Interested In Adoption? There Are Children to Chose by Barbara
Although I was only six years old, I can still vividly remember the
large brick building with the black and white tile floor. The little boy
stood in the center of the room, and my heart went out to him. He seemed
so lost. His big brown eyes looked at us with disbelief and fear. On his
head he wore a little cap and he was dressed in shorts, a jacket, and knee
socks. Although he was five years old, he looked like a three-year-old.
An insufficient orphanage diet will do that to a child.
We walked over to him, and my mother took his hand from Sister Julie's.
We all walked out to the car, my mother, father, and I, and my newly adopted
brother. He was leaving the orphanage for the last time.
During the many years which have passed since that day, a similar scene
has been re-enacted six different times for me. When my husband and I discovered
we could not have children, we adopted six, now ranging in age from 38
to 55. Two came to us as small babies; one at a year of age; one at 10
years of age; one at 4 years of age, and the last at eleven years of age.
There are three boys and three girls, and despite the usual family problems,
they have been a constant joy to us. It seemed as though when the youngest
started school we just had to have another one to fill the gap!
It is a well-known fact that for years there have been fewer and fewer
babies available for adoption. There are, however, many older children
under the care of the state adoption agencies in most states who are waiting
for a "forever family". These children are available to persons whether
they have children or not. And it is becoming more prevalent for single
people to adopt. Siblings of all ages are also waiting.
The investigative process by the agencies is usually straight forward.
Often a series of group meetings led by a social worker cover the general
adoption process. These are followed by more meetings with the couple or
single person alone, so they can state the age and sex of the child they
prefer. A home study then follows. Prospective parents are usually unnecessarily
nervous about this step as they feel they are on trial. This is a misconception.
Agencies, in fact, are today generally more lenient than they were in the
It usually takes many months to complete the total investigation. Following
its completion, the person or couple may receive the exciting news at any
time. They often see the child for the first time where the child does
not know he is being observed. We saw our oldest daughter for the first
time in a restaurant when she sat at a table next to ours, accompanied
by a social worker. We saw our youngest son on television in one of those
"Thursday's child" episodes. Although the child is often prepared somewhat
for eventual adoption, once the adopting persons show their approval of
the child, the social worker talks to the child in earnest. Older children
are often also allowed to express their opinion.
The next step is for the adopting parents to see the child in a series
of visits. The first lasts a couple of hours, and the social worker comes
along. The child comes for a visit, then overnight, then for a weekend
or longer. When everyone feels comfortable in the situation, then the child
is placed for good. This procedure, however, sometimes varies with different
agencies. Some of our children were placed for good at the initial meeting.
After the child is placed in the home, he or she can be legally adopted
after months or a year, unless the court is backlogged. The court procedure
is very simple, and afterwards the adopting persons receive an amended
birth certificate of the child showing the adopting parents as the natural
By the way, the little boy who left the orphanage with me and my parents
so many years ago is now a retired Senior Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air
Force with children and grandchildre of his own. In his own way, although
he did not know it then, he was the inspiration in my husband's and my
giving six children a home, children who otherwise may never have known
us or each other. Such are the joys of adoption.
About the Author
Ms. Adams is a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines, and books.
She has six adopted children. If you have questions about adoption you
would like answered by those who have "been there, done that", go to Adoption