Interested In Adoption? There Are Children to Chose by Barbara Adams
Although I was only six years old, I can still vividly remember the large brick building with the black and white tile floor. The little boy stood in the center of the room, and my heart went out to him. He seemed so lost. His big brown eyes looked at us with disbelief and fear. On his head he wore a little cap and he was dressed in shorts, a jacket, and knee socks. Although he was five years old, he looked like a three-year-old. An insufficient orphanage diet will do that to a child.
We walked over to him, and my mother took his hand from Sister Julie’s. We all walked out to the car, my mother, father, and I, and my newly adopted brother. He was leaving the orphanage for the last time.
During the many years which have passed since that day, a similar scene has been re-enacted six different times for me. When my husband and I discovered we could not have children, we adopted six, now ranging in age from 38 to 55. Two came to us as small babies; one at a year of age; one at 10 years of age; one at 4 years of age, and the last at eleven years of age. There are three boys and three girls, and despite the usual family problems, they have been a constant joy to us. It seemed as though when the youngest started school we just had to have another one to fill the gap!
It is a well-known fact that for years there have been fewer and fewer babies available for adoption. There are, however, many older children under the care of the state adoption agencies in most states who are waiting for a “forever family”. These children are available to persons whether they have children or not. And it is becoming more prevalent for single people to adopt. Siblings of all ages are also waiting.
The investigative process by the agencies is usually straight forward. Often a series of group meetings led by a social worker cover the general adoption process. These are followed by more meetings with the couple or single person alone, so they can state the age and sex of the child they prefer. A home study then follows. Prospective parents are usually unnecessarily nervous about this step as they feel they are on trial. This is a misconception. Agencies, in fact, are today generally more lenient than they were in the past.
It usually takes many months to complete the total investigation. Following its completion, the person or couple may receive the exciting news at any time. They often see the child for the first time where the child does not know he is being observed. We saw our oldest daughter for the first time in a restaurant when she sat at a table next to ours, accompanied by a social worker. We saw our youngest son on television in one of those “Thursday’s child” episodes. Although the child is often prepared somewhat for eventual adoption, once the adopting persons show their approval of the child, the social worker talks to the child in earnest. Older children are often also allowed to express their opinion.
The next step is for the adopting parents to see the child in a series of visits. The first lasts a couple of hours, and the social worker comes along. The child comes for a visit, then overnight, then for a weekend or longer. When everyone feels comfortable in the situation, then the child is placed for good. This procedure, however, sometimes varies with different agencies. Some of our children were placed for good at the initial meeting. After the child is placed in the home, he or she can be legally adopted after months or a year, unless the court is backlogged. The court procedure is very simple, and afterwards the adopting persons receive an amended birth certificate of the child showing the adopting parents as the natural parents.
By the way, the little boy who left the orphanage with me and my parents so many years ago is now a retired Senior Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force with children and grandchildre of his own. In his own way, although he did not know it then, he was the inspiration in my husband’s and my giving six children a home, children who otherwise may never have known us or each other. Such are the joys of adoption.
About the Author
Ms. Adams is a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines, and books. She has six adopted children. If you have questions about adoption you would like answered by those who have “been there, done that”, go to Adoption Companion