Many Different Walks of Life… All Leading to Adoption
Nurse, Teacher, Veterinarian, Waiter, Electrician, Painter…what do all these career paths have in common? They all belong to individuals who have chosen to complete their family through adoption. Our adoptive families come from all walks of life and ages. They are hairdressers in their 30’s, mechanics in their 40’s and nurses in their 50’s. Some of them have two parents and some have one. But all the families that step up to welcome our children “home” (whether that be through adoption, guardianship, or kinship care), bring a diversity of strengths and assets to their parenting style thanks to their unique and varied professional fields.
As I begin the transition out of the role of Family Developer, I find myself reflecting on the families I had the privilege of knowing at the beginning of their journey with adoption. I was able to get to know our families’ backgrounds, experiences and skills that make them not only the right “fit,” but truly a gift to our children and youth. As one of their first contacts with the agency, I often encountered the fear, spoken or thought by nearly every parent out there, “What if I’m not good enough, what if I’m not the perfect parent?” I told my families then, and I’m telling you readers right now, there are no perfect parents, but there are very good ones, and they already carry the skills and experiences to make them the best thing that’s ever happened in that child’s life.
The traits that our families possess are empathy, patience, helpfulness, caring, and nurturing…but they are also SO much more. Through their wide variety of backgrounds, each of our families bring a unique ability to build that fundamental relationship with a child and go from “Nurse” or “Veterinarian” at work to “Dad” or “Mom” at home. The parent who works with their hands can teach a child how to build something and demonstrate to them that they are capable. The person who cares for others can teach a child the importance of empathy and understanding. The person who teaches, can show a child the value of life-long learning and guide them in exploring the beauty of the world around them.
In my new position as Permanency Coordinator, I now have the opportunity to understand our children and the kind of family they need for a thriving and nurturing home. I say with confidence that thanks to the diversity of our families, our kids are learning how to navigate the world with some truly gifted teachers.
-Written by Erin Somers