When most people think about adopting, they think babies! But what about the 104,000 foster children in the United States who are waiting for their forever families? If they stay in foster care, and no one ever adopts them, where do they go for Christmas when they’re grown-ups? Who’s going to show any interest in their vacation photos? It isn’t just while people are children that they need parents and families.
A lot of adoptive parents may think it’s easier to adopt an infant or a very young child, and often it is. But I know from personal experience, having adopted a sixteen-month-old, that sometimes it isn’t. I’ve come to learn that it isn’t the age of the child that matters as much as what the child has been through.
You can adopt a sixteen-month-old like I did who was severely neglected by his birth parents and who has significant attachment issues. I testify that nothing is harder in adoption than attachment issues. You can also adopt a six-year-old or sixteen-year-old without attachment issues. Sometimes there are innocuous reasons that a child is removed from parental custody. It pays to learn the history of children that are available for adoption.
Just like chemistry is that elusive quality between couples, it is chemistry that can help overcome many obstacles between parents and the foster children they adopt. Chemistry can start with a photo, and Adoption.com’s photolisting is one of the Internet’s largest one-source listing of waiting children. My sixteen-month-old that I adopted almost nine years ago is still the love of my life, and I would have adopted him even knowing the heartburn he would cause us simply because we have that chemistry. When it works, it’s magic.
Using a photolisting like that on Adoption.com is one way to identify children who make our hearts beat faster. Another way is through your Facebook and other social media accounts. You can get the word out to friends and family that you want to adopt, and they can use their own social media to help you locate children that would be a good fit for your family. In the digital age of databases and immediate contact, you can quickly learn more about a child that interests you.
Adoption stories often have a spiritual component to them, and there’s no reason the Lord can’t use Facebook to connect children with forever families. As you look back, you may see an interesting trail of spiritual promptings and “coincidences” that led you to your child.
Adoption has always been an exciting and arduous path. The Internet opens up so many more possibilities and puts you in contact with so many more potential children. If you have the desire to adopt a child, and your heart goes out to older children, consider adopting from foster care. The Internet and social media make it that much easier and more exciting. The arduous part is just par for the course.