Monday, December 26, 2005

Nothing More Than Foster Parents?

One area of the adoption process that many should be aware of is that you may end up being nothing more than glorified "foster parents" when it is all said and done. Many people will proclaim how much good you are doing, but if your children ultimately fail to attach, you may end up with a lot less satisfaction than you expected.

It can be tough enough to raise children in today's world with all the things that can pull them from their family, even when they were born in it. Adding in the underlying feeling that they don't really belong in you family can make it even harder for them to feel a part of things. And this can make you very frustrated if they decide another family is their true family.

I don't know that this has an answer. My oldest child is currently very estranged and my second is chafing to leave home as soon as he can. He is cordial, in general, but the deep tie is missing and I strongly feel that he is just biding his time until he can permanently rejoin his real family. I don't think he really grasps that he can never regain what was lost many years ago. He also needs to know that he has two families now. My daughter (the oldest) viewed getting back with her birth father as the solution to all the problems. Of course it didn't, but such feelings don't go away easily.

My youngest 2 don't appear to have any strong pull in this direction. They have spoken with their birth father, but they don't appear (at least not at this point) to be driven by the need to move there.

My attempt here is to raise the issue, not deal with all the emotions. Be aware of this deep tie.

It does raise a deep fear of many adoptive parents: losing their children to the birth parents, but you are better off facing it that merely pretending it doesn't exist.


Friday, December 23, 2005

Is There Hope?

I will warn anyone considering adopting from the CPS system to do a lot more investigation than most people do. It does take a good bit of idealism to even venture into this area, but watch that your idealism doesn't blind you to the harsh realities that are likely to arise down the line.

Even the best children in the system have been hurt in some manner. And parenting a hurt child takes a lot more than most parents realize. Are you ready for feedback from many who just don't get it? What will you do when your own relatives tell you to just "lighten up" on children when you are just barely holding things together?

Hopefully I can regain my initial sense of optimism, but going through the ringer with such children has a way of rapidly draining away such enthusiasm. As a Christian, I know that God is in charge of everything and I know that He was not surprised, but that doesn't make it any easier to walk through.

If you are heading down this path, find someone who has been down it before. Don't just believe the "adoption stories" shows on TV. They rarely focus on the long term, and I have yet to see one that turned out poorly. (Though what do you expect from a "feel good" show. No one would want to watch and "adoption failures" show after all, at least not outside of trash TV shows.)

Maybe you will be successful, and I pray you will, but you are much more likely to succeed if you find out what you are facing ahead of time.