Something near and dear to my heart.
Wanted: Parents Adopting Teenagers
A new American RadioWorks documentary, "Wanted: Parents," profiles several Minnesota teenagers who agreed to try once more to trust a family. The documentary presents the story of a brother and sister looking for a home, and includes the voices of other teens, foster parents, adoptive parents, social workers and child advocates.
"Wanted: Parents" will air Monday, November 5th during the noon hour of Midday. A live audience will listen to the program in the UBS Forum and then participate in a discussion broadcast from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Lead producer Catherine Winter will moderate a panel exploring what can be done to prevent young people from leaving their foster homes only to wind up in homeless shelters or back with the very families they were taken from in the first place. Panelists will discuss the challenges and the rewards for families willing to open their homes and their hearts to older children.
Panelists will include one of the teenagers featured in the documentary and her adoptive parents, and Michelle Chalmers of the Homecoming Project, which tries to find families for teens.
The link to the web page is here
Also of interest:
On her own – the story of a youth in foster care who "aged out"
A Family Apart – the story of one family’s journey
A Third Chance – the story featured on the broadcast about a sister and brother in system
They Deserve More – feature of a child specific adoption recruiter (the program my current position was based on)
A Place to call home – the story of a waiting child
JR, these articles made me cry. I really really realllllllly want to adopt teens but my husband feels “done” and is not on board. Clearly I can’t do it on my own. I’m feeling kind of heartbroken.
All the people who talk about adopting should see this. They need to quit going after babies and help the kids who really need homes.
Not as an adoptive parent but as someone that was “in the system” for several years, I know why this is such a difficult thing to accomplish.
I went from family to foster care back to part of my family, but an abusive situation, to on my own at around age 15.
I suppose it has something to do with why I leaned towards adopting younger children. Right or wrong. Actually I remain not sure what is right or wrong in any of these situations.
“Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” That is basically what it came down to… The older sister of my son chose not to join my family legally thru adoption.
We met after I thought about how I would feel if I didn’t know where my younger sister was. So, after my son joined my family, I wrote to his older sisters, also in foster care. We exchanged letters, then phone calls. Visits, then a vacation together. Some Christmas holidays together and some apart. The sister I met when she was 14 aged out, but it is not clear that the system won’t be back in her life. (For worse, not for better.) The sister I met when she was 12 finally agreed to be adopted by her foster mother of several years when the choice was — move as part of the family to a different state or move in with a different family.
From what I’ve seen, it is hard to be a teenager and think about joining a new family. I admire those who believe in the importance of lifelong connections. Although the young woman whom I love like a daughter chose not to make our relationship one recognized by law, our connection matters. It matters immensely to all of us whose “family” ties are so complicated that there are not socially recognized names for what we mean to each other.
Now, I am the mother of a teenager. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been if a child joined my family at that age. From my perspective, the most important qualification for any prospective adoptive parent is unconditional commitment and the willingness to put the needs of the children who join your family through adoption first.