I’ve heard it many times. Does this system really work? Will we really be able to adopt? I'm often told stories about people who wanted to adopt but it never happened. So, is there truth to these fearful questions? Yes there is…for some.  But to understand this, we must take a look at the family’s requirements for a child.  Are they asking for a child up to 3 without any potential for health or developmental concerns?  Those two parameters alone - age and development- often do not sync accurately for children in foster care. Meaning, the younger a child is, the less we know about their developmental potential.  So, a child under 3 may have signs of developmental delays but, then again, many children under 3 appear to be lagging behind and catch up when they are a bit older. So, then, would it be more realistic if a family's requested age range was increased to say, 6 or 7, and then we paired it with no potential for health or developmental concerns?  Well, it’s better because by this age, usually the  child’s natural abilities have developed more, so we can more clearly identify a child’s needs, but not completely. You see, the stress and trauma as a result of the child’s life experiences may be interfering with optimal development.  So, we really won’t have a better idea of the child’s longer term needs until he has been living in a supportive and safe environment for quite a while. That is, until the child perceives it to be permanent.That's because it is only at this time that the child will be able to focus on skill development instead of being concerned about personal safety. Ok, now what about the part of no potential for any possibility for development concerns?  We usually have some birth parent health history including the birth mother's behaviour during pregnancy, but let’s face it; this is often subjective information that is simply being reported by the birth parents. 

So, now we get back to the question: Does this system really work?

Listen folks, the decision to adopt is done with a leap of faith. When considering adopting a particular child, you must ask yourself if you feel a connection with the child; even if it's just a picture that you begin with. Then look for the positives about the child. What milestones is he meeting? What about great characteristics? Does she try to accomplish tasks? Is she motivated to learn? Has there been documented improvement since coming into care?  After answering those questions, ask yourself how motivated you are to love a child. How much you want to be the centre of a child’s world. Are you up for the hard work of parenting a hurt child? Will you go running to your child when he screams out during the night and ultimately needs to sleep on your floor or bed? Are you prepared to calm her down when she is scared because she is too frequently reminded of being left alone? Being hungry? Being hurt?

Adoption: it’s not for everyone. You can walk away and say that the system doesn't work or you can face the tasks at hand,knowing this is a beautiful way to build your family.