Just over two years ago, our family experienced the blessing of a finalized adoption.
Our sweet little one had already been a part of our everyday life for nearly two years, but on October 20, 2015, we made it all official. We dressed up and took photos. We celebrated and signed paperwork (and more paperwork). We grinned from ear to ear and struggled to let ourselves believe that this day had finally come.
The Waiting Game
Waiting. As foster parents who were hoping to be a adoptive parents, we felt like it was all we could do sometimes — most of the time, actually. We waited for court dates, only to have them delayed. We waited for case workers to return our calls and emails. We waited for news — any news — of what the future would hold for this precious little one in our care. In so many ways, that special day in October of 2015 changed everything. And in so many ways, nothing changed. She was our daughter; already part of our family.
National Adoption Day
Today, November 18, 2017, is National Adoption Day. Hundreds of families all across America will make official what has been true for so long already. They are a forever family! Adoption is always something to celebrate, but for children and families who have navigated the foster care system and made it to this day, let me tell you, they are crying tears of joy and breathing sighs of relief!
Can we take a minute, though, to change our perspective? Can you wrap your mind around what it must feel like to be a child in the system? A child who is waiting for his or her forever home? As an adoptive parent, there’s no way around it. The waiting is HARD. Hurry up. Wait. Hurry up. Wait.
But (spoiler alert!) we’re the adults! We can handle waiting and paperwork and changed plans. As hard as this journey is on foster and adoptive parents, it’s exponentially harder on the children whose futures are hanging in the balance.
100,000 waiting children
According to AdoptUSKids, there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. Twenty-five percent, or 100,000 of these children are available for adoption. Go ahead and read that again:
One quarter of the kids currently in foster care are available for adoption.
They are waiting for their forever home. For many different reasons (likely none of which are fully their doing), 100,000 kids are in limbo. They are in temporary care. Their needs are being met, but they know that this won’t be forever.
Can you imagine the thoughts running through their minds?
“Am I good enough?”
“Does anyone want me?”
“Will I get to stay with (or be reunited with) my siblings?”
“Will I age out and be all alone?”
Y’all. Ladies. Mamas. We’re the adults here! Can we, together, take a stand for hurting and vulnerable children? Can we make room in our homes and our hearts for one (or maybe three or four) more? I think we can. Let me tell you, it won’t be easy. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But it will be worth it. Not mainly for you. But for that sweet little one (or teenager) who needs a forever home.
Want to learn more? Check out these websites for information, stories, and the beautiful faces of waiting children.