Others are ripe with generosity in the weeks approaching Christmas. Retailers know people are looking for gifts for family and friend and promote their wares with a variety of advertising and sales offers. Charities know this spirit of giving extends to others and volunteers ring bells by buckets, and our mailboxes are stuffed with requests for money. Even though it comes with a caution that adopting a homeless animal is a lifetime commitment shelter animals are paraded across our television screens in holiday attire trying to find a home for Christmas. Even the foster care system is not left out of this blatant attempt to move us off of our butts to do something about the thousands of homeless children by volunteering to become foster parents or adopt.
Growing up near a permanent foster family with two brothers influence me think about adoption or foster care. In the 50’s and 60’s the brothers could not be adopted, because their father would not release them for adoption, even though he was in prison for murdering their mother. Their foster parents, were the parents that made sure they got to school everyday, took care of them when they were sick, clothed and fed them, and loved them into adulthood and beyond. Last I heard, they even started a group home, which included one of the boys, providing for as much independence as the possible for not only their child, but others like him.
We had looked into foster care/adoption when our children were young, but quickly learned any child we could adopt would be handicapped in some way, from severe behavior handicap, to a mental or physical handicap. Concerned for the affect these problems would have upon our birth children, we put the idea of adoption on the back burner.
After our youngest son went away to college, it was at this time of year that the stories of foster children needing homes reawakened in me the desire to have another child in my home. We knew adoption would truly be a lifetime commitment. We agreed we wanted to adopt an older child, a teen, that would “fit” with the rest of our family. What about the “problems” an adopted child would have? Well, any child a couple could have comes with the exact same risks. There is no guarantee of health and wellbeing just because you give birth to a child. We were good and experienced parents. We thought we could handle another teen.