Monday, March 22, 2010

An Older Child Adoption Story

At the JCICS Conference a 22 year old boy spoke who had been through the foster care system in the U.S. His story was quite moving and I wanted to share a few of the points that made it so. Perhaps it will help those of you who are adopting older children to understand some of where they're coming from.

After living with his biological mother and younger brother until he was three years old, protecting his younger brother and caring for him, he and his brother were moved to a foster home. The foster parents were able to handle his well behaved younger brother, but not him, as he had taken the brunt of the abuse and acted out. His younger brother was adopted by the couple and he was bounced from home to home. Finally he was put in a home of a couple who wanted to adopt him. He still acted out, as he had been abandoned so many times he didn't believe they would keep him ultimately. His parents took the time to get to know him and find out what he really liked. One of his biggest interests was hockey. So when he would act out and need to express his feelings of pain from his past, his mom would put on hockey goalie pads and tell him to hit her until he felt better. Finally they got it across to him that no matter how "bad" he acted, they would not leave him. He is now 22 years old, has a college degree(after being told he would not even graduate from high school) , speaks around the country and is writing a book. So to those of you who may be struggling--stick with it! It will be hard, but it will change the child's life.


  1. thank you for sharing this as we are adopting our 12 yr old daughter this summer. I can only hope to have the wisdom that this mom had to "connect" with her son in good and bad times!

  2. "Finally they got it across to him that no matter how "bad" he acted, they would not leave him."
    Wow, I just told our 14 year old son this same thing this morning! We brought him home from China 5 months ago, and he is seeking negative responses from us. Recently I taught him the concept of 'from beginning to end,' and I used that to illustrate that's how our family is. It's something we will need to repeat, but at least I think we're finally on track!