Nobody’s Perfect, and That’s a Wonderful Thing
A reflection on the myth of the foster-adoptive family for National Adoption Awareness Month
November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to shatter one of the most pervasive myths about foster care adoption.
Most people who decide to pursue foster-adoption learn early on that they will be required to participate in something called an “adoptive home study.” The home study is simply an assessment of the family’s readiness to welcome a foster child into the home with the intention of giving the child a forever family.
But the home study can also strike fear into a prospective adoptive parent’s heart, causing them to wonder:
Is my income high enough?
Is my house clean enough?
Do I have to be married?
Am I expected to be an expert parent?
Will I measure up?
In short, do I have to be perfect?
The answer is NO.
Foster-adoptive families these days are more “Modern Family” than “Ozzie and Harriet.” The main qualifications for foster-adoption are stability, the motivation to help a child who needs a home, joy in the process of parenting and a healthy support network. Foster-adoptive parents are about as diverse as the children who are available for adoption. They are married couples of any sexual orientation, single moms, single dads. They are renters, disabled people, working parents and stay-at-home parents.
More often than not, they are human beings who have experienced struggles and challenges that will allow them to relate to the struggles and challenges foster children face. Through those struggles, these parents have developed coping skills that have made them strong and will help them help their children.
So if you’re contemplating foster-adoption but are fearful that “only perfect parents need apply,” relax! The qualities that make you a unique person are likely to be just the very characteristics that a child out there needs in a healing home. In the world of foster-adoption, perfection is overrated. Ordinary humanity is highly valued. You can find out more by making an inquiry to Sierra Forever Families.
Speaking of waiting children, November is National Adoption Awareness Month, celebrated annually since 1990. During November, agencies like Sierra Forever Families ramp up their efforts to increase the number of families willing to consider foster-adoption and celebrate the joys of creating families.
Events take place nationwide almost every single day of November to call attention to the more than 100,000 children in foster care who need permanent homes. In Sacramento, a powerful event takes place today, November 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To humanize statistics about foster care, representatives of adoption agencies gather on the North Steps of the state Capitol and read the names of the thousands of California children who are waiting for permanent homes. Hearing the names of real children reminds us of the need for families—families that are loving and permanent, but not necessarily perfect.
Written by Joyce Miller, LCSW