Sunday, November 15, 2015

For The Love Of A Cousin: An Adoption Story #NAM15

I was compensated for this post, the views and opinions expressed here are my own. 
Did you know November is National Adoption Month? In honor of #NAM15 it's my pleasure to share my own experience with adoption and why it's so dear to my heart.

If you ask me about my childhood I would have to say I had an amazing one. If you asked me what made my childhood amazing I would say it was my family. If you asked me about some of my best memories they would most likely have to include my cousins. Because my memory isn't the best on details I can't remember if I was five or six when we got the news that my aunt and uncle were adopting. All I can remember was the emphatic joy that swept over my sister and I as we instantly started plotting all the fun we would have with our new family members. Cousins. It's such a small word but when I read or say it out loud my heart swells with the love I feel for them.
I'll never forget when we met our new cousins for the first time. Before we were scheduled for introductions my sister and I discussed who would play with who. We knew they were adopting a boy and a girl, my sister instantly claimed the boy would be her new best friend which was fine with me, the girl would be my new partner in crime. It was true for the longest time. Pictured above I'm on the left and my cousin on the right. I have no idea what we're carrying in the box, but you can be sure we were having a great time! Today, I owe so many of my best memories to adoption. I can't imagine our family without my cousins.

Every child no matter their age needs to have some great cousin stories to remember! Did you know? There are 415,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and 108,000 are waiting to be adopted. AdoptUSKids’ maintains a national photo listing service for children waiting to be adopted. Since the project launched in 2002, more than 25,000 children who were once photo listed on adoptuskids.org have been adopted and nearly 38,000 families have registered to adopt through the website.  Nevertheless, older youth are disproportionately represented – approximately 41 percent of children and youth photo listed on adoptuskids.org are between 15 and 18 years old, but only 17 percent of those adopted have been in this age group.

Some of the Misperceptions about Adoption from Foster Care: 

  • Adoption is expensive.  Unlike the private adoption of an infant or adopting internationally, there are virtually no costs associated with adoption from the US child welfare system. In addition, the vast majority of youth adopted from foster care are also eligible for monthly adoption assistance up to the level of the foster care rate. 
  • You have to be married. You do not have to be married to adopt in most states. Many children have been very successfully adopted by single parents. Single-parent families accounted for 29 percent of all adoptions from foster care in 2014 (AFCARS). 
  • You have to have a college degree. Having a high school diploma or college education is not required. What is important is that you are stable, flexible, and compassionate, and that you have a good sense of humor. Most importantly, you must have the support and commitment to raise a child and to be there for him throughout his life. 
  • You have to own a home and each child has to have their own room. You can rent your home or live in an apartment or a mobile home so long as your living situation is a stable one. 
  • You have to be of child-bearing age to adopt. Experienced parents and empty-nesters are encouraged to adopt. In most instances, you’re eligible to adopt regardless of age, income, marital status or sexual orientation.  
  • You can only adopt a child who is the same race and ethnicity as you. Federal law prohibits the delay or denial of an adoptive placement based on the race or ethnicity of a child in U.S. foster care and the prospective parent or parents who are seeking to adopt them. The only exception to this law is the adoption of Native American children where special considerations apply.  
  • You can’t adopt if you’re in the military. Military families stationed overseas and within the U.S. are eligible to adopt children from the U.S. foster care system.  
For more information about adoption, or about becoming an adoptive parent to a child from foster care, please visit www.adoptuskids.org or visit the campaign’s communities on Facebook and Twitter.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you. You are an amazing person and family. Adoptions are important. Children - all children and all people - need a home and love. Thank you for this post. For breaking through the myths and fears of adoption and to just get people talking.

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  2. Thank you for clearing up these common misconceptions!! I think most people don't want to go through the process with risk of heartbreak!!

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  3. I hope your cousins are celebrating this month.

    slehan at juno dot com

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  4. Thank you for all the information. I had no idea about some of those rules.
    Your family sounds very nice.

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  5. I had a good time growing up with cousins. Very fun.

    slehan at juno dot com

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