Vital Resources for Struggling Adoptive and Foster Families

The current edition of Adoption Today magazine carries an article that begins:

Adoptive and foster parents often express what most any parent says at least once in their parenting journey:  it’s both the hardest and most meaningful thing I’ve ever done. 

There is no more significant or sacred task than nurturing young souls.  Yet many of us have received more training to drive a car than raise a child.   And most of us who have the privilege of filling this role feel we need quality counsel, guidance and information—sometimes desperately.

The article goes on to highlight many of the best resources out there for foster and adoptive parent.  Most all of these experts will be teaching at the CAFO2014 Summit in the “Help for Adoptive & Foster Families” track and the “Attachment:  The Heart of Connection” intensive taught by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Deborah Gray.

The article explains:

For parents who’ve welcomed in children from difficult places, this need is often especially acute.   The simple truth is that every unparented child’s journey as an orphan or in foster care began with tragedy.  Usually it gets worse from there.

So when we welcome these precious children into our hearts and lives, we inevitably taste some of that tragedy too.  This takes many forms, from learning challenges and developmental delays to difficulties in bonding.  At times, the struggle parents face amidst this journey can be deep—perhaps almost as profound as the pain and loss our children have experienced themselves.

This reality tends to be amplified when children are adopted or fostered at an older age.    They’ve had more years to be hurt, and have grown more years without essential nurture, than children adopted at younger ages

A high percentage of adoptions today, both local and domestic, meet this description.  The average age of children adopted from foster care in 2012 was 6.3 years.   In 2012, more than 30 percent of international adoptions to the U.S. were of children age five or older.

In addition, a high percentage of children adopted today have special needs.  Strong anecdotal and historical evidence suggests that never before have so many children with special needs been embraced through adoption.  The nation’s largest adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services, reported that 57 percent of all of its adoption placements in 2012 were of children with special needs.  When counting only international adoptions, the percentage with special needs was nearly 80 percent.

You can read the article here:  Vital Resources for Struggling Adoptive and Foster Families.   You may also want to consider subscribing to Adoption Today magazine for the full edition.  Of course, we’d also encourage you to join us at CAFO2014!

We believe it will help you greatly – whether as an adoptive parent, foster parent, mentor or church supporting those who are.

As the article concludes:

All of this makes adoption and foster care a truly dynamic realm today.  It pulsates with beauty and struggle, challenges and renewal.  Perhaps more than at any other time in history, unparented children with great needs are finding loving homes.  But, also at unprecedented levels, many parents struggle greatly with how to best nurture the tender souls entrusted to their care.

The answer to this dynamism and struggle lies not in parents alone.  Rather, there is a role for all of us to play, each with our own gifts, from volunteer babysitting and yard care, to financial support with medical bills, to formal counseling.  The full story of this era is yet to be written.  Together, we can make an era rich with challenges one that is every bit as rich in thriving children and families.