I received a call from the agency that I went through to adopt my child asking me if I would like to share my story with a group of ladies that were finishing their IMPACT training and are hoping to adopt. IMPACT training is a requirement of Georgia in order to adopt a child from foster care. The training consists of nine weeks of classes and speaks on the different types of adoption, type of kids, process, and situations that you may encounter while adopting.
I jumped at the opportunity to be able to speak and to tell my story. When I got there, the director of the class had another gentleman there along with his daughter that he adopted from foster care. His daughter was 13 and was 12 years old when she got adopted. He spoke about the different events that he went through adopting his now daughter a year ago. His daughter was not adopted from the state of Georgia; he adopted his daughter from Montana. He spoke about his experience in dealing with a different state while living in Georgia. Once he was chosen for his daughter, he and his wife flew up to Montana to visit with the child. Once he got there, they had already packed the little girls bags. He visited with his daughter for maybe two hours, and then the next day, they were asked to sign paperwork, releasing her to them.
The little girl spoke up and stated she was scared and didn’t know who they were and had already moved around five times to different group homes. This would be the little girl’s first time living with parents except for when she was removed from her birth mom’s care.The little girl reminded me a lot of my daughter as she was quiet and shy. All of this was a new experience for her. I was amazed at how comfortable she was with her adoptive father since her adoptive mother was not there that day.
Typically, these kids are in foster care for an average of five years before their birth parents’ rights are terminated and before they are placed (if they get placed). They may get placed in a home where the adoption disrupts, and they move again. They spend the better part of their young lives moving back and forth between homes and group homes. They grow up in foster care, and before they know it, they are preteens with no one to call mom and dad and still no where to call home.
After they left, it was my turn to speak. I was asked to start from the beginning all the way to now telling my experience of adopting from foster care. As I was telling my different experiences and giving advice, it dawned on me; I had never shared this experience with anyone until today. After it was all said and done, I got in my car and drove home. On the drive home, I thought about just how far my husband and I along with my daughter have come. We went from strangers to a family in a year and a half. That is a lot of adjustment for everybody involved, but these precious children are the ones that take most of the stress.
When I finally got home, my daughter was asleep, and I went into her room and gave her a hug and kiss and whispered good night to her. I have always admired my daughter for what she has endured and how hard she has worked to become the preteen she is today, but by sharing my story, it brought all of us closer together. I think it is so important for those who have adopted older kids to try to get involved and to share your story. Who knows, your story may be the deciding factor on whether someone adopts a younger child or an older child. Please advocate!