Friday, May 16, 2008

It's National Foster Care Month, so... Cross Over the Bridge!

While visiting my grandbabies in California last week, I met with a young couple who wanted to talk with me about adding to their family by adopting. They are young and energetic, successful, involved in their community---and already have two young children. They'd thought about adoption for years, he told me. With all the parentless children in the world, it seemed like a move whose time had come.

They both had grown up knowing kids who had been adopted. Some of their friends and neighbors had chosen adoption to build their families as well. Where should the start, they asked, and what were my recommendations?

They were already aware of the current crisis in international adoption in terms of lengthy delays and countries closing, but were unaware of the degree to which corruption and c ompetition is driving these problems to their eventual end. They also had heard about institutional delays experienced by children raised in orphanages. They were not surprised by the fact that many children adopted in this country through foster care are not all that different from children coming from abroad. \And they seemed to understand that adoption, no matter where or how or who, came with no guarantees.

We talked for a long time. They asked thoughtful questions and listened carefully. They took notes and referred back to them for more clarification. How did kids come into foster care here and how did they move eventually to parental termination and adoption? Was it a similar process internationally?

In the end, they left my daughter's home overwhelmed but excited. Foster care with the possibility of ending in an adoption? Maybe, but how would they ever be able to return a child they had grown to love if adoption were not the outcome? Nevertheless, they plan to contact their local foster care office for more information. International adoption? Also risky business. But again, they left with the names of two agencies to contact specializing in international placements. This young couple is excited about stepping out onto another path to family building. It's all about choice...and the consequences of those choices. And, it's not always about making the right choice, but how you live it!

By the way, there is a wonderful resource out there for families already involved in domestic child welfare and foster care or those interested in learning more. Check out and tell them Cindy sent you.

And while you're deciding (or even if you're just curious) don't overlook the incredible work of the national team at AdoptUsKids. Visit their site to read about waiting children in all 50 states and the personal stories of families who have opened their hearts and arms to some of these children. Go to
AdoptUsKids also has a blog where prospective waiting parents can get support and information from AdoptUsKids and each other. Go to It's worth the time!

From where I sit,