To start off I believe there are a few that I may offend with what I am going to say. I apologize in advance as that is not my intent.
Recently I have had a rekindled inspiration to speak out for children. Specifically children in foster care as that has been an experience of my own which remains near and dear to me. During my encounters in foster care I came across various foster parents. I would like to split them into categories for the public who is unaware.
1) Help a Child in Need Category; these are individuals who simply want to give. They have a big heart and the idea of children going without love and essentials on a daily basis breaks their heart so they decided to become foster parents, because they simply wanted to help a child in need. I commend you!
2) I Can’t Bear Children Category; these are couples and or individuals who can not bear children. My heart cries for you. The opportunity to bring life to a child is something I have yet to experience but long to. Having that option taken away from me is a possibility that I have feared and pray about. These woman long to love, give life, and be loved and to you I support the cause because not only are you healing yourself by taking a child in but you are healing a part of the world. I applaud you.
3) We Want To Expand Our Family Category; This category could actually be broken down into two subcategories.
3A) Those who have had children and desire to expand their family to help a child in need. I think this subcategory is wonderful especially if you can do so financially. Raising children financially is not easy and to give love and life to your own flesh and blood is an exemplary accomplishment in and of itself. To go above and beyond to extend your love in addition to the children you birthed is exemplary and stellar!
3B) Those who do not have children of their own for whatever reason. This category for me is questionable.
4) I Want A Extra Paycheck Category. I hate to say it but everyone does not have the best of intentions when they adopt and or foster a child. Some people are sick and that is a reality. The abuse that a foster or adoptive child endures while IN CARE is atrocious. These children get taken out of a environment that is unfit and often times go into another unfit environment. Whether the abuse is emotional, physical, sexual or all the above. It happens. I would take the time to research the actual current statistics, but since I am a walking breathing statistic I don’t feel the need. The “I Want An Extra Paycheck” category is despicable and broods the perfect grounds for a child to be abused while in their care. Why? Because money is the root of all evil. Need anymore be said?
5) I Went Through It Category. This category is the child who became an adult who knows the foster care story all to well. Why? It is their story. They have walked a mild in that child’s shoes. They feel the pain of that child because somewhere inside that grown adult is still that abused, neglected, rejected child. Perhaps I am biased because I am that child. I will give you that. While I wear that badge of honor I will say that most people know that you can give love, you can extend empathy, you can relate by similar experiences that may have taught you the same lessons, but it is a far greater thing to walk a mile in someones shoes and then offer understanding. Their testimony is your testimony.
Now that we have an understanding of the categories above I will move forward for the reason behind my title. I was enraged last night before laying my head on my pillow next to my husband as I read a blog that characterized their adoption process as if they were window shopping. Children are not the latest Louis Vuitton that you saw adorned on a gorgeous model in the latest issue of Vogue. We are not the latest sale at the new outlet mall that opened a mile from your house where you are waiting for the Burberry store to open this Autumn. WE are living breathing humans with feelings, hearts, and souls that have bled far more tears than you could know. Did you window shoppers know that children after the age of 3 become less marketable for adoptions? YES I SAID MARKETABLE, because that is how the adoption agencies present us. Do you want blonde hair and blue eyes? What about fire red engine hair? Not many people want the 6 year old who has been medicated more than some 25 year olds, because they say he or she has ADD neglecting the real problems at hand, TRAUMA. No not many window shoppers are looking to add that to their family tree!
I am one of the children who went through the foster care system from age 3 until I was emancipated at 18 before my high school graduation. I was not adopted despite my 3.7 GPA, my President of National Honor Society title, Captain of the Track and Field team, and school records in the 800, 4×4, and 4×8 meters. WHY? After my mom finally lost the ability to have us back in her care I was already about 5 years old. No offense, but I am sure my brown skin, brown eyes, and unruly curly hair was not that marketable. They did not even bother trying to place me in a home that was willing to adopt me. They did not search for an adoptive home despite the fact that my mother’s parental rights had not been terminated BUT she could never get us back. The courts allowing my mother to keep her rights was only to protect her mental stability, they weren’t concerned about my home life stability.
If you want to adopt or foster children broaden your horizons and stop looking at children as if they are your next handbag or home decor. Hanging pictures on your refrigerator door to be a constant reminder of the “goal” that you have to adopt children based on the physical characteristics you cut out of a magazine is entirely different from hanging a picture of your next travel destination. It is a sad reality that there are wonderful children out there at the age of 5, 10, and 15 that NEED homes. Are they, are we not worth you shopping for?
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