Those older child grants are pretty amazing. The funds were pooled for the older children to allow the grant money to help any older child with special needs listed on Reece's Rainbow have available funding. It is already harder to find families for older kids, and having funds available to help families who feel prepared to adopt these kids is a huge help! Right now there are 15 remaining older child grants for children with special needs other than Down syndrome. If you would like to donate to that older child grant fund you can click on the donate button on their page HERE. There are also 50 remaining older child grants for children with Down syndrome. You can donate to that fund by clicking on the donate button on their page HERE.
Before I talk about today's aging out kids, I am going to talk about one of the realities of older child adoption. All of the aging out kids we post here are older kids.
An older child trying to adjust to a new and different place can exhibit behaviors described in one of today's profiles. Those behaviors that are described are not unique to older kids. I have heard just as many stories about 3 year olds with these reactions. Probably more, because more 3 year olds are adopted. Some of these things are the risks of adoption.
The harder part is to decide if you can do these same difficult behaviors from a teenager that you could with a 3 year old. A temper tantrum from a 3 year old is different from the same temper tantrum from a 13 year old. This can be SO hard. I have said before, one of our kids came home the size of an 8 year old. He was my size within a year. He didn't understand how much he had grown. He really didn't.
A child can have very different, much more difficult behaviors when they are in a new environment. It can require time to adjust or it can require more than that. It isn't always easy. I feel like our kids have been easy, but I often find that I had different expectations going into our adoption than other people. I do want to say that all kids are tremendously worth it, even when it is hard. It takes more than love, and that is no one's fault. Not the kids. Not the parents.
No matter what age you adopt, you have a good chance of bringing home a child who is grieving and wants to tear the world apart because they just don't understand it. It is new and it is scary. Love is scary! Being safe can be scary for kids who haven't had that. It is new. A new place, with new sounds and smells, a new language, new people, everything. With a 3 year old you have time. You have time to teach.Your child has time to learn to express and process all of that deep grief. You have time for a child to move toward healing. You could have the ability to pick that child up and move them, even if there is kicking and screaming!
It makes things so much easier to decide ahead of time what you can handle and what you will do in different situations. Talk with your family and talk with your social worker. If this behavior happens, what will your response be? What about that behavior? Make plans, even if you never need them. Hopefully you won't! But you will be prepared if you do. I highly recommend doing this whether you are adopting older kids or younger ones.
There are no guarantees. A child's reactions in one environment are not the same that you will see in a different environment. And this goes both ways! For better or worse!
I have seen kids who gave as good as they got in an orphanage environment come into other families with consistent behavioral expectations, and have zero problems ever! For some of our kids, they were WILD in the orphanage. Feral, didn't listen, had never been made to listen! Even with the best caregivers, a caregiver isn't going to care as much as a mother if a kid is picking on or bullying another. A caregiver can't correct every single behavior while watching thirty other kids with varying special needs. A mother can. A father can.
One of our kids was into everything. Mini blinds destroyed out of curiosity. Light switches flipped on and off. Closing each and every door out of nervous anxiety. Pressing the button on the smoke detector because it had a flashing light, then being a bit shocked by the noise it made! Touching, touching, touching all the things. There hadn't been so many things to touch before! A family was a hard mix of freedom and boundaries to figure out for a child who spent his life in an institution. Our kids did learn though! They are still learning!
Adoption is worth it. Older child adoption is worth it. We considered all of the possibilities with all of our kids. We made plans. We made sure we were prepared, but we didn't panic. Some of the best advice for parenting and life that I have heard is to make decisions from a place of calm rather than fear. That is what we try our best to do.
Now the kids! Both of these girls will need their adoptions completed before they turn 14. Their country is open to single mothers and older parents! They do require parents to be over 30, but they have waivers available for almost all of their other requirements. There is time for a family to start the process from scratch right now and bring these girls home in time. An in-process family could also add them to an adoption! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Jennie http://reecesrainbow.org/57164/jennie adoption must be completed by August 2017
Jennie's profile is so short. It says she has Down syndrome and malnutrition. Her last update what when she was 8. It says she is walking but not talking, 7 years ago. That is it. That is her whole profile.
This picture of Jennie took my breath away when I first saw it. She reminds me of another girl, a girl who lived in the bedridden ward with our kids. (Side note, as I am sure you all know, there is NO reason for kids with Down syndrome to be confined to cribs. NONE.) The other girl was listed as Velia. She was transferred with Lee and the others, and then thankfully adopted. She is in an amazing family now, learning to walk and explore and experience everything she missed.
Jennie can already walk. Is she talking yet? I don't know. 7 years is a long time. A friend of mine posted photos of two younger girls with Down syndrome in the same country as Jennie. The girls were tied to their chairs to keep them contained all day. (Please pray with me that they will be listed for adoption soon!) Is Jennie tied to a chair? Does she still stay in a crib like the one she was photographed in? I can dream that she has been spending her time in a foster family, but I would expect her file would have more recent updates if she had.
Here is another fact about adoption in Jennie's country. It takes money and energy and paperwork to list kids for adoption. A lot of orphanages don't list kids because they don't see them having a chance to be adopted. They don't want to throw that money away. That is why the little girls my friend posted weren't automatically listed for adoption. They needed to PROVE their likelihood of being adopted. They needed prove their worth. It is heartbreaking. They are worthy. Every child is.
Someone, at some point, saw Jennie's worth. Someone worked to get her listed, even though we don't have an update on her. I want a family to come and show that her being listed was not throwing money away. That it wasn't a waste to list her for adoption. That it isn't a waste for little girls tied to chairs to be given the chance for a family. They all deserve a chance for a family and a real life.
Jennie is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant. You can visit her profile HERE or email email@example.com for more information.
Evelyn http://reecesrainbow.org/65630/evelyn adoption must be completed by August 2017
Evelyn has developmental delays. Evelyn has two descriptions in her profile. The first is from the center where she has been living. The second is a report from her being hosted in America. I am thankful for the second report especially, because I would write something much different based on the first description alone.
Her second description talks about the time she spent with a family in America during a hosting trip. It was not an easy time for her or her family. She cried, had extreme tantrums, and was very demanding. The last part is not too unusual for "favorites" in the orphanage system. Kids belong in families. Institutional care is so hard on kids, even the ones who are "favored" over the others. It was recommended that she needs a patient and experienced family who is familiar with older child trauma and possible attachment issues. Evelyn still deserves a chance to have a family.
Both of the descriptions can be found at her profile HERE. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Evelyn is eligible for a $10,000 older child grant to assist with adoption expenses.
Last thing. I don't usually include our own info on these posts. I like to focus on the kids! I am making an exception right now. We travel in 10 days to bring home 4 kids. One of them aged out 10 months ago. We are currently $11,617 short of being fully funded. We have two matching grants right now. We will receive $1000 when our account reads $24,149. We will receive $2500 when our account reads $27,649. Those two grants will get us within about $5000 of being fully funded. Our family is ready and willing to do the amazing, hard, incredible work of adopting older kids all over again. If you would like to help us, tax deductible donations can be made HERE.