Thursday, November 4, 2010

PRIDE Goeth Before the Fall

Once I made the decision to contact UMFS and sign up for their adoption training, I started to get a little apprehensive. At that point, I still had no idea what adoption was really like. I was the parent of a toddler, but I didn’t have a lot of parenting experience.

When I showed up for my first class and was introduced to the other participants, I realized that most of us were in the same boat. We liked the idea of adoption, but none of us really understood what would be involved. Since some of the participants had no children, I felt a little better with my limited parenting experience. But I was a tad overconfident. My meager amount of parenting experience was not going to prepare me for what I started learning in those classes.

Our instructor was a no-nonsense, tell it like it is kind of guy. He didn’t pull any punches. I don’t think he intentionally set out to shock us or test us, but that is exactly what happened.

We heard about children who set fires, who hurt animals, who hurt themselves. We heard about children who had been sexually abused – children the same age as my toddler son. We heard about children who had been hurt so many times in so many ways that their mission in life was to hurt their prospective family before they themselves could be hurt again. We heard about teenagers who had been in dozens of foster homes and who were now in residential ‘schools’. We learned what CPS stands for (child protective services), and we were told that our home studies would consist of police background checks. In short, we were scared out of our minds.

So why did none of us leave that night and never come to another class?

I was there, and I continued with the classes because I felt that was where I was intended to be at that point in my life. I felt as if there was a reward waiting for me at the end of this journey, and as difficult as it was to hear the instructor’s stories, the lure of that reward kept me coming back.

And I am eternally grateful that I did - more tomorrow…

(When I completed my first adoption training, the foster care trainees and the adoption trainees took separate classes. Now, 15 years later, everyone takes the same training, and most states are using the same curriculum – PRIDE training.

Here is some more information about PRIDE training, provided by a West Virginia organization.)

The child pictured above is named Matthew. I have met Matthew and for years have wanted to bring him home with me. That hasn't worked out, but I am hoping that he will soon find his forever family. Here is a little more about Matthew:

Matthew is a sweet boy who is eager to join a family. Matthew experiences the world differently than other children. Matthew is responsive to nurturing touch. He enjoys toys that make music and playing in water. Matthew especially likes it when someone stays with him until he falls asleep. Matthew likes to carry items with certain textures with him to provide him with soothing and security. He is currently 16 years old. Matthew needs parents who have experience with children who have special needs or can be trained on how to best meet his developmental needs. He is waiting for a family who can celebrate each one of his successes.

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