Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Tonight just a quick post to capture a conversation we had tonight. We were out for a late night walk - I pay T. $3 to "train" me by jogging around the neighborhood before bed a few times a week. I get my exercise, and he gets to chatting. Rather like driving in the car, being side by side in the dark, rather than face to face at home frees the tongue.

So tonight, we were talking about why I'd like him to get involved in activities. But I was also trying to explain that this is a goal, not a criticism. So I added something like, "You know, you've accomplished a lot. You found yourself parents and got adopted your freshman year. That's huge. That's bigger than any high school accomplishment I've ever heard of. That's just so impressive."

And that's when he said: "You feel me? You know what the social worker said? Back when I was living at Ms. (former foster mom)'s house? The social worker came and she and Ms. (former foster mom) were sitting in the living room. I said I wanted to be adopted. And they said "Oh, people don't adopt teenagers. People want to adopt LITTLE kids." Man, I just went in my room. That made me feel so bad. Like, I'm gonna be in foster care forever? For my whole life? Like I'm gonna die in foster care. That just makes a kid feel, like, so hopeless."

Yes, exactly.


jaenkes said...

Your blog has been a HUGE insipration to us... and a source of knowledge! We are in the process of adopting out of foster care. Here in Oregon, we don't meet the kids at ALL during the "matching" process.

Through reading your blog we were inspired to look at even older children and have changed our paperwork from 5-8yr olds to also being open up to 13yr olds. We have a 9yr old biological son as well.

Keep up the great parenting and keep spreading the word... as you're right, its SO hard to find info on adoption older children.

robin said...

I have loved reading your blog! I found it after I googled "adopting a teenager" and have read every word. I have recently fell in love with a 12 year old boy, living in a baptist children's home, who is available for adoption, but does not want to be adopted. He has been placed in 3 different homes to be adopted but he starts acting up and says he wants to go back to the children's home. So that's where he ends up. He has three different families taking him for weekends now, including my family, but does not want a permanent placement. He wants to go back with his bio mother or family but that is not an option. It's like he feels like he is betraying his mother. I have never considered adoption, have two children of my own, until I met this boy at church. It's like it's meant to be. It's all I can think about. Do you have any advice? I would love to have him in our home or just want him to be happy in a "real" family.

Lulu McCabe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lulu McCabe said...

Hi guys. Thank you so much for reading! It makes me incredibly happy that the information I shared about adopting T. has been useful to you in thinking about your own families.

Robin, I'm not an expert and I think every situation is different, but here is my advice based on my experience:

- I think it's really normal for the kids to act out when they enter a new home and long to return to the familiar. I think you have to commit to sticking with it through that period, hopefully with the help of a really good adoption worker and a family therapist. It sounds like in some of his previous pre-adoptive placements, the child you describe may have been "testing" the parents by acting out and saying he wanted to go back to the home.

Also, I'd caution against wanting the child to be happy in your new family- I know exactly what you mean, of course. But traumatized kids have so much grief and pain that they need to be allowed to process.

- I highly recommend a program like the one we were in, called Kidsave. We did weekend visits for four months. That really helps with the transition- it's not such a huge scary commitment for the kid to make a permanent leap. I think if the kid feels he has some control and choice about his placement, it's a lot more likely to succeed.

- one of the very best bits of advice I got was to never underestimate the child's attachment to biological family, however chaotic or distant those relationships have been. After all, the child's attachment to biological family can be an important basis for their attachment to you.

We often say that adoption is about putting all the pieces together - not about choosing one family or another. I think much of the writing about children and divorce pertains to this kind of situation. That said, it's really hard sometimes! :)

Hope that helps. I hope you'll share where life takes you!

Mama Drama Times Two said...

I love theidea of paying him tobe your personal trainer. James (13) just had his first practice of football tonight and I can see my days of couch sitting are numbered.
We also love long car rides for the same reason - sitting side by side in the car is so non-threatening, it just makes the conversations flow sometimes...

jaenkes said...

Robin.. or others:
We were recommended to have our 9yr old read a book called "Parents Wanted" to help him understand what a child in foster care might be going through, emotionally, etc. We are reading it to him and it's a GREAT book. It's about a 12yr old boy, who a couple wants to adopt, and he's been causing all sorts of trouble at their home, because he figures they will "give him back eventually, so he may as well cause trouble now". Plus he holds tightly to his bio-parents, even though in the same breath he admits they are bad parents.

This book and "Ocean Within", which we haven't read yet, were highly recommended. :)

Maya said...

I'm sorry but this 12 y.o. child doesn't want to be adopted for the reasons he stated. You wrote : "It's like it's meant to be. It's all I can think about. " That's your side of the situation, but it takes 2 to tango, and he doesn't see it that way, obviously. I would strongly caution against believing you can "save" someone against his/her will. My son was 5 at adoption. He's now a raging, violent and yet so sweet 13 y.o. who hasn't come to terms with being relinquished by bio mother and cannot accept being adopted. 5 y.o. aren't asked (they couldn't provide an answer, of course). Its another matter for 12 y.o. who know what entering a new family situation means.
Good luck on your journey. Maybe you will cross the path of another child yearning for a family.


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