Don’t fall for the myths about foster care, adoption

By July 7, 2011July 18th, 2017General, Portraits

July 07. 2011

The Spectrum/ Cedar City Daily News

 

By Amy Bates

Foster/Adoptive Mother

The night before my first-born was scheduled to come into the world, I could not sleep. This was not only because our little “bundle of joy” decided to stick his foot into my rib, but I was just so excited by the thought of becoming his mother.

Here I am, years later, in much the same situation. As I write this article, it is the eve of our 16-year-old son being adopted into our family, and I find myself once again full of the kind of anticipation that does not allow my eyes to close.

Although there are similarities with this addition and our first one, there are some major differences. For one thing, this son will come to us pretty much grown, which is a good thing when you consider the difficulties that giving birth to a 5-foot tall, 80-pound boy might pose. Some might think a soon-to-be mother would be less than ecstatic when thinking about missing out on the baby stage and skipping right to the teen-age part, but not this mom. I am thrilled that most of that is behind me.

Since I have started writing for The Spectrum & Daily News, I have written about adoption and foster care as many times as they will let me. It is a vital part of who I am and a subject that I do not think gets enough attention. Children are suffering, and all of us need to step up and help those who need it most. I could spend my time quoting facts to you about the number of children who are waiting, how long they have to wait, or even the dire predictions made for children who “age out” of the system, but I am not sure that would motivate people to look at what they could do to help. I think it is only when we look at individual cases and hear their stories that we put a face on this heart-wrenching problem.

I know there is a lot of misinformation and fear when it comes to adopting from foster care. I think the top fear would be that the kids all have problems, something “wrong” with them. Yes, many of them do have struggles. I will let you in on a secret: All children have challenges, even those not in the “system.” Yes, there are some significant issues these children face, but none of them are insurmountable.

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Another fallacy is that you can’t be a foster parent unless you are a saint or a perfect parent. Well, my children will be first in line to dispel that myth. I am not a super hero, and the good thing is no one is looking for one. As one profound ad put it, “They need ordinary people to do something extraordinary.”

The need is real for people to get involved and change the life of a child. Not everyone can do that by adopting, but everyone can do something to help these beautiful children find their forever homes. As I look at the ticking clock move closer and closer to our court appointment, my thoughts center on pretty much the same things as they did when our first son was born.

“I am so lucky that I get to be this kid’s mom. I really hope I can do right by him; and I already love him so much.” In the end, the way children enter into your family is not nearly as important as the fact that they do.

Amy Bates is a resident of Cedar City and a member of The Spectrum & Daily News Writers Group. She can be reached at bates4ever@hotmail.com.