January is National Mentor Month so now is a great time to learn about the CONNECT Mentor Program and why it matters! The CONNECT Mentor Program is aimed at pairing adults who spent time in foster care or who were adopted with teens adopted through our older child adoption program, Project Wait No Longer. The goal is for our teens to build strong relationships within their communities with mentors who can relate to their experiences.
Children enter the foster care system for various reasons, but one thing remains the same...how that makes them feel.Entering the foster care system greatly impacts children's self-worth and self-image as they are constantly filled by internal feelings of unworthiness, not being loved, feeling forgotten and scared because of their ever changing circumstances.
Transitioning to a new family, new home, is overwhelming for anyone, let alone for a child with a trauma history. It's important for teachers to be aware not only of potential triggers but how to address behaviors in the classroom in an educated and trauma informed way. Parents have the opportunity to be strong advocates for their children in the classroom, as teachers are not always aware of the special needs that can arise with older child adoption.
Currently there are 400,000 children in foster care, with 100,000 of those kids waiting to be adopted. A majority of the children waiting are age 10 and over. When a child reaches the age of 10, they are about 50% less likely to be adopted. Luckily, for this 18 year old in California, he finally has a family to call his own. Below is the story of Carson, who entered the Peterson's home at age 15, and after 15 years in the foster system was adopted into the Petersen family.
With back to school right around the corner, it's important for parents to be armed with the skills to address issues surrounding bullying. No matter how amazing kids are, the reality is that 1in 4 children are bullied during their school age years. Children who are bullied can experience an increase in depression, anxiety, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and more that can persist into adulthood.
Older child adoption is a wonderful thing. Currently there are over 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of teens in care will age out of the foster system without finding a stable, loving family. In 2015 alone, 20,787 teens and young adults aged out of the foster system without a family on which to rely. Outcomes for youth who age out of care are not positive:
Everyone knows that parents with an infant need as much social support as possible. A new study has found that parents of teens also need as much social support as those with newborns. In particular, if you are parenting an adopted older child, supports are essential to solidifying a bond with your teen. Below is an article from NPR detailing the findings of this study.
Anyone who works in child welfare or has fostered/adopted from the child welfare system knows that an overwhelming percentage of children in foster care are diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, children in foster care are three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. While it has become a common diagnosis, researchers and clinicians have recently begun to study the relationship between ADHD symptoms and trauma.
The Barker Adoption Foundation welcomes adoption applications from couples and individuals of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, and all sexual orientations and gender expressions.
The Barker Adoption Foundation, with offices in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. is a nonprofit adoption agency. We support birth parents and their families, as well as adoptive parents and adoptees with lifelong adoption-related services.