Guest Blogger - Kara Curfman The Other Side of Adoption

My Guest Blogger today is one of my fellow co-workers, fellow adoptive Mom, fellow foster Mom, fellow crazy Mom and a great friend Kara Curfman.

The "OTHER" Side of Foster/Adoption...What No One Talks About... Part 1

     The word foster care and separately the word adoption bring up many varying emotions depending on the person and the background they have or the information they have "heard" said about either of those terms.  Foster care often has negative views.  "Those people just do it for the money", "I knew someone once who had a kid come at them with a knife", "Why would anyone want to take on other people's problems?"  Don't act like you haven't heard them or even thought them.  What about the news?  There is always a story about a "bad" foster parent.  Of course, keep in mind, the news loves controversy and they really love a "bad" story. It will always make the front page.   The later article containing the corrections to the story totally changing the situation and people involved, rarely get more than a few lines.  What those articles also don't tell you is that often these "foster homes" aren't actually foster homes, as in licensed and working with an agency, they are "kinship" homes, meaning the kids are placed with family.  As you have heard, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and in many cases that is true here.  This is not to say that there aren't foster homes who are not loving homes, but let's just remember that we don't always know the full story.  Really all we need to know is that foster families need prayer and lots of it.  They deal with challenging children and take on way more risks with children who have seen and/or experienced trauma of some kind.

     Adoption seems to have a more positive view in most cases.  

Seeing a family rescuing the poor orphan from poverty and despair and then seeing them smiling with new clothes and clean faces and grateful hearts is what we all want to see.

Ahem....if that is how you envision it, please step back and take another look, a deeper look, a longer look inside the lives of those families and children, both foster as well as adoptive. This look should open your eyes and your hearts to these families and children in a totally different way.  Life can be hard and battles can be long. You can shrug your shoulders and say, "well, they got themselves into this" or you can walk beside them in this journey and have a part of the heart of Jesus in caring for the orphan.  You don't have to adopt to "look after orphans.  It is reported that for a successful adoption, the adopting family needs 3 families to come along side them to support them through the process.  I would say this is true for foster families as well. Wow! To quote the African proverb,  "It takes a village", really? Really!

Let's go over a few myths about adoption.

1. The younger you get them, the better in terms of trauma and adjusting.  FALSE

This really depends on the "trauma".  If the bio mom was in crisis her entire pregnancy, on drugs and/or needing mental health help or even had a difficult birth, the child is born in crisis mode.  That little brain will continue trying to tune into that crisis.  Taking the child from that situation and giving her/him stability does not change the brain.  These children can have a harder time than a child who has had a somewhat stable life until a later age.  All of these findings can be read in any Dr, Karyn Purvis material or on her website Empowered to Connect.

2. Love is enough.  If you show them love and give them stability, all will be well. FALSE

Do not get me wrong, I am not mentioning the miracles of Jesus and there are many in the lives of these families, BUT just in general, love is NOT enough. These kids in most cases need WAY more than that, and I am not talking about a fabulously decorated room, toys galore and the best food and clothing money can buy.  I am talking, day in and day out learning and devoting time to the care that YOUR particular child needs.  This takes some serious research on these unique kids and how their brain is wired.  I'll give you a hint, "it's not parenting like you THINK you know".  It's parenting on steroids.  It's parenting from a vastly different place than you have ever read or heard or thought you knew.  Trust me, dear friend.  Been there, done than and have the wrinkles and gray hair to prove it.  Consistent discipline and love are needed, but they are only the beginning, directly after prayer.

3. Give them time and they will mold perfectly into your family. FALSE
It will take more than time.  It will take work and work and work.  It can push you to the brink of sanity unless you already live there...wink wink.

     Going out in public with these unique kids can be a challenge.  I am NOT trying to scare anyone, but I am not going to hide the tough parts either.  Some kids WILL adjust well forever, and some only for a time shocking you several years later when it all begins to fall apart and you wonder what happened, some will struggle from day one and wear you completely out daily.

Let me also tell you, dear friend, you are NOT alone.  There is a mom crying in her closet right now because she doesn't know what to do and can't share this with her friends because she doesn't want to hear, "I told you so".

  • This is the stuff of God! 
  •  This is the stuff of deep fervent prayer. 
  •  This is the all abiding love of Christ.  
  • This is the heart of Jesus.  
  • "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." 
  • James 1:27.

  •  Read it again.....S.l.o.w.l.y.  "Pure and faultless".  Wow.  "Keep oneself from being polluted by the world".  I think God is REALLY saying something here.  We can't take this lightly.  Dig in.  Get dirty, Get hurt, Fall down.  Now get on your knees or your face before your Savior and let him know where you are.  Give it all to him.  Then get up and face the heart of Jesus.