Skip to content

How We Had 3 Kids in Our 50s and So Can You!

2013 January 5

Reading comments on AdoptUsKids Facebook page about subscribers’ plans for 2013 in foster care and adoption I was saddened but not all that surprised to see how many were negative.

They generally fell in the category of being unhappy and frustrated with their Children and Youth Services or a particular agency. Most seemed to be interested in only direct adoption, and they’ve waited sometimes years for a match.

Quite a few have opted to only look at foreign adoptions. This has the added benefit, for the adoptive parent at least, of adopting a child with no local family entanglements.

When adopting a child in the United States, whether through the foster care system or straight adoption, there are likely to be other family members, including siblings, who are still going to be in their lives in some way.

As far as our journey goes, our kids waited for us. We spent several years and a few false starts in exploring adoption only. Our call to foster parenting was something we resisted and even ran away from; but God is very persistent.

“Giving” by David Hartman

Ironically, our first placements, which occurred within a month and a half of our licensing, were pre-adopt placements. These guys had been in another foster home long enough for reunification to become in doubt and the other foster parents chose not to adopt them.

Not having waited I don’t feel like I can speak directly to the frustration of those who posted on the Facebook page.

But I can speak to two things:

First, we had plenty of opportunities to give up, though they had nothing to do with foster agencies and social workers. I’ve written about this elsewhere. Nothing we do that is worthwhile is going to be located down a smooth road with no hills, potholes, detours and ditches.

Once you decide to do something because God called you to do it and would not let you go your own way, Satan is going to be there; and so is God. Ask yourself: Who always wins?

Second, we’re imperfect parents with family connections of our own and we’re not getting perfect kids unfettered by family history, good and bad. They are not coming to you well adjusted with no emotional issues, if only stemming from abandonment the disruption of their lives from being moved and changing schools.

You’ll be stretched, tested, frustrated and made regularly to feel like a failure. Parents of their own bio-children will tell you the same thing.

I am speaking humbly here as someone who is far from the best and most experienced parent, and who counts myself blessed, along with my wife, that things worked out so well and quickly for us.

If you are thinking of or in the process of becoming foster parents with the goal of adoption, here are some things I think will help you:

Be prepared to have kids in your home that may not stay. This is foster care, and you need to consider it. Even though we are keeping ours, for most of the time the boys have been with us there was the very real possibility that one of their parents would get them back. We were also faced with waiting for the resolution of a possible adoption by a relative. These things can hang very heavy over your head as you become more and more attached to the children, but you have to endure it.

Be open to sibling groups. This is very important. If you can make room in your home and heart for more than one child you’ll increase your chances of finding a placement. If you can make room for three the balance tilts more in your favor. Social services often have to separate siblings for various reasons, but it’s not done lightly, and it’s really sad when it’s done because there’s no room or, worse, there’s an older kid that no one wants.

When we were licensed we had several opportunities before two brothers moved in with us. But each one was a child that couldn’t, at least for the time being, be placed in a home with other children. We were told that even though they would consider us our agency was holding out because we had made room for three and that they didn’t have many homes like ours to go to.

It didn’t take long. In less than a month and a half we had our fist placement, which brings up my next point:

Be flexible on age. Our boys came to us at seven and eight, which was within the age group (6 – 10) we had identified as our preference. Jennifer described this as akin to the old car commercials that promised zero to sixty in less than 2.6 seconds!

Several months later their sister, with whom they’d lived in another foster home and still had visitation, needed a place to live. Even though at 16 she was out of our preferred age range we immediately said yes.

That brings me to another very important point:

Be willing to take other people’s “cast offs”. Just because a child or children didn’t “work out” in another home doesn’t mean he, she, or they won’t work out in yours. Different parents have different styles and kids respond differently. Also, there is the very real possibility that it was the foster parents who didn’t “work out”.

Finally, pray. Pray a lot. Use that time between you and God and pray about why you are doing this. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a parent; I think that’s hardwired into us and not having children has often come up over the years with a feeling of regret. But, using the luxury we all have of the privacy of our own thoughts, be honest with yourself about what is motivating you. Your answer should make sense, and it should involve more than just you.

God has a heart for children, especially the fatherless, and if you are doing His will in this He will make it happen that you get the kids who need you; and who you need. He will also give you the strength and the wisdom you need to carry it through.

In less than three weeks, on January 22, 2013, we will become the proud parents of three kids. If it can happen for us, it can happen for you.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS