Tuesday, February 02, 2010
I have another email that I have permission to post for your guidance and wisdom!
I just stumbled onto your blog today, although I guess "stumbling" isn't quite accurate because I was doing an internet search on "adopting teenagers" and your blog naturally fell into that category. I hope you don't mind me asking for some advice.
I'm 50 y.o., my husband is 54, we have two daughters ages 23 and 18, the oldest graduated college last year and is living in another state and the youngest just started college and is close by. To my surprise I did not suffer from empty nest syndrome as I expected to. In fact, I found that I enjoy having the house to myself when I get home from work, cooking just one dinner instead of something for my husband (who is trying to lose weight) and something else for my daughter (who would like something more substanial, please...) starting some new hobbies and having the freedome to travel...well, you probably get the picture.
Then, somehow, I started reading about the foster kids who are awaiting adoption (I don't even remember how it started) and soon became fixated on the idea of taking one of these kids into our family. I finally got up the nerve to broach the subject with my husband this weekend and he wasn't quite as freaked out by the idea as I thought he might be, but I'm not sure at this point that he will ever be able to commit to it.
Anyway, what I'd like is someone with experience to answer some questions since I don't feel like I can start even the beginning process (where I might get those answers from the adoption professionals) until/unless my husband comes on board. Also, I've found posting questions on message boards on a topic with which one is unfamiliar, puts you in the bullseye for often harsh criticism from people "in the know".
First, these are my reasons for wanting to do this:
1) There are kids who will never have a family unless someone adopts them, and providing a family is something I feel we have the resources to do
2) I like teenagers! I know, it surprised me, but i found that to be my favorite parenting age. I liked my own kids and I liked their friends and I feel like I could do "just one more".
3) I think it would be nice for my girls to have a brother; as the youngest of 5 girls I always kind of wished I'd had a brother.
4) It's a good thing to do; whether it turned out as rewarding and fun as my fantasies, or was more difficult than I expected, I don't think I could ever say it was a bad idea...unless, I suppose, if things went horribly tragically wrong.
Here are my questions:
1) Is it OK to be choosy? I feel guilty even asking that, or running through the mental list of what I would ask for if being choosy, but realistically I would want the one child who would fit most perfectly in our family and who could best benefit from what we could offer.
For one thing, I think I would like a boy; ideally 14-16; and for reasons I can't even figure out myself (we are white) I am more drawn to the African-American kids whose profiles I have seen. I don't think we would be the best fit for kids with serious mental or emotional issues, but think we could be great for that kid who just needs a supportive family and has the motivation and desire to work toward his future. A kid who wants to go to college would be best, only because we have the means and knowledge to assist him with that, but I wouldn't rule out a kid who has the desire to learn a trade or enter the military. A kid who would be willing to move to another state, and while I would not have a problem supporting his ties to a birth or foster family, it would be better if those ties were not so strong as to prevent him becoming bonded to our family or require frequent in-person visits.
Is that a lot to ask? Am I being unrealistic and/or naive? Will I be drummed out of an adoption agency if I go in with those kinds of restrictions?
Anyway, I appreciate you at least reading this, it gave me something to do with all of these thoughts while I wait for my husband to think about this. If you have any answers or advice, it would be greatly appreciated.