One of the biggest benefits of financial freedom is the ability to spend more time helping other people. Although writing about building wealth is useful and donating money is good, adopting or fostering a child reaches a next level of kindness.
Today’s post is from Jillian at Montana Money Adventures. She has adopted not one, but four foster children. People like Jillian are an inspiration. I hope her story helps you better understand the foster care system. I was going to write a post about what I learned at a foster care training seminar I attended, but Jillian’s post is so much better.
On my very first date with my husband, I mustered the courage to ask him the one question that would be a deal breaker. “How do you feel about adoption?” His answer was encouraging, so I took a deep breath and asked one more question, “How would you feel about adopting from foster care?”
It might not seem like first date kind of conversation, but I’ve never been one to waste time. I was passionate about being a family for kids who desperately needed one, and any future spouse needed to share that passion. Three years later we adopted our oldest son, a teenager from foster care.
The need for foster/adoptive parents is enormous. There are currently over 100,000 children in foster care available for adoption and waiting for a family to step forward. Over 20,000 of those kids will “age-out” of foster care each year, never finding a forever family, and will go into adulthood alone. They are often ill prepared and lacking the support needed to flourish as adults.
The need for foster care adoption is growing rapidly due to increased methamphetamine use across the US. 10 years ago, most kids removed from their biological families were school aged kids. It was in school that teachers would notice the abuse and neglect. Now more babies are born addicted to meth.
The threshold for removing a child is extremely demanding (unlike 20-30 years ago), but meth addicted babies aren’t able to go home with their birth parents. Because meth is extremely addictive, and drug rehab resources scarce, many of those parents don’t sober up in order to be the parents their children need.
Over the last twelve years we have adopted twice from foster care. Our oldest son, Micah, we adopted when he was twelve. Then two years ago we adopted a sibling group of three kiddos. The two groups of kids who struggle the most to find families are older kids and sibling groups. Those are the kids that pulled on my heart the most. The kids that everyone had passed over, and might not get another chance for an awesome family. (I will use the term “family” but that doesn’t mean a married wife and husband. Any adult willing to come alongside these kids is “family,” and the states won’t discriminate based on age, marital status, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. And “awesome” doesn’t mean perfect!)
There are some common misconceptions when it comes to adopting from foster care. After adopting four kids from the foster care system, speaking to foster-adoptive groups, and my husband’s former work of licensing adoptive families for hard to adopt kids, these are the most frequent concerns we have heard.