what level are you on? (adoption/foster)

My heart breaks when I hear of children who’ve been abandoned by families because they did not fit the mold they were expected to fall into. Families are falling apart because of the stress that has culminated due to a child that has attachment issues. The entire family suffers, and so does the child who has already experienced so much loss and brokenness before entering their adoptive family.

I would like to think that adoption dissolutions are rare. A statistic I recently read said ten to fifteen percent of adoptions fail, and although this isn’t a high percentage, when it comes to children losing families, I feel it is far too exorbitant.

I think of adoptive families as living in a home with several levels. The top one is filled with hope and dreams that have come to fruition, it’s where the family is whole. A couple stories down from there is where hope and dreams exist, but are not yet realized. Here, a family knows their goal, and life is running fairly smooth. Then there are families who’ve fallen to the lower levels, where it seems that all hope is lost. They are placing their foot on the step, trying to climb up, but they continue to slip. The adopted children, the parents, and the siblings are all crying out. They are lost and grasping for help.

This is why I’m here, writing and trying to help adoptive and foster families. If you’re not on the bottom floor, then my goal is to keep you from falling down the steps. My goal is that we no longer hear about foster/adopted children being turned away, thrown out, or given away. If, however, you are on that bottom floor, I want to give you the foot hold you need to move to the upper floors.

At times families find themselves on the bottom floor because they were unwilling to have open eyes going into the process. They imagined a fairy tale. Sure, there are absolutely many fairy tale moments, adopting is a wonderful thing for both the parents, the adopted children, and siblings, but we cannot go into adoption with our eyes closed. We must be willing to look at our family and decide how we will make it work.

Work? Yes, it’s work. Many of our hurting children have gone through something horrendous, whether it be that they weren’t touched during their first months of life; or they were homeless as a young child, fending for themselves, finding their own food and shelter; or they were abused physically and mentally.

Raising an adopted child takes work because they need all of us. We have to solve problems in different ways, we have to be empathetic even when we feel like blaming, we have to ask our spouse for help even when we don’t want to. Sometimes we have to make a safety plan within our home even when it seems impossible.

What are you willing to do for your child? Change your schedule? Give up a hobby for a couple of years? Take over your spouses responsibilities when they need a break? Admit to your own exhaustion?

If you’re reading this blog, you may be looking for help. You don’t want to do battle every day. You want to help your child and your family, and my hope is that the information here will help you do that. I want with all my heart for you to live on the top floor, with a balcony that looks back on all you’ve come through. There you can say, “See, we’ve made it this far, we can keep going.” Because in the end family is what it’s all about, and your family was built through adoption.

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