Did you know that our biggest adoption month each year is National Adoption Month (November)?
On November 18th, 2015 (National Adoption Day) alone, we had six children (all girls) finalize their adoptions! We had one additional adoption at the end of November, making a total of seven total children and teens adopted during the month of November.
In 2015, 32 children and teens throughout Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties were either matched with a family, or finalized their adoption with a family they were matched with!
Black widow, Spider Girl and the man of the day, Thor. We wanted his day to be special. After all, you only get adopted once, and it's a super big deal. So, we let them put on their costumes because superhero costumes, rather than fancy clothes, represent our children and their personalities. All three of them share characteristics that every superhero has, from their extraordinary powers and abilities to courage, being energetic and bravery.
As I sit here thinking of life and what our family has become over the past couple of years, I have a mix of emotions. If anyone knows me, they know how much I love my kids, but there is more to the story than most know.
Over the past eight years of working in the field of social work, specifically in adoptions through the state, I have learned a lot about the world's varying views about adoption. When I tell people that I’m an Adoption Specialist, they automatically think that I’m finding "forever homes" for infants whose parents made the decision to give them up for adoption. I have yet to meet a person who initially thought that I might have played a hand in many successful adoptions of teenagers, sibling groups, children with lifelong medical needs, etc. So I take every encounter with someone who is curious about my profession as an opportunity to educate about the type of adoptions I help to facilitate and continue to spread the word about the need for quality forever adoptive homes for our teens, sibling groups, etc., as well as the need for temporary foster parents for these very same children.
My family was blessed with Shania six years ago. We loved her from the moment we saw her. She has three brothers, including a twin! Being the ONLY girl in a house full of boys is not easy. One of Shania’s best qualities is her incredibly strong spirit. Her no-fear attitude led her to not only enter her 5th grade speech competition, but come in 2nd place for the entire county! She is now in her middle school's law program. We are so proud of her and so blessed to call her out daughter.
Here is the beautiful speech she wrote specially about adoption, based on her personal experience of being adopted:
You hear time and time again, "Adoption is forever." It is very true that adoption is forever. It is also very true that adoption can impact the lives of an entire family in a very powerful and positive way. In the midst of all the positives about adoption, the truth that adoption can be challenging and have “bumps in the road” years after the adoption finalized is very real.
Take a moment and think back to what life was like when you were a teen. What do you think would have happened to you if you had no place to call home, nobody to help you fill out job applications, nobody to be there to plan a high school graduation party, help you get ready for prom, practice driving, etc.? Even as adults, many of you probably turned to your parents for something whether it was for advice, tips on how to do something, somewhere to go for the holidays, or a good home cooked meal.
This story is written from the perspective of a local adoptive family regarding their journey of their second adoption through public adoption. We thank this family wholeheartedly for sharing this beautiful story!
When Cebien Alty’s wife, Joy-Lynn, brought up the subject of becoming foster parents, as her biological mother had been during her adolescent years, his quick reply was a resounding “NO!" He wanted to focus on having children of their own and was quite honestly worried about the "type" of children in the foster care system.
Heartland for Children is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families in our community through the integrated efforts of governmental and community partnerships.