(This blog is based on what was on the Alabama Department of Human Resources official website and the blogger’s personal opinions on what is reported there.)
There are 106 children and/or sibling groups in the State of Alabama, over the age of 8 who need forever families. Some of them are very close to aging out of the foster care system and this means they will most likely not have family support as they make their first steps into independent adulthood. If I check back on the DHR website in a year, most of those faces will still be there, a few will be very blessed and be adopted (I pray), some will have aged out, but for the majority they will just move up in the progression of foster care and waiting.
There are many avenues to adoption in our country. In the State of Alabama one of those avenues is through DHR. How quickly an adoption can take place through DHR is going to be partly up to you as an adopting parent and your first decision is what age child are you willing to adopt. Many people want to adopt babies or young toddlers. I understand that, it is difficult when a child remembers their biological family/parent(s). The older a child is often the more physical, emotional or mental scarring or damage is likely to have occurred, making their needs more intense.
There are some very big advantages to adopting an older child or children. One is you can spend less time waiting for a child become ready to be adopted. The process of a parents rights being terminated takes time, it can be a very long process. Two, you are adopting a child or a sibling group, who statistically would most likely stay on a “waiting for adoption” list. Three, you are reinforcing hope in the heart of children whose hope is fragile. Four, you are being a huge part of the healing process for a child who has before known hurt, anger, neglect and a powerlessness from the people they’ve depended on for the opposite.
Advantages to adopting a child, or children, with special needs are special too. In Alabama children are special needs must meet certain criteria: they are generally in good health, over the age of 8, have a background of parental abuse, mental illness or mental retardation, children with various degrees of mental, physical or emotional problems, are members of sibling groups of 3 or more who need to be placed together. Going through DHR to adopt means that DHR charges no fees for the adoption home study and that includes 30 hours of training, nor for the placement of the children in adoptive homes. Expenses are generally limited to costs of criminal and medical histories on each household member. Whether or not the adopting families are expected to pay court costs was not mentioned.
Personally I cannot and will not begin to tell you what anyone of these 106 children/sibling groups is feeling. I can imagine though. Can you?