Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Happens To Teens That Are Not Adopted?

When most people think about adoption, they imagine a young child, possible a baby, that they could welcome into their home and life. They envision all the things that could be enjoyed with that child as the child grew up, not unlike the similar thoughts that parents have when giving birth to a child. But when I think of adoption, my heart aches for those children in their teens who also do not have a permanent family, teens who in a very short time will be pushed out of the foster care system and into an often cruel world.

Parenting an adopted teen is not easy. But heck, parenting a birth teen isn't easy either. In both cases though, the rewards can definitely outweigh the challenges. I've highlighted below a message from the adoption agency I worked with for my children. Please take a moment to put yourself in Carrie's place and imagine how you would feel. Then please use those feelings to help you decide if you could help a teen in foster care.

"This is the story of Carrie, a hypothetical 17 year old girl in Virginia’s foster care system. Carrie has been in the foster care system since she was 9 years old. Her biological father is in jail and her biological mother suffers from a mental health disorder. Carrie has been in 4 foster homes. In a few months, Carrie turns 18 and though she is available for adoption, she has not been adopted. What will happen to Carrie when she turns 18?

Carrie, while hypothetical, represents the nearly 1,300 children available for adoption in Virginia’s foster care system. Without permanent connections and a family, children who age out of the foster care system are at an increased risk of pregnancy, jail, homelessness and drug use. Knowing that, would you consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent to a child or teen in the foster care system.

“November is National Adoption Month and we want to highlight the great need for parents to adopt or even foster a teenager in the foster care system,” said Greg Peters, CEO of UMFS, the agency that assisted me with the adoption of my children. “Studies have shown that with permanent connections and families, teenagers in foster care are more likely to be successful, contributing members of society once they reach adulthood.”

Becoming a foster or adoptive parent begins with a phone call to UMFS or the agency of your choice. All agencies will provide in-depth training to foster and adoptive parents and continued support as well as access to a social worker 24/7."

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