I ran across this statistic, the other day. To me, it's both inspiring and depressing. It's kind of amazing that it would take that little to solve the problem, but also disheartening that not even one out of 500 people adopt. I talk to people all the time. We're a walking PSA for foster care adoption. The fact that my children are clearly not biological puts us in the position of ending up in conversations with strangers. And, we do. I have encouraged many, many people to actively explore adoption because many, many people have told me that they have considered it. I don't think I've talked to 500 yet, but I sure hope I've gotten a couple to at least look at a websites that I recommend.
Last week, William got into some trouble at school for cheating. I was very upset, of course, so he wasn't getting a lot of enthusiasm from me on anything. To start off my exciting list of consequences, I sent him off to clean his room. I almost always include that in a consequence because his room is almost always messy. And, well, that just bugs me. :)
On one of his trips out of his room, (it's amazing how many times a child needs to come out of a room that he should stay in), he brought me a note. It said "I love you more than my video games." He was referring to the xbox and was quoting what Antwan said to Brian, a few days ago. William doesn't always know how to express himself and knew that Antwan had gotten a reaction when he said it. So, despite the fact that it was not remotely relevant, he tried it out. And, yeah, he got a reaction.
I gave him a hug and told him I loved him, too. Then, I asked him, "You know that, right? I'm very upset with you, but I always love you."
He looked at me with a confident smile that seemed to say, I knew it but wanted to hear it, and said "I know."
Then I realized that he does know. Despite all my mistakes, and I make them, he knows. I am constantly worrying that I'm not giving him enough emotional support, that I'm not hugging enough, laughing enough, smiling enough, or listening enough. But, in that moment, he confirmed the most important thing, I am loving him enough.
I want my kids to feel secure in our love. It came easier to Lizzie and Antwan as they have the luxury of not remembering anything else. But, William had to learn that he could take my love for granted. I'm sure his moments of doubt are not gone forever, but we're on the right track.
It matters so much that he knows that he's loved because he didn't always have that. And, unfortunately, there are way too many kids out there, right now, who still don't have it.
There are 107,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted. (Not to mention all the kids who are in foster care waiting to find out what their futures will be.) 107,000 kids. Let's break that down, that's like... Wait, I really don't need to break it down because that's like 107,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted! And, that's just awful. And, this year, 20,000 children will age out of the foster care system without being adopted at all. 20,000 kids will legally become adults and have to figure out how to actually be adults all at the same time.
There are all kinds of depressing statistics associated with how well that goes, like...
*most lack a high school diploma.
*only 6 percent go on to earn college degrees.
*40 percent will at some point be homeless.
National Foster Care month is a month to be grateful for the foster parents who take care of these children and to be reminded of these kids who's life of constant insecurity is their normal. Of course, I'm generalizing. I don't know how each child feels and there are definitely foster parents who give their all to make these kids feel secure and loved. But, the fact is if a judge or a case worker somewhere decided for whatever reason that a change needed to be made, any of those kids could be moved somewhere else, just like that, and the foster parents would have to say goodbye and good luck. That makes me feel insecure just thinking about it.
I grew up with both of my parents. They were there. They loved me and I never, ever doubted that. I didn't realize how fortunate I was to just be a kid and know that my parents would take care of me and love me. But, I really, really was.
I am proud that I have adopted my three children. We have saved them and they have definitely saved us.
Three children seems significant until you consider that it only brings the grand total number of children who are waiting for homes down to 106,997. But, still it's something and it helped. My kids have a future of security and love with parents who think they are just amazing. They will get the chance to love us, think they hate us, think that we don't understand anything, and eventually (hopefully sooner than later!) like us again.
Every child deserves that.
But, this year, 20,000 won't have it.
That's just not right.
Forgive my repetition, but... "nearly 81.5 million Americans have considered adopting a child. If just one in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family."
Wouldn't that be awesome? :)
*Visit http://adoptuskids.org for information on adopting a child and other ways to help! :)