We weren't looking to adopt another child. We were busy with five kids already when we were invited to an adoption fair. As experienced adoptive parents, perhaps we could offer encouragement to others. Hoping that we could help, we accepted the invitation.
The adoption fair was a cookout or picnic event where adoptable foster kids and prospective adoptive parents were brought together in a casual atmosphere. It was very well attended with maybe a couple hundred people.
There were all kinds of kids there, many hoping to to be matched with a forever family. Several kids we encountered sounded like sales people telling us about themselves. It was obvious they wanted to be selected. It is kind of sad to remember them.
We were introduced to some adoption hopefuls too. These were adults who were interested in adoption and perhaps unsure if it was for them. They asked us about our experience, often intrigued with how we came to adopt such young children. It seems that most people want to adopt a baby. The older children are often left out because younger children are preferred.
With no intention to meet any children for ourselves, both Jill and I found ourselves drawn to a teenage boy with an energetic outgoing personality. He didn't try to sell us on himself. Suddenly, we found ourselves curious about him. His name was Johnny.
We asked our case worker about Johnny and got as much info as we could. Then, after praying about it, we expressed interest in meeting him. We were interested in the possibility of adopting Johnny.
Eventually, this led to overnight visits where Johnny came to our home and met our kids. We had him over a few weekends and took him camping. It seemed like a fit, so we started talking adoption.
Johnny agreed to the adoption. Everything looked like it was a "go". The weekend came and I went to pick up Johnny at his foster home. On the way to our house, I told Johnny, "Once a Brasfield, always a Brasfield." That means when we didn't want to go into this with the idea that we were some kind of extended foster home. I told him we didn't mind if he re-connected with his birth family after he turned eighteen, but he would be a part of our family for life. The talk was intentional.
After that talk, Johnny revealed that he was not interested in such a life-long commitment. He planned to re-unite with his birth family and didn't want to be adopted.
Through this, we learned that each child has their own needs. Communication, especially with teenage foster kids, is very important.
There are many avenues to pursue adoption. Our adoptions were all through the Tn Dept of Children's Services. Jill and I wish that all foster kids could find a forever family. If you are interested in adoption but don't know where to start, then look here: www.adoptuskids.org.
The young man, Nathan, pictured above, is one of the many foster kids who want to be adopted.
Feel free to contact us, too. We love to help.
This is post # 33 of Forty Days. Learn more here.