|Photo by Kelly Sikkema|
I’m going to be honest with you, this adoption journey has been hard. It is not for the weak. You need stamina and a layer of patience that you never knew existed before.
We consider ourselves a “catch”, we are a loving couple with great jobs and a strong support system of family and friends. We live in a diverse town with a plethora of resources at our fingertips. We have two incredible children that we share custody of so a child coming into our home has the benefit of siblings but also, depending on the week, will be the only child in the home so he/she will get our undivided attention. It’s the best of both worlds!
We thought that we would get swooped up right away and that the social workers would be ecstatic to place a child in our home. But that hasn’t been the case. Keep in mind that we are only looking to adopt a child that is considered “older”, between 5 and 11 years old. We’ve learned that most states want to keep kids in their home state, for various reasons. The most understandable is that the child has siblings that they need to remain in contact with by having playdates monthly or attending day camps together. We totally understand needing to maintain that connection and openly say in our adoption paperwork that we support maintaining relationships of any kind with birth family. But then sometimes the state just decides that the children should be adopted within the state, without an explanation. There are no siblings to stay in contact with, no birth family members wanting to see the child. From what I can understand there are children who are sitting in foster care and not being adopted by an awesome family that happens to live in another state because the state wants them to be adopted by someone in that state. The kicker is….no one is coming forward. So these kids continue to get bounced around from foster home to foster home. They switch schools more times than I switch out my clothes in my closet. They continue to get older and older. And statistics show that children over ten years old have a 50% less likely chance of being adopted at all.
My wife thinks that a doctoral student should take this study on for their dissertation, to research how many children continue to stay in foster care and age out of the system rather than be adopted out of state. I think it would be too depressing to know those numbers, to see that truth. There is this underlying concern that we aren’t being picked because we are two women. Only once did a social worker come out and say that, explaining that the child (who has the right to choose based on his age and the state laws) that he did not want two moms. But it made me wonder, did anyone explain to him that he is missing out on an incredible opportunity to have a family that will love him and care for him? Did anyone sit down with him and explain that two moms are pretty much the same as a “traditional family”; we go to PTA meetings and we drive you to soccer practice. That two moms will love you just as much as having a mom and a dad will.
We will continue to hold on to hope that our child is out there and soon will join our family. In the meantime, keep us in your prayers. And let me borrow that extra layer of patience that you have stored in the back of your closet.