Every child is made by two parents, whether they come to know and like those people or not.
Within this two parent rule, implies that every child has access to a family, yet that is sadly not the case for all children.
Due to a multitude of differing circumstances, some children find themselves without a family to love and take care of them. They are then reliant upon the care agencies or perhaps extended family members to find them a suitable loving environment which they can call home; with the those who take care of them, people that they can refer to as family.
Despite adoption becoming a slightly easier process in recent times, it is still slow and at times litigious. Gradually over time, the system is becoming more aware of the basic facts – that children are better off in a loving environment than in the care system – whether the family offering to take in that young person are the same skin colour or not, whether they have children already or if the offer of a loving home comes from a single person or a couple who are are straight or gay. Thank goodness we have started to see sense a little more and realise that the only option for a child seeking to become adopted isn’t the modern day equivalent of ‘The Waltons.’
There still remains difficulties in finding suitable families of children who are older. It is a preference for many adopters to take in a child who is young enough to shape and influence as they grow and develop in maturity. It poses more of a challenge when the child is older and has already been imprinted upon. They have perhaps already developed a values and beliefs system (which may or may not be a good fit with the rest of the adopting family) they have memories – some of which might be traumatic, and they may even be resentful of their circumstances or the idea of being adopted. For many potential adopters who see these circumstances as unappealing, they may indeed develop a preference to adopt a younger child instead of one who is older.
Given all of these factors, it’s important to remember that just as adults can change, so can children and young people.
Moving to a brand new family will of course come with its difficulties at times. Even as an adult integrating into a new group can be tricky – have you ever got a new job, got married or some other experience where you had to learn the ways of a new bunch of people and make a decision about whether or not you’d make the effort to fit in? Whether or not you could fit in, even if you did make the effort?
As the family or parent of that young person, the most important thing is that you do, and feel completely self assured that you are doing your absolute best to be fair and inclusive. That you are patient and give them the, time to learn your ways and to feel comfortable with you.
Now of course there is every chance that later on down the line they might tell you that they never did feel as if they really connected, or belonged there – there is always a risk. But if you can know in your mind that even if that were to happen, that you can honestly say it was still the right thing to do – to give them that opportunity to grow and learn from you and that you will remain there for them regardless, with the door open to them and always welcome them as if they were your own, then you can know that it always was the right decision to offer your home to a young person who might not of otherwise had one.
If you, the reader or this article, had been in a situation as a young person where god forbid you had found yourself left to fend for yourself without a family in an out of date care system or a loving but albeit temporary foster home, wouldn’t you have wanted to have found the secure, loving home or and familiar face of someone just like you?
By Gemma Bailey