clear that God’s will is for all followers of Christ to take the gospel to the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s His will for everyone to pastor a church. In the same way, it’s God’s will that we care for the orphans, but that doesn’t mean every family is called to adopt. Too often, families confuse God’s whisper to get involved in the cause of orphans as a directive to add an orphaned child to their family. That can lead to heartbreak for even the most well-intentioned family.” You need to be sure of your calling before adding to your family in this way because you will return to the certainty of that calling in the more difficult moments.

Day 11 talks about adoption as legal and permanent. And foster care may not be permanent, but it is also a commitment. She writes, “When a child is placed in your home, you’ve committed to protect them, love them, and provide for them until the time comes for them to return to their family or enter permanency in another way.” Even when it’s really really hard, as a foster parent, you’ve committed to caring for this child. If things aren’t working out, you can’t just send them back. Days when you want to, you’ll need to return to what you know, that you were called to this. “This process isn’t about finding the right child to meet your needs; it’s about being the right parent to meet theirs.”

The point of foster care and adoption is to provide a loving environment for a child whose birth family is unable to. Ultimately, you want the child to adapt and grow in your family. But to do that, she needs to be able to trust you completely. The theme for day 14 is Trustworthy, and it warns you about how children discover whether you are a trustworthy person: they test you. Again and again. They act out. They shut down. They do all kinds of things to find out if there’s anything that will make you give up—and prove yourself untrustworthy in your promise to care for them. You must remain true to your calling to stand by these children and be unshakeable—no matter what they throw at you.

This 30-day journey will bring ideas and concepts to your attention that you might never have considered. It will be an invaluable tool for helping you determine if adoption or fostering is for you and preparing you for some of what lies ahead if you decide it is.

 

Book Review: Another Place at the Table

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments

Another Place at the Table
Kathy Harrison

Karen is a 7-month-old baby girl whose mother can’t kick her drug habit. Lucy is a sweet 8-year-old whose teen mom is too immature to care for her. Danny is a sullen 4-year-old boy whose special needs mom couldn’t care for herself, let alone him. Sara is a 6-year-old who has never known an adult who didn’t abuse her. Kathy and Bruce Harrison welcome all these children and many, many more come into their home, some for a night and some forever. But all are guaranteed a safe and loving home for the duration of their stay.

Kathy and Bruce didn’t set out to become foster parents. They took the training and became certified because it was required in order to adopt two sisters, one of whom Kathy fell in love with when she was a Head Start teacher. When the adoption was finalized, they felt that five children (three biological sons and the two adopted daughters) was enough. But social services kept calling. At first Kathy and Bruce said no. But the sad stories broke their hearts. Kathy knew she could offer what so many of these kids needed. So they started saying yes. And eventually, Kathy left her Head Start job and devoted herself full time to parenting children in foster care.

In this page-turner, Kathy describes in detail what foster parenting is like. She shares the stories of many of the children who have passed through her home, she reveals the inner workings of the foster care system, and she offers nuggets of wisdom learned through trial and error—and certainly not taught in foster care training. She also relates how her children have taught her many truths about the reality of foster care. For example, when Sara arrived on her doorstep, she learned children coming into foster care don’t always have a toothbrush. Or even underwear. And when 3-year-old Tyler is returned to a birth family that still needed so much help, she learned that often, to foster means “learning to be satisfied with giving Band-Aids to children and families who needed intensive care.”

“This book is not intended to shock, although it may do that,” Kathy writes. “It was not written to change public policy. I’m far too much of a realist to expect that. It is only the story of one family’s journey through the maze of a social service system and of the children who unwittingly led the way.”

Kathy pulls you so thoroughly into her world that you’ll find yourself clutching the cover of the book, anxious to learn the fate of her children. And when you turn the final page, you’ll  shake your head in gratitude that foster homes like hers exist to care for the children who so desperately need them. You may even be inspired to join their ranks.

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent or supporting a foster family, email us: info@dc127.org. 

 

Book Review: Instant Mom

Posted by | Resources and Awareness | No Comments

Instant Mom
Nia Vardalos

I started this book wanting to love it. I don’t often begin a book with preconceptions, but this one was different: It’s about adopting from foster care (which I love to see promoted), and it’s written by Nia Vardalos, who is a comedian (I love to laugh) and wrote and starred in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (one of my favorite movies).

Nia did not let me down. This book made me laugh and cry, and I think I finished it in about two days. Being an adoptive mom myself (although my husband and I didn’t adopt from foster care), I could relate so much to Nia and her husband’s experiences. I also especially appreciate memoirs written by comedians because so many people’s stories include sadness and tragedy—and Nia’s story is no different—and comedians bring such levity to everything; it’s sometimes easier to read about hard things when you can’t help but laugh out loud. Or at least smile to yourself.

Nia starts her story by describing a scene when she reacted to her daughter choking on a piece of candy. It’s poignant. It’s beautiful. It made me want to know more about this little girl. But before sharing any more about her daughter, Nia dives into her own history, describing how she got into acting and how her connection with Tom and Rita Hanks allowed her to bring My Big Fat Greek Wedding to the big screen. Then she spends several chapters detailing her journey through fertility treatments, domestic and international adoption, and finally adoption through foster care, or “fos-adopt”, which ultimately leads Nia and Ian to their daughter. It’s amazing how many paths they traveled without giving up. They were so determined to be parents.

I love Nia’s transparency in this book about bringing home their little girl. It wasn’t easy. The toddler doesn’t fall into the rhythms of their family life as if she’s been their daughter since birth—because she hasn’t been. She doesn’t fully trust in her forever family. She acts out. She tests her boundaries. She has difficulty sleeping. And Nia is brutally honest about it all, pulling the curtain back on some of the things things they had to do as new parents to a preschooler. Adopting a child who has already had two or more families is not for the faint of heart. I love one detail Nia shares about the first few weeks: she held her new toddler daughter a lot (mostly to soothe her when she woke up at night terrified because she was in yet another unfamiliar place) and her arms burned under the weight—they were thrust into this responsibility of carrying a three-year-old without the chance to gradually work up to it, starting with an 8-pound newborn.

From the fertility doctor’s office to the preschool playground, with vignettes of acting jobs sprinkled generously throughout, Nia writes a story that is a delight to read and will be enormously helpful for prospective fos-adopt families.

Waiting foster parents: Shed the expectations and consider kids from juvi

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments

Last month, we posted a few things foster parents waiting for their first placement should know. Here are a few more:

  1. Your child in foster care will need time to shed negative habits and adjust to your rules and expectations. Says Ami, a military foster parent, “I feel like it is easy to believe that the children who end up in your home can be “deprogrammed” in a short time, and then will live up to our expectations and meet our standards without difficulty. We adopted a boy at 16 and thought that, with love and kindness, he would be a thriving young man. We were very wrong. Love, to him, did not look like the love we wanted to give him. Responsibility, accountability, following and living by biblical standards—our son equated all this with mistreatment. He had lived on the streets of Memphis and did what he had to do to survive. His life involved   abuse and neglect, little supervision, and different standards when he was supervised. Drugs, sex, and gangs were all normal things for our son to take part in. Then he moves into our conservative home and we expect him to follow our rules and adapt to our way of living? That’s a fairy tale! Does this mean that we should not have adopted him? Of course not, but foster parents need to be aware that they will face real challenges that will require more than an extra dose of love. Today our son is 21, and he lives at home. He is a happy young man and we are so proud of him. I don’t regret one minute of having him in my life, but there have been many sleepless nights, many tears shed, and many days spent asking God what I was doing wrong.
  2. Kids that are coming from the juvenile justice system, while intimidating, can be the source of the greatest reward. Says Ami, “We love the older ones who have been in trouble. These kids are the ones that most people are “afraid” of, but if you get involved in the foster system because you want to make a difference in the lives of those who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, consider these kids. They look different, act different, and some are just downright mean, but for the most part this is where you will make an impact. Be prepared, be cautious, but be there. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you will possibly be the last stop for them before they’re emancipated. They need people who will not give up on them.”
  3. You will need a strong support system, specifically friends you feel comfortable asking to meet tangible needs. Says Sunita, who recently adopted a baby boy through foster care and whose story we shared last week, “Whether it is babysitting, bringing you a meal, or shopping for you, you will need extra help. Any time you bring a new child into your home, you have a lot of extra work, and there are many extra tasks that come with foster care that make a support system essential.
  4. The first few weeks are crazy! Says Sunita, “The nature of foster care is that you will have social workers in your home regularly, but the first few weeks are the most intense as the social workers have a lot of initial oversight responsibilities in getting a child settled. When you add doctors appointments, counseling, physical therapy, getting a child registered for WIC [government support for women, infants, and children], etc, it is overwhelming. But it gets better!

And a few web pages with great advice: My advice to foster parents, Foster care 101: Tips for successful foster parents, 6 foster care skills you need to know before being a foster parent, My tips for new foster parents

Bringing home baby: an adoption from foster care story

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption | No Comments

Sunita and Andy Groth always wanted to adopt. From the time they each were young, they dreamed of building their future families through adoption. So when they’d been married a few years, the only question was: adopt first? or start with having kids the old-fashioned way?

groth family

They opted for biological children first, but the Lord had a different plan for them, and after some time of “trying”, they decided to pursue adoption. The couple decided against international adoption because of all the news about the various ethical issues that troubled so many countries, and instead explored domestic adoption. They researched adoption agencies, but as they learned more about the children in need in the foster care system, they felt their hearts tugged in that direction. However, if they’re honest, they had concerns about foster care, too. “My sister has always had a heart for foster care,” Sunita says, “but I thought it would be too hard, too messy. My sister would be great: she’s a teacher. But I worried I wasn’t equipped for doing foster care and would be terrible at it.” But her sister’s passion and Sunita and Andy’s increasing desire to love kids at risk inspired her to give foster care a chance. Her family also had history with foster care: during the Great Depression, her grandmother and her grandmother’s siblings were put into foster care, for a season, and her grandmother became a foster parent herself.

But it was discovering the number of kids in foster care already available for adoption that sealed the deal for the Groths. “We didn’t need a baby,” Sunita says. “We just wanted to love a child.”

In December 2012, they attended an informational meeting at D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency and by New Year’s, they had their first meeting with the social worker who would eventually license their home. They signed up for January/February training classes, completed their home study during that time, and were licensed by April. “It happened very quickly for us.” Sunita shares, explaining that their situation was probably a bit unique, with and a shorter-than-average timeframe.

They went on the wait list June 1, approved to take any child under 7. They were interested in fostering to adopt, but learned that there weren’t any kids in their approved age range currently waiting for adoption. So they decided to foster while waiting for adoptive placement. They had several calls right away, but none worked out for various reasons.

Then they got a call about a baby boy in the hospital who needed a temporary home, with the possibility it could become permanent if he was not able to be reunited with relatives. Were they willing to take an “emergency” placement? Such a placement cannot be qualified as a fos-adopt case because nothing is known about the child’s background. So the Groths would be taking the baby, not knowing whether a family member would be located who would be able to raise him.

The baby was supposed to go home from the hospital the next day, but his preemie status and potential other health issues warranted a longer stay in a different hospital. Because of the emerging potential for family to adopt him, it was decided the baby would be placed with a foster family that wasn’t waiting to adopt, for whom it might be less painful to relinquish the child when the time came.

But Sunita and Andy were drawn to this baby. They felt the Lord had given them a name for him, and they already felt connected to him, so they assured the social workers they wanted to be his foster parents and asked to visit him in the second hospital. It took a week to get permission, but they were able to meet Gabriel on June 25, 2013. And that day, they were told there was a relative across the country who wanted to adopt him. “It was a beautiful journey with the Lord,” Sunita says now. “We wanted to love him like he was our own for as long as we had him and then release him if he was to be adopted by his relative. We wanted him to go from love to love.” Over the next week, they spent as much time as possible with him before he was discharged to their home. They would end up holding him 24/7 for six weeks because he suffered acid reflux and was simply starved for touch.

During his stay at the hospital, Sunita and Andy continued advocating to be his foster parents, even knowing he would likely end up with a family member. They even began communicating with the relative who had expressed interest in adopting the baby. But that relative was ultimately unable to, as was a second relative, so Sunita and Andy got first right of refusal, since they were already an adoptive home. In fall 2013, they met with the local extended birth family and received their blessing to adopt.

groth family 2Over the next few months, the Groths waited out the legal process as the system exhausted every opportunity to locate any family. Then, in early spring 2014, they were finally assigned a court date to finalize the adoption: May 7, 2014.

Legally a family, they celebrated with a trip to Rome and Cyprus.

Now home, they’re enjoying life as a trio. They acknowledge it wasn’t easy, but they’re grateful the Lord led them on this journey.

 

 

 

Foster care in the news

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments

This is a monthly roundup of news and blog posts about foster care and all things related. Come across an interesting article we missed? Email us: info@dc127.org

  1. Siblings in care should be kept together. Almost two-thirds of looked-after children with siblings also in the care system are separated from them.
  2. What it takes to be a foster parent. (video) Being a foster parent is a serious commitment. It’s something Isaac and Alisha Guadalupe know well. To date, they have fostered 11 babies.
  3. Shane’s story of aging out. (video) Shane tells his story with honesty and candor, reflecting on his experience as a foster child and the profound impact it has had on his life.
  4. Bennett Chapel–Saving Children. (video) Pastor William C. Martin and his wife Donna, of Bennett Chapel Baptist Church in Possum Trot, Texas, began by adopting several hard-to-place children from the foster care system. The Martins adopted more children, and members of their congregation followed their example.
  5. For years a father figure to many at-risk kids, Russ Sullivan now hopes to adopt 3 boys. Over the years, Russ Sullivan has been a guardian to nearly two dozen teenage boys. He is now taking on the task of raising three young boys whose mother died.
  6. Wanted (and needed): Home sweet home, at any age. As CCAI continues to celebrate National Foster Care Month and highlight the stories of older youth in foster care awaiting adoptive families, they are honored to share the story of one adoption professional who also bears the title of adoptive mom: Susan Stockham.
  7. Child welfare agencies offer targeted care to troubled kids. It used to happen dozens of times each year. A deeply troubled child would rage uncontrollably, and staff members would ride out the storm with holds and restraints.
  8. From hardship to hope. “Foster care is not fun for anyone,” says 24-year-old law student Amy Peters, who entered Nebraska’s foster care system at age 12 and remained until she “aged out” at 19.
  9. Three things you should know about foster parenting. We all know that the orphan crisis is a worldwide issue, but did you know that it is impacting children in your own community? The United States foster care system cares for thousands of children every year and as a result, the need for safe, loving, and supportive foster families is greater than ever. If you are considering the possibility of engaging this need through becoming a foster parent, here are a few things to consider:
  10. Famous foster children. Here is a sampling of people who were fostered or raised by someone other than their birth parents and grew up to be successful and famous.
  11. Giving boys a bigger emotional tool box. Is America’s dominant “man up” ethos a hypermasculine cultural construct, a tenet rooted in biological gender difference or something in between? Educator Ashanti Branch doesn’t much care or, more accurately, doesn’t have time to care. He’s too busy trying to make a difference in boys’ lives.
  12. 8 phrases foster and adopted children need to hear. Abandonment, rejection, hopelessness and helplessness are profound voices in the minds of children who’ve suffered trauma and loss. These are the echoes in their minds that form their identity. During the very critical years when a child should feel the most protected, loved and nurtured these children experience overwhelming loss and upheaval. Instability breeds uncertainty which develops into deep-seated anxiety and fear.
  13. Six things I’ve learned about adoption. While I certainly can’t give ‘advice’ as (or to) an adoptive mother, perhaps a few things I’ve learned can help others whose lives have been changed, blessed, and enriched in some way through adoption – or those who aren’t quite sure how to respond to a friend or family member who has chosen to adopt.
  14. Soup kitchens and word of mouth have brought Sharon Lockwood 37 godchildren. Her godchildren aren’t part of a formal mentoring program. They didn’t come to her through a church or a government mentoring group or a grant. But somehow, in a soup kitchen or because a friend of a friend introduced them, Lockwood forged deep relationships with more than three dozen kids, many of whom grew up in D.C. public housing.

  15. Orange is the new Black’s trailblazing portrayal of foster care. From “The Blind Side” to “White Oleander,” foster care has been grossly oversimplified in TV and movies, until now.
  16. HUD report explores options for youth aging out of foster care. Even though we’re all legally adults in this country at age 18, most Americans experience a longer transition into “practical adulthood” and economic independence. And for most of us that transition is supported, often financially, by our families. Many youth aging out of foster care, however, have no family support to rely on. For them, the transition to adulthood just happens overnight when they exit the foster care system, whether they’re ready or not.
  17. Monroe Martin: Finding the funny in foster care. Comedian Monroe Martin doesn’t shy away from any subject, which includes his childhood spent in foster care. Instead of dwelling on his past, however, Martin uses it, like everything else in his life, as material for his work.
  18. Donated cars put SC foster youth on the road to independence. Frazier is one of more than 70 foster youths in South Carolina who have received a free vehicle in the past four years through the On the Road Again program.
  19. Kids who age out of foster care need ongoing support, study says. Ivery Castilloux, 23, says he might have ended up living on the streets, or worse, had he not had support from Aunt Leah’s Link program that helps young people from foster homes land on their feet after they’ve ‘aged out’ of government care.
  20. Program helps L.A. foster youth become high school grads. Unlike most of her classmates, Alicia Rodriguez’ birth parents and siblings weren’t there to see her walk across the stage. Instead, her foster mother and sister were in the crowd, along with Aguayo and Hernandez, the Los Angeles County social worker and tutor who had helped her make it to graduation.

Meet Sara

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption | No Comments

We’re so excited to introduce you to Sara Kruger. Sara is helping us bring our blog to higher level of awesome and will be blogging on a regular basis around all things foster care. We’re so thankful for her words! Before she really launched, we wanted to make sure you got a chance to meet her. Here’s Sara:

Three years ago, my husband, Mike, and I started the private, domestic adoption process through an agency. I have to admit, adoption was not originally part of our plan. I never had any connection to adoption when I was growing up. To my knowledge, I never knew anyone who was adopted, or had adopted, or was part of an adoptive family. I never heard stories about adoption that made me vow to one day adopt. The willingness to adopt was not part of my litmus test for the man I married. Adoption was never on my radar. Sara Kruger picture

But after galavanting around Europe for a few years, when Mike and I decided it was time to complicate our lives, things didn’t happen the way they were supposed to. A dozen years married and well into a difficult journey toward parenthood, we prayerfully chose the fork in the road leading to adoption. And when we met our then-6-week-old baby boy, we were so grateful God’s plan trumped ours.

When we first started the process, we decided we were open to adopting a child of any race. We were informed early on, through trainings and seminars and other transracial adoptive families sharing their experiences, that life as a transracial family is difficult. And in fact, many adopting white couples choose to wait for a child that shares their skin tone because, well, life is a lot less complicated that way. But we were aware that our agency worked primarily with black women considering an adoption plan. As a white couple, we knew that if we were open to adopting a black child, we’d likely be matched a lot more quickly. So, feeling more discouraged than prepared by all the advice concerning adopting a child of a different race, we sort of disregarded it and waited and prayed for the child the Lord would have for us.

Two-and-a-half years in, we’ve had glimpses of the challenges ahead as a transracial family, but for the most part, parenting a toddler who is a different race from us isn’t much different than parenting a toddler who is the same race as us would be. And as we do encounter challenges, we trust the Lord to equip us to handle them.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27

In the years since becoming a full-time mama to this precious boy the Lord brought to our family, I’ve had the great joy of working with two non-profits dedicated to raising awareness about the need for forever families for vulnerable children. First was New Rhythm Project, a nonprofit started by wonderful friends (and now fellow adoptive parents) to provide education and raise awareness about international and domestic adoption, and foster care. The above verse is their motto. And now, DC127, which focuses on foster care.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to use my gifts of writing and editing to contribute to a cause I am newly passionate about. And as an adoptive mom in the trenches of raising a son who is a different race than me (an experience shared by many foster families), I enjoy sharing what I’m learning to encourage others to consider adoption.

 

The cost of doing nothing

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments

46-by-friday-header

This week we’re diving deeper into foster care and DC127. Read yesterday’s post by our Director. We’re specifically looking for 46 monthly donors  one for each month kids spend in foster care on average. Will you become a monthly donor today? 

We’ve all heard the stats:

  • 400,000 children in the United States are in the foster care system.
  • 96,000 of these children are available to be adopted.
  • 26,000 kids in foster care “age out” of the system, or are “emancipated,” every year.

And to bring it down to our level:

  • 1,179  children in the District of Columbia are in the foster care system.
  • 1,183 children are in their homes, but under the watch of DC Child and Family Services.
  • 108 children have the goal of adoption.
  • Children in foster care in DC spend an average of 46 months in the system (nearly twice the national average).
  • 77 percent of kids in DC waiting to be adopted are over 11 years old and at risk of aging out of care.

So what happens to these kids once they reach 18 and are legally on their own?  Jim Casey Youth has an infographic that spells out the cost of doing nothing: “On average, for every young person who ages out of foster care, taxpayers and communities pay $300,000 in social costs over that person’s lifetime. Social costs include taxpayer-funded costs such as public assistance and incarceration, as well as costs absorbed by the community, such as wages lost as a result of dropping out of high school.”

Studies show that, of the children who age out of the system without a permanent family,

  • 12-30 percent struggled with homelessness
  • 40-63 percent did not complete high school
  • 32-40 percent were forced to rely on some form of public assistance and 50 percent experienced extreme financial hardship
  • 18-26 percent were incarcerated

With 26,000 youth being emancipated each year, this adds up to nearly $8 billion in costs to the country. And these statistics represent only the financial toll on the country. They don’t tell the story of the challenges these kids experience as they age out of care and enter adulthood without the support of a family to guide them as they make big decisions, reach milestones, and build families of their own.

In light of all these dreary numbers, what can we do? Too often, we become overwhelmed and paralyzed. But we  understand that “doing nothing” is not an acceptable response for the church. We believe the answer is prevention. DC127 wants to keep kids from spending a quarter of their childhood in care and we aim to match adolescents at risk of aging out, with loving families before they are emancipated. We want to recruit families to foster and adopt our city’s young people, to ensure they don’t spend four years bouncing around and that they never have to leave the safety of a loving home.

Will you help us?

We’re looking for 46 people—to represent those 46 months kids spend in foster care—to help us achieve these goals.

We’re already seeing success. As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, just this month, using our church network, we were able to help settle a teen mom and her daughter in a home where they are thriving.

Join in our work by becoming one of 46 new monthly donors. Your investment in DC127 continues our efforts to unite area churches to circle around these children, and connect churches and foster families to the resources they need to make sure each child in the foster system has a place to call home and the support to realize his or her dreams.

The cost of doing nothing is too high. Join the movement and help us take action.

 

Invest in DC127 with a monthly or one-time donation

Kathy Edin and Aaron Graham on foster care and poverty

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments


DC127 Founder Aaron Graham and Kathy Edin, a professor of sociology at John Hopkins University (and Aaron’s former professor) and recent author of Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood and the Inner City, sat down with Values & Capitalism to discuss faith, adoption, foster care, and poverty. Aaron and Kathy are both adoptive parents and leaders in advocating on behalf of children in foster and those living in poverty.

Part of the discussion was about how to restore and lift up the families that children in foster care are coming from and how to work towards preventing children from ever entering foster care. Kathy’s research in Camden, New Jersey on marriage, motherhood, and fatherhood in low income neighborhoods found that the quest for identity often plays a huge part in young people’s journey into parenthood,

“What we learned about these young women and now these young men that we’ve been studying for a decade and a half, is that they often enter into parenthood kind of as a result for a quest for meaning and identity that all young adults go through. But their quest is unique because of its hopelessness and its sense that there is no path and there is no sure future. The sense of being overwhelmed by the violence and what young people would call negativity.”

Kathy then speaks to a community organization she is on the board of that works with kids starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school, and at age fifteen, gives young people leaderships roles within the program, allowing them to take ownership of their community. This program saw significantly lower rates of teenage pregnancy and incarceration.

We’ll let the rest of the interview speak for itself. We so appreciate Kathy and Aaron’s candidness and honesty in discussing challenges and celebrations around adoption in foster care.

Adoption provides an opportunity for God to really change us and for us to enter the same kind of mess he entered into when he came into our lives. The difficulties, I think, are just a signal of how difficult we’ve been as adopted children of God. But it is the model, and it’s undeniable that it’s something Christians should be engaged in.” -Kathy Edin

 

No age limit on love

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption | No Comments

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 4.07.12 PM

Susan Punnett, the Executive Director of Family and Youth Initiative, and Erica Rosenberg wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post and we want to make sure everyone has the chance to see it. Family and Youth Initiative focuses on finding mentors and adoptive homes for teens and young adults in foster care waiting to be adopted.

In the article they highlight that adoption isn’t only something for younger children, but that it is critical for children and teens of all ages. With no one to help them in the transition to adulthood, young adults who age out of foster care are more likely to struggle with finding housing, incarceration, and poverty. Here are some statistics from the article of a three-state study of young adults who aged out of care in the Midwest. By 24:

  • Nearly a quarter did not have a high-school diploma or GED,
  • Only 6% finished a two-year or four-year college,
  • More than half were not working,
  • Nearly 60% of the men had committed a crime.

A family can drastically change a young person’s life. As the article reminds us, imagine entering adulthood or college without the support of parents and a family. Young adults without a family and home face huge hurdles and lack the needed support and guidance.

Take a second to read through the whole article– it’s more than worth it, and always feel free to contact us or reach out to Family and Youth Initiative if you’re interested in learning more.

You can play a decisive role in reversing DC's foster care wait list. GET OUR NEWSLETTER