Saturday, March 25, 2017

Post-Adoption Depression: You Are Not Alone

Post-Adoption Depression: You Are Not Alone

Recently I was speaking with another adoptive mom who was asking questions about adoption post-partum depression. It’s a taboo topic that is not often discussed in or outside adoption circles. Why, you may ask? Well because adoption is all unicorns and rainbows of course, where adoptive parents should be thankful to have been blessed with a child and be feeling nothing but joyous, happy, elated, and fulfilled in their new role as mother.


Yes, some of this is true. Adopting a child you feel SO many of these emotions including joy, happiness and thankfulness. But the reality is, many (though not all) also experience a much more painful side to adoption, a side that can be debilitating, isolating and excruciating, yet without many of the supports available to other parents. Many adoptive parents feel they can’t open up about their struggles because of the responses they so often receive. Here is a look at some of the VERY common feelings many adoptive parents walk through, and a reminder that you are not alone!


Many adoptive parents feel isolated. An adoptive parent has to navigate so many challenges and those who have not adopted usually don’t understand. If I turned to my friend and asked what to do every time my child screamed “You’re not my real mother,” I would get a lot of blank stares and uncomfortable silence stints.  Trying to discuss openness can be met with unkind and ignorant remarks, and sharing the joy of passing some seemingly insignificant step in the adoption process can make us look like madwomen. It is not common to take photos of envelopes, but adoptive moms can all vouch for that photo they took of their completed dossier all packaged and ready to go! Many adoptive parents find they can no longer relate to their regular mom friends, and more often than I care to share, many find themselves cut off from extended family members who either don’t understand, or have a skewed understanding of everything that accompanies adoption. Moms find themselves alone, with no one to talk to, and often struggling with many concerns, questions, and even joys, they feel they cannot share with anyone.


I wish this was just a myth or misunderstanding, but the harsh reality is that adoptive mothers are judged. Constantly. Adopting often shoves an adoptive family into a fish bowl where anyone and everyone feel the need to comment. Comments like “If you don’t have the money to pay for the adoption, you shouldn’t be adopting at all.” “Your child seems to really be misbehaving; maybe you’re not parenting them properly.” “You already have three children, why would you need anymore?” “You don’t love your children the same why I love my biological children.” “Your family is not suitable to attend this evet.” Another very common judgment is that adoptive parents coddle their children or are too lenient on how they approach parenting. The truth is, 9/10 adoptive parents would likely parent VERY differently if they were parenting children through birth. In adoption, however, children are often coming from places of trauma, neglect, abuse and possibly have special needs; parenting these kiddos HAS to be approached differently. You could put a child on a time-out 100 times, and it might do nothing for a child who doesn’t understand cause and effect. A child who lived their primary years in an orphanage may find a simple movie like “Annie” a trigger to their past life, and many typical parenting approaches can send children through adoption into meltdowns or regression if used inappropriately.


Parenting children through adoption is hard. Really hard. Due to their traumatic history, which even newborns experience due to the separation from their birth mother, many children struggle through regular daily activities. The simple task of waking a child up in the morning may include high pitched screams, flailing, and refusal to cooperate with tasks like getting dressed or eating breakfast. Food can become a nightmare with children who over eat, hide food, store food, refuse food, or can’t handle food. Many children have appointments with counselors, speech pathologists, school resource workers, social workers, extended family members, specialists, cultural workers and more.  A simple family tree school assignment may send a child over the edge and a child who has no impulse control may swear at you repeatedly, despite being a family who never swears. Many children manage to hold their struggles in ALL DAY while at school, trying to make it through, only to release EVERY OUNCE of their struggle the second they get home. Who receives that? The parent. The safe place. Parenting a child through adoption can be physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually exhausting, leaving parents feeling overwhelmed as they try to manage through a single day at a time.


One of the saddest experiences I see adoptive parents go through is the struggle to not be able to seek help. More times than I can count adoptive parents have told me how they have vented to a friend or family member about some struggle they are experiencing, or asked for help during a challenging time, only to hear such comments as “You asked for this.” “What did you expect?” “You brought this on yourself.” “You knew what you were getting into.” As if any of these comments can somehow negate the pain or challenges that a parent is going through! Last I checked, every single mother I know who has NOT ADOPTED, has told me about challenging times in their life…marriages on the rocks, children exhausting them to no end, family members causing trouble…and in all of these conversations over the years I can’t ever recall saying “Well you chose to be married” or “You chose to have children” or “You chose to have parents and siblings – GOOD LUCK.” You would never say that. Regardless of what place a person is in, and regardless of what choices have been made, adoptive parents have struggles just like anyone else, and want to be able to ask for help without being judged or shut down. Adoptive parents want to be heard and supported without any reference to the choice they made to adopt. All adoptive parents know going into the process that it is going to be hard. It isn’t until you are in it that you realize it is the HARDEST THING YOU WILL EVER DO. Despite this, we still want support, understanding, and a listening ear, just like any other human being struggling with something.

Many adoptive parents are also not able to ask for help due to fear.  Although giving birth is also a choice, many people view adoption as the ultimate choice, and therefore you must be ready to be the most amazing, perfect, life altering parent known to mankind. Many adoptive parents still have to undergo post-adoption assessments by social workers for months or even years after their child is brought home, other adoptive parents double as foster parents who are constantly scrutinized on their parenting decisions, and many adoptive parents hope to adopt again, meaning their entire parenting past and current approach will come into question. If you say you went to a counselor to discuss depression, social workers may see this as a sign that you are not coping well with adoption. If you ask for support with children, social workers may view you as unable to manage that many children. If you take medication to improve your mood, you may be seen as a parent with mental health issues who must wait a minimum of one year before they can apply to adopt again. If you express fears of the process, or bonding and attachment, you are viewed as not suitable to move forward. The very livelihood as mothers is put in jeopardy if adoptive parents share that they are struggling and not perfect. If your house isn’t Oprah-ready, you must have too much on your plate. If your children don’t look like they are ready for their Gap commercial, you must not be doing it right. Adoptive parents walk through their life led by fear, terrified that one wrong move could mean the loss of a child or ability to not have more children in the future. The choice to build their family is not their own and is driven by the notion that they must be perfect at all times.


Adoptive parents also feel sadness. While adoption is truly such a beautiful thing, it is accompanied so often with such sadness for the child. Adoptive parents might feel sadness their child can never meet their biological mother because they have passed away. They might feel sadness that a biological mother is not legally allowed to see their child ever again. Many times adoptive parents feel sad their kids are outsiders or struggling socially, whether due to special needs, racial differences, trauma related behaviors or language barriers. Adoptive parents feel sad…heartbroken, the first time their child says “You’re not my real mom” and sadness when their child asks “Why didn’t my real mom want me?” Sometimes the sadness is so great just from knowing what a small child has endured on the very few years they have been on this earth; things that no human being should ever have to endure. In adoption, sadness is often nearby.


Many movies portray adoption as an adoptive mother walking into a room, meeting their child for the first time, and instantly loving them more than life itself. In many cases, this is exactly how it plays out. For some, it is a much slower, more gradual process. Forming an attachment with a child can often take weeks, months or a year before that child may truly feel like yours. The older a child is, often the longer it takes. The great thing about adoption is that it is still easy to love on that child from day one. But PLEASE don’t feel guilt or inadequacy if you don’t love your child as your own from the very first meeting. It is common and normal to take time bonding with a child, and the amazing thing is, IT WILL HAPPEN! Hang in there and know you are doing a great job!


This post is not to bring a negative light to adoption or to scare anyone away from making this choice. One thing most adoptive parents CAN agree upon is that adoption is a beautiful, amazing, life changing experience. I have done it numerous times and would do it numerous times more. What this post IS supposed to do, is reminde those of you that HAVE adopted, that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. So many adoptive parents feel guilt and inadequacy, isolated, sad, judged, and unable to ask for help. I want you to remember though, that THIS. IS. NORMAL. The day my life was changed as an adoptive parent was the day I started an adoption support group. If you are struggling, find other adoptive parents out there to relate to, whether it be a facebook group, in-person support group, or a few close friends, find them now. If you can’t find one, start one.  Having others who can relate and understand will make all the difference in the world, and knowing that it is normal can be all you need to pull up your sleeves and jump back in that ring for round two. Adoption may have its ups and downs but YOU’VE GOT THIS!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Request for Funding

We have been busy at Home for Every Child these past few months, and are excited to be moving forward with many new programs and initiatives to help support adoptive and foster families so that they feel equipped to care for the fatherless.

Below you will find an exciting new list of the programs we would like to see implemented this coming year. Since we are a non-profit and rely on fundraisers, grants and donations, we would love to ask for your support in this new endeavor. Below you will find a list of all our new programs, with a cost next to it outlining how much it will cost us to run the program for one year. We would love to see individuals and company's take a step in funding an individual program or a portion of it. You have the opportunity to review each program and donate funds towards one you are passionate about. In order to make these new programs a success we are relying on your financial support to see them come to life! Tax receipts are provided, and funds will be allocated to the specific program.

Donations can be made by cheque to Home for Every Child Adoption Society 7069 197B St, Langley, BC V2Y 1R5 and write the program you wish it to go to on the bottom. You can also donate through our website and state the program name in the payment comment section. Alternatively you can contact us privately to arrange a credit card donation.

We also encourage anyone who is not able to donate to still review our new programs and see what exciting opportunities will arise in our near future!

Thank for for your continued support!

Home for Every Child Adoption Society Projected Programs 2015
Request for Funding
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Program                                                                                                                                      Cost

Attachment Parenting/Play Therapy                                                                                      $9,600
Based on the trainings of Gordon Neufeld, this service will provide play therapy counseling for children from hard place and support parents on their journey.

Adoption Parent Counseling                                                                                                  $14,600
Counseling services provided to parents who are in the process or have adopted children and require supports to navigate the new journey they face.

Key Worker                                                                                                                             $3,320
A support worker who comes alongside families that have adopted children with special needs. This worker will help advocate, refer for special funding, provide education, and provide support.

Immigration Worker                                                                                                               $5,000
This program will allow us to subsidize an immigration worker for 2 families a year based on need. The immigration process is extremely challenging and can affect a family’s ability to bring their child to Canada. This service will be vital in supporting special cases.

Telephone Support                                                                                                                  $5,380
Telephone support to answer questions and help navigate families thinking about adoption, those in the adoption process, and those who have already adopted and have questions around parenting, supports, and special needs. This is an essential feature for those people who do not live in the lower mainland.

Sibling Workshops                                                                                                                   $2,040
This is a quarterly workshop/fun day held for children who have siblings with special needs. Understanding and navigating a sibling can be challenging for children, and this will provide them an opportunity to connect and build relationships with other children walking the same journey. It will include fun activities, sharing opportunities, and lunch.

Counseling for Kids                                                                                                                $11,300
This is an important service for children who have been adopted and may have experienced trauma, multiple moves, malnutrition, institutionalization, special needs and more.

Family Get Together                                                                                                               $1,760
This exciting event will occur 4 times a year and will be a fun day filled with activities and food and allow adoptive parents and children who are adopted get connected and build relationships.

Family Counseling                                                                                                                  $11,100
Counseling provided to families as they grow together as a new family unit or those who would benefit from extra support.

Multicultural Nights                                                                                                                    $880
This event will occur twice a year and will be a fun event to celebrate the many cultures our adopted children come from. It will include food and activities and will help children stay connected with their birth culture.

Financial Supports                                                                                                                  $12,560
This program will be an amalgamation of post-adoption assistance and extended health benefits. Our desire is to provide financial support to adoptive families for such things as assessments, special devices, speech therapy, tutoring, and more. Our goal for our first year will be to provide $1000/month.

Workshops                                                                                                                              $3,000
Workshops will be provided once a month and will cover topics such as the adoption process, the fostering process, special needs, openness, cultural training, transracial adoptions and more.

Info Sessions                                                                                                                               $420
Info sessions will be held three times a year and will share the urgent need for adoptive and foster families in Canada and worldwide and help change the current perspective on adoption.

Resource Library                                                                                                                     $4,000
Our up and coming resource library will be a key tool to support adoptive and foster families. We would like to purchases books, DVD’s and audio tapes on topics surrounding adoption, foster care and special needs.

Written Resources                                                                                                                  $1,500
We would like to develop written resources for adoptive and foster families. These will benefit families locally but also those outside our immediate area. Resources will cover a wide array of topics such as HIV Adoption, How to Choose a Country, Adoption vs. Foster Care, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and more.

Website Development                                                                                                               $600
We would like to develop our website to include international country requirements, Adoption and Foster Care FAQ, programs and more.

School Support Program                                                                                                         $1,400
This program will send a worker in to schools to support families with children who are adopted and/or have special needs. This can include presentations to students about disabilities, handouts to give to teachers, and training to teachers and other staff members on adoption related topics.

Starter’s Package                                                                                                                    $1,700
This will provide a printed and/or emailed package to provide to adoptive parents that outlines the process, fundraising ideas, lists of resources, birth registration and immigration information, and more.

Church Presentations                                                                                                              $1,400
This program will allow us to go into churchs, home groups, youth groups and more to share a version of our info session and God’s heart for adoption. This will provide advocacy on the need for foster and adoptive parents and help fuel the flame we hope to see across Canada for the fatherless!

School Presentations                                                                                                                   $800
This will be similar to our church presentations but will be tailored towards children, youth and university students in order to plant a seed and see hearts on fire from a young age.

Video                                                                                                                                       $5,000
This will allow us to develop a video detailing the need for adoptive and foster families and sharing the crisis of 30,000 children waiting in Canada and 20 million worldwide. A video will allow us to reach not only all of BC but also all of Canada.

Advertising                                                                                                                              $3,000
This will allow us to get our name more familiar with BC residents, will help advertise our services and will help share the message of the urgent need for adoptive and foster families.

Printer/Copier/Scanner                                                                                                                          $1,300
This will allow us to purchase a business printer and ink which will allow us to print our own materials.

Office Furniture                                                                                                                      $2000
This will help us purchase office furniture to house many of our new programs such as counseling, play therapy, and telephone support.

Shredder                                                                                                                                    $100
A vital business essential for shredding confidential documents.

Staff Training                                                                                                                          $3,500
This will allow us to have staff trained and up-to-date on current trends, diagnoses, and more. This will include attendance of training programs and conferences.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

We're back!!!

Hello everyone!
It has been a LONG time since we have posted on our blog. In fact, it looks like it has been 2 years to be exact. There is a good reason...I promise!

Roughly around that time I decided to go back to school to get my social work degree in order to move things along with our organization. Needless to say, homework, full-time schooling, and raising a family, has kept me very busy from attending to our blog. BUT, that doesn't mean we haven't been busy working on our organization. In fact, it is the exact opposite.

Over the past couple of years we have been working hard to build our grassroots organization into something strong. Something great. Something that adoptive and foster parents NEED! We have still been working tirelessly at becoming a licensed adoption agency, but that is now out of our hands. Now we wait to find out if our license will be approved and if we can finally make a new type of adoption agency.

But we want so much more.

If we do get licensed, and if we don't licensed, we want to support adoptive and foster families to the best of our ability. We want to offer services free of charge that will support and equip parents who have made this choice to raise children, often from hard places. Currently we offer phone support, support groups, info sessions, and workshops, in order to support families. We are working towards creating many new programs, such as counseling, play therapy, mentorship, immigration support, respite lists, private post-adoption assistance and more. We will lay out our services as we develop them, but know that we are working hard to create what you need.

How can you help?
Let us know what services you would like to see! What help you wish you had, or desire to have to move forward. Consider joining one of our committees, such as fundraising or education, and consider donating to help us reach our goals.

My goal is to include regular posts on here once again and we look forward to getting to know our community and how we can support you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

FREE IPAD Giveaway!!

Hey everyone! We are doing a fundraiser on our personal blog to win a FREE IPAD!! Please check it out today and help us bring home our next child!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Sanctity of Life: Special Needs Adoptions

Human life is a divine creation in the image of God.  As Christians we all know this. We know how important life is and how much value it truly has. A popular verse reminds us of what God has taught:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

This verse has been a common verse to fall to when combatting the current issue of abortion. Many of us have taken the stand against abortion because of the sanctity of life of the unborn child. Currently however, 84%-91% of infants that are prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome end up aborted (Enouen). The horrific truth is that due to advanced medical testing, the modern trend is to not give birth to children with special needs. As Christians many of us take up this fight and stand against abortion.

Here is where it gets tricky though.  Amazingly, many women who are unprepared or unwilling to parent a child with special needs are still giving birth to their children. Lives are actually being saved! The result is that there are many children in foster care and orphanages with special needs. We fight all day for women to give birth to their special needs children, but end our fight there. I say to you today, we need to KEEP FIGHTING for the children once they are born! There are more than 30,000 children in Canada currently waiting to be adopted, the majority of them all with special needs.

Overseas there are millions of children with special needs YEARNING for a family to come and rescue them. Conditions overseas for these children are horrendous. They often spend their lives lying in cribs or “lying rooms,” never to be held or touched, wasting away in their own excrement. Some are left naked, to avoid a mess, sitting on cold cement floors, or potty’s for hours.  In Eastern Europe it is common for these children to be transferred to adult mental institutions by age 5, where no toys or stimulation is present.

The sanctity of life applies to unborn children for sure, but it ALSO applies to these tiny little souls after they are born as well, just waiting for a forever family to come and bring them home. The most common reason people do not adopt children with special needs is fear.  Education is vital and barriers must be broken, so that people willing and open to adoption can consider adopting a child with special needs. As an adoptive mother to three children with special needs I can say, God DOES give the strength and ability, even when we think we can’t! So please, consider adopting a child with special needs today!
James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bulgaria's Abandoned Children

A series of 9 videos portraying the horrible living conditions for children in care homes in Bulgaria. Extremely hard to watch, but important to know who these children are who so desperately need care and health services from people like us!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Together for Adoption Conference

In partnership with Abba Canada, Focus on the Family and Above and Beyond Orphan Ministry we are excited to bring Together for Adoption Canada, a Canada-wide adoption conference, to Gracepoint Church in Surrey, May 11-12, 2012! Speakers include Russell Moore (author of Adopted for Life), Elizabeth Styffe (adoption advocate from Saddleback Church), Bryan Lorritts (pastor and adoption advocate) and Jason Kovacs (pastor, co-founder of Together for Adoption and director of ABBA Fund). There will also be a worship concert with Brian Doerksen on Friday Evening. This conference will promote, educate and further adoption in Canada. Please make every effort to join us for this weekend, you won’t be disappointed!

Register Now!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Forgotten Group - Teen Adoption

When you think of adoption, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Many people think immediately of infants straight from the hospital, others think of children living in orphanages overseas. One of the last things people think of however, is teenagers right here in our own backyard. Right now, however, there are 437 youth aged 12-18 registered for adoption in BC. Of that massive number, only 16 were adopted last year. SIXTEEN!  That works out to less than 4% of available teens. Those numbers shock me. How, in a province with so many people, so many Christians, were only 16 adopted?

In BC alone, there are more than 4000 youth in foster care. Many of the teens are children whom have been in foster care since they were young children, others entered in their teenage years. Many have gone through abuse, neglect, and multiple homes. What they haven’t experienced though, is permanency. The sad reality is that once any child in foster care turns 18, they are no longer considered part of the foster care system, and in essence age out. For many that means they are handed $800 and put on the streets, literally. Some foster parents continue to offer their teens homes, but many do not. Many have not even graduated high school yet find themselves homeless or couch surfing. A very high percentage of teens that age out of the foster care system find themselves homeless, pregnant, or abusing drugs and alcohol. In fact 78% of homeless youth are currently in or have been in foster care. These teens are twice as likely to end up on welfare, 4 times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy, and only 21% will actually graduate high school. The stats are astonishing.

After all this though, the trauma, the moves, the hopelessness, what do teens still want? A family. A forever family. Many people wonder why teens even need to be adopted since they are already almost living on their own. But they need love, just as God designed us to be. Otherwise who are they going to phone to announce their engagement? Who are they going to tell their children grandma and grandpa are? Who are they going to visit at Christmas and Easter? Despite their age, these teens are still just children, desperate for a family to call their own. Many of them are sibling groups, desperate to stay together, yearning to find someone to take them all. Many are also Christians, begging their social worker for a Christian family to adopt them. Yes, these are tiny souls, children of God, wanting to be in His presence, but where are we? Where are the lines of Christian adoptive parents eager to offer them their love?

I challenge you, to consider the adoption of a teenager today. No matter how old they are, they are all children of God, yearning to be a child to someone just like you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coming Together in Christ - For Charlotte!

Hi everyone! recently it has coming to my attention on the no greater joy mom blog that there is a family desperate for financial help! They are currently in the process of adopting a beautiful three year old girl with down syndrome from Eastern Europe. They leave in only 6 days, yet are still in need of thousands more! Adopting is challenging, and finances are definitely one of the biggest hurdles. I know if we come together as Christians to help support one another, we can achieve such great things and help children find their forever home! Please go and look at their blog, they have an online chip-in option on the right hand side. You can also read up on their journey and see such sweet pictures of their darling daughter!! Once you have donated you can also go and post on the no greater joy mom blog that you donated and be entered to win a $250 gift card!! Thanks for looking everyone, remember, one child at a time!

For more information on the adoption of Charlotte check out their blog here!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

We are now on facebook!

We now have a facebook page so come and like our page today to stay up-to-date on upcoming events, support groups, adoption stories and more!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Adoption Survey

Would you consider taking this short survey on adoption? Help us discover what people really think about adoption so that we might better serve our community! Thanks!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Adoption: A Global Crisis

Currently there are more than 147 million orphans in our world today. Many of them reside in orphanages, foster homes, in mental institutions or on the street, living in extreme poverty. Despite these frightening statistics for this often ignored and marginalized group, most people still view adoption as a secondary choice when facing infertility, rather than a “humanitarian activity” (Roby and Ife 662) as it once was. Unfortunately though, children who remain in institutional care end up facing severe and unhealthy problems or are adopted by infertile couples and are often viewed simply as a product that meets the needs of wealthy purchasers in foreign countries who dream of fantasy children (McKelvey and Stevens 17). Although there is widespread corruption and unhealthy practices surrounding adoption, the well-being of orphans and children in need should be viewed as a social problem involving proactive solutions from society as a whole, rather than a supply and demand baby business for infertile parents-to-be.

Wikipedia defines adoption as a “process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents.” Once someone has decided to adopt, a person has several options. One of the most polular choices and sometimes even considered “trendy,” is international adoption. In 2004 the US adopted 22,884 children through international routes (Browne and Chou 2008). The majority of children who are adopted internationally come from orphanages or foster homes, with the exception of the United States, where newborn babies can be adopted directly from their birth parents in the hospital. International adoption, however, is extremely pricey, ranging from $15,000 to more than $50,000 and can sometimes take several years to get through the entire process.

The next option available to adoptive parents is domestic adoption. Domestic adoption is when a person adopts a child from their local area through a private agency, and usually involves a parent looking for a healthy newborn. Costs average around $10,000 in Canada for a domestic adoption, and the waiting game can vary anywhere from a day to virtually forever, due to the fact that adoptive families must wait until a birth mother and/or father chooses them. This is one of the most common routes for parents facing infertility who choose adoption as their next choice for building a family. There is, however, a large pool of adoptive parents waiting to be matched and a small pool of healthy infants being born that are then placed for adoption. A large reason for this downward trend in domestic adoptions is the fact that there is a “widespread availability of contraceptives and abortions” (Roby and Ife 662), meaning far less children are being born to birth mothers who do not want or cannot keep their infant.

Beyond the popular international and domestic adoption options lies the adoption of children in the foster care system. In Canada these children are known as Canada’s Waiting Children. The majority of children available through this route are usually three years old or older (up to the age of eighteen) and usually have some sort of special need; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) ranking most common. These adoptions are free, with all costs covered by the government, and often include financal assistance afterwards; Known as post adoption assistance, help is provided for such things as speech therapy, special equiptment, specific assessments and supportive help. These adoptions are run through government agencies and operate on a matching system, reducing the waiting period for an adoptive family and child. Although this option is extremely accesible to the general public, it is one of the least utilized due to the special needs and traumatic pasts of the children in search of a home. Although FAS is one of the most prevelant special needs, they can also be included as special needs “because they are older, are members of a minority group, are members of a sibling group that must stay together or are in some way physically or mentally challenged” (McKelvey and Stevens 8). Special needs can also include infants that are drug exposed or HIV positive (8).

Where the problem lies in the adoption world is how many children are left unadopted and what ultimately becomes of them. Comparing the earlier statistic of
22, 884 children adopted internationally into the US in 2004 to that of the 147 million orphans in the world (including Canada and the US), the numbers just do not line up for children needing a forever family to children getting a forever family. Millions of children are instead left to be raised in foster homes or institutions such as orphanages, having a very poor quality of life.

In her report The Development of Romanian Orphanage Children Adopted to Canada, Elinor W. Ames conducted a “longitudinal study looking at children’s development over time” (2) from children adopted out of Romania in which 53% were adopted from orphanages, 33% from hospitals and 14% from private homes. She compared these numbers to “never institutionalized, non-adopted British Columbian children living with their birth parents” (5) as well as children who who had been adopted out of orphanages at an early age (under 4 months of institutionalization) and those who had spent at least 8 months in an institution (4). Of the children studied in Ames’s report coming from Romanian orphanages, “75% of adoptive parents reported that their cihldren did not have enough to eat in the orphanage and 56% reported that their children did not have enough to drink […] and children younger than 1 ½ or 2 years old spent 18-20 hours a day lying quietly in their cribs (15). She continued to reveal that:
There was little for them to look at, and next to nothing to hear. Ames (1990), after oberserving for five hours in one orphanage unit for 15 children between 9 and 24 months of age, reported that there was a maximum of three children making noise at any one time. Even though all the children were awake, there were periods as long as five minutes where there was no sound at all. (Ames 15)

Furthermore Ames explains that social interactions were minimal, with children uninterested in reaching eachother, and when a child did touch another child, no response occurred (15). Ames’s research shows that 78% of the Romanian children adopted that resided in an orphanage for at least 8 months were delayed in 4 areas of development including: fine motor, gross motor, personal-social and language (18). By contrast, of those that were adopted before the 4 month mark, only 4% were delayed (19). Ultimately “time spent in an orphanage was positively related to the number of areas of delay” (23) and the “number of serious problems they had” (100) as a Romanian adoptee.

Children locally in the foster system face equally horrible outcomes. Coming up against social workers who are underpaid and overworkered as well as a shrinking pool of foster families who are qualified to care for their special needs (Mckelvey and Stevens 35), obstacle after obstacle is placed before these innocent children. As well, adoptive homes open to these children, especially those with special needs or of a minority group, are in short supply (36). In Canada there are more than 30,000 children waiting to be adopted out of foster care, and many more in the system waiting in limbo. In America, those numbers are even higher, reaching 423,773 in 2009, with almost 60% of them being part of a minority group (Adoption 2011). What is even worse is that of those staggeringly high statistics in the US, only 13% of the children in foster care are available for adoption (39), the rest are “suspended in a legal limbo by parents who make little effort to regain their children, but refuse to relinquish them fully” (39).

Foster children undergo their own range of issues, similar to those in foreign orphanges. An estimated 375,000 children in the American foster system have been exposed to prenatal drugs and alcohol and pay the price with developmental delays and low IQ (39). Beyond development delays, children in foster care also undergo abuse. Ironically the very homes that are set up to protect these children from a dangerous homelife, can often hand out the same damaging abuse, both physically and sexually (41). In Michael Harris’s Unholy Orders, he brings to light the horrifying case at Mount Cashel, where boys in a Newfoundland Catholic orphanage were being sexually and physically abused by their priests. Inside the orphange walls children were “dangled by their heels from a third story window […] and made to walk around the dorm stark naked” (34) as well as forced to engage in sexual relations with priests (218).

This startling information leaves the realization that adoption (among a great many other things) is vital in rescuing these children from such diar situations and that children living in institutions and foster care should be viewed as a social problem rather than merely a secondary option in family growing. Roughly 15% of women find themselves infertile. These women “want children-they crave children-but cannot produce them on their own” (Spar 1). In her book The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception, Debora Spar reveals that in “2004 more than one million Americans underwent some form of fertility treatment, participating in what had become a nearly $3 billion industry” (3). Once a woman has “exhausted all other channels of child production” (160) many wander down the adoption route.

While there is nothing wrong with infertile couples choosing adoption, the problem arises when the only parents who are adopting are adoptive parents who are in the mind-set of purely building a family and wanting a healthy, normal child. This often “leads to a highly competitive market for healthy babies […] and domestic supply [is] not able to meet the demand in terms of quality or quantity” (Dickens 596-599). Demand for healthy infants can be so extreme that adoptive finders have been known to scour maternity wards offering cash to mothers (Roby and Ife 664). Of course there are healthy infants available for parents of this mind-set, however, since infertile couples looking for healthy infants make up the majority of parents in the adoption process, there are few people left to adopt the majority of children still waiting to be adopted: namely, the children with special needs.

The problem of waiting children, here in Canada, the US and around the world, needs to be addressed as a serious crisis. The astonishing 147 million orphans in our world today is a large number of children requiring homes and the much smaller percentage of infertile couples looking to adopt simply does not meet the current need. Governments need to step in and create a more accessible adoption process and increased education and awareness surrounding the need and addressing the two most common fears: finances and special needs.

One of the biggest hurdles families find when embarking on the adoption journey, in particular the international route is finances. With costs beginning around $15,000 and surpassing the $50,000 mark in some countries, many people feel they simply cannot afford to adopt. If governments covered the costs of international adoption, the same way they cover the costs of foster care adoption, more families would feel comfortable moving forward in the process. In addition, an increase in education on the various financial options currently available might ease some of the worry. Such options as grants, fundraising, adoption loans and tax credits are a few of the only options available to adoptive parents.

Education surrounding special needs is also extremely vital. Education would be best utilized if it was presented to high school and university students, the same way homelessness is currently being presented. Since this problem should be viewed as a social problem, it would not adequately address the problem if education was only directed towards those already in the adoption process. The goal would be to ultimately convince more people to adopt who had not previously considered it. Enlightening students as well as current prospective adoptive parents on the facts of special needs would give more people the confidence to move forward. Currently the average person knows very little about FAS, autism, severe trauma, cleft palates, or transracial child rearing. With the proper education, a well informed individual would know what to do and how to raise a child with such issues. Issues that may be challenging, but not impossible!

Once fears are broken down and education and government support is increased, only then can our society start to embark on a massive scale adoption plan, aimed at reaching out to the millions of children undergoing traumatic and unnecessary experiences in institutions and foster care around the world. The needy children of the world need to be viewed as a social problem, with adoption at the forefront of solutions and every day people leading the way. People need to alter their viewpoints, not seeing infertility as the only reason to adopt, and instead seeing a child, the future of our society, as the driving force behind any motivation to adopt.

Our first fundraiser!

We did it! We had our first ministry fundraiser! Our plan this year was to start an annual Christmas Carnival Fundraiser to raise money for Abba Canada. It took a lot of planning and hard work but I would partucularly like to thank naomi Stajcer, Lareina Guiel and Shelly Richards who all made the Carnival what it was. We had a few bumps a long the way but God provided throughout the entire process. We rented a bunch of out items, including the bouncy castles, from Angel's Events, and paid for everything through sponsorships. Near the end, however, we could not find a last sponsor for one of the bouncy castles. Angel's Events graciously donated the rental, as well as some popcorn and cotton candy for the event. Finally, the married couple who own the company, along with their two kids, donated their time on the day of the event. We couldn't have been more blesssed! While we did not have as many people as we had hoped, we learned so much this year to make next year and consecutive years a huge hit! In the end we managed to raise $3,426.96 for Abba Canada, which we are very excited about! Thank you so much to everyone who came out and helped make the Carnival so much fun, and the many volunteers, we couldn't have done it without you all!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More Than Adoption: Other Ways of Helping the Orphan!

It is no secret how passionate I am about adoption. I one-hundred percent believe that more people need to step up to adoption and give homes to the many children without families. However, I do know that it is not always possible. Not everyone is in a place to adopt. So what can you do to help the plight of the orphan outside of adoption?

First I will start out with the biggie: Fostering. Fostering is still a very large commitment. However, perhaps you can’t adopt for financial reasons, or time commitment. Fostering is a great alternative. The Ministry of Children and Families offers monthly financial support to all foster parents, so covering the needs of an additional member of the family never needs to be a burden. You can also take short-term placements. There are emergency homes, for children who are removed late at night and need homes immediately until a permanent foster home can be found. Additionally there is also Respite foster care, something great for short-term, or even to get an initial taste for fostering. Respite is where you provide temporary care, usually for the weekend, to other foster parents who need a break. You can set up permanent arrangements, taking the same child/children every other weekend, or have your name in a database for foster parents to draw from. It is a great alternative to adoption, as these children need loving homes before they come to find their forever families.

Another great option is child sponsorship. This is a great way to touch upon the 147 million orphans around the world. The sad reality surrounding that number is that not all of them are even up for adoption. In fact, very few of them are. Sponsorship is a great way to have the basic needs of these children met on an on-going basis. Sponsorships often allow these children to remain with their biological families, and other times sponsorships cover the cost of children in orphanages to receive clothing, education, food, and shelter. Most sponsorships run around roughly $30 a month. Many of us spend that much on Starbucks a month (if not more!) Wouldn’t it be great to know that money was directly improving the lives of God’s children? Most programs also provide photos and letters, so you can get to know your sponsor child on a deeper level. In fact, the Orphanage we would like to spotlight “Shadow of His Wings” (located in Guatemala) also provides the ability to meet your child! By volunteering at the Orphanage, you can see first hand the amazing opportunities these children are having, and how your money has affected their lives. The set-up of Shadow of His Wings is actually an amazing one. Rather than one large orphanage, there are several smaller “family unit,” houses inside of a duplex-like set-up. Each home consists of house parents (and often their own biological children) and then several children, about 10-12 (at the moment they are all girls). It’s an amazing set-up so that the children can grow up with both a mother figure AND father figure, and are presented with family dynamics, so that they too might be able to grow up and become healthy partners and parents themselves. For more information on sponsoring a child from Shadow of His Wings, please email Anna Lindberg at Daniel with one of the children currently available for sponsorship!

Another option, an especially great one for those people where money is tight, is mentoring. There is a great website that focuses on the importance of father figures, and gives great statistics on what happens when a father figure is missing. Go to to learn more! Not only are father’s needed, but mothers as well. The fact is, there are so many children right in our own back yards that have one or both parents missing in their lives. Programs such as big-brother or big-sister are great opportunities to mentor younger children and give them positive role-models. It doesn’t even have to be official. Perhaps you know a single mother, maybe you (male figure) could step in and take her children for outings, provide spiritual leadership, or just a friendly ear. Or maybe you know a single dad raising children on his own. Perhaps he has a daughter who needs a female figure to go to for advice, or needs a mother-figure for situations that might arise in her life. One goal “A Home for Every Child” has, is to initiate a foster child mentorship program, especially for those foster teens aging out of the system. The sad truth is that when a child turns 18, a foster parent’s pay cheque stops. Often that means teens that are still in high school are left to live on their own with no family. Although there are times when foster parents still stay connected with their foster children, it is not always the case. I would like to see a mentorship program where it acts almost like an adoptive family, but not officially. Perhaps the teen has moved on to university, wouldn’t it be great for them to have somewhere to come home to for Christmas and summer holidays? Or how about someone to phone home to in order to express their pride and joy in their recent accomplishment. Perhaps they are living on their own, and simply need someone to talk to during their struggles and hardships. Even at the age I am now, I could not imagine not having a mom, dad or sister to talk to in times of trial or accomplishment. Could you? If you are interested in becoming a part of such a mentoring program, please let me know at This mentorship program can be for an individual, or ideally an entire family.
So you can clearly see that there are many more options available to help God’s children. Won’t you consider one of these today, and become an important player in one of the many amazing children’s lives just waiting for someone to care for them?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Time is NOW!

            It is often said that adoption is a secondary choice. An alternative option. The last resort. While this may be true for the countless number of couples facing infertility issues, it shouldn’t be the ONLY reason. If we relied only on couples facing infertility issues, there would never be enough couples to adopt the millions of children waiting for a home. We need more couples and we need them now.
How many of you have ever made the comment “I will adopt when my children are older.” How about, “I’ve thought about adoption, but I am just not sure,” only to have years go by with no action taken place. Well, the time is NOW! In fact, right now, there are more than 143 million orphans around the world, in need of care. Why is this our problem? Because we are Christians. Because God has called us specifically, to take action, and care for His children, our brother’s and sisters in Christ. God does not tell us to let the government take care of it. God does not say “Oh let their family members step in.” No. God calls Christians, to. “Take care of the widow and the orphan” (James )
            So why aren’t we? How come there are more than 600 children, right here in BC, waiting for their forever families? Just by doing a simple phone book search, more than 2500 churches come up in BC. That means, that if one family in every 5 churches adopted from here in BC, right now, that number could drop down to zero. That doesn’t seem very hard does it? But that is not what is happening. Sure, maybe someone adopts today, then another couple a year down the road, and perhaps someone 2 years after that, but as time goes on, more kids come into care. The result is very little movement of children into their forever homes, but a continued movement of more children in need of an adoptive home. The only real way to have this problem solved would be to have the entire group of waiting children adopted into forever homes now, and additional families waiting for when a child comes into care. We need a backlog of sorts. We don’t want waiting children. We want waiting parents.
            I think fear is a big reason so many couples are choosing not to adopt. With smaller family sizes than fifty years ago, the addition of another child can be a daunting thought. Not only that, the associated special needs and behavioural issues that are often associated with adopted children can cause people to shy away. What we need is more information: Something that breaks down the fears and allows people to feel equipped going into the adoption process. We also need faith. Faith that it is GOD who will get us through whatever trials may come along. I couldn’t handle half the things thrown my way if it wasn’t for my Heavenly Father. I am certainly not some special person who has a knack for children, or an amazing ability with special needs. When my husband and I first adopted we didn’t even know how to change a diaper, let alone everything else. But, as life happens, you learn. You figure things out. God guides you in the direction you need to go.
            Awareness is also key. One hundred years ago children waiting to be adopted use to be assembled at the front of a church. Members waited in the pews, then shouted out who they could bring home. The problem was right in front of you. If you didn’t bring one of the waiting children home, you knew they had no where else to go. Nowadays, you have foster homes. There are no dilapidated orphanages and poor living conditions associated with 3rd world countries. But the problems still exist. Children who are left to be raised in the foster care system can have emotional problems, self esteem and identity issues, and a feeling of lack of belonging, etc. They too, can also undergo abuse and neglect from the several foster homes that exist merely for financial gain.
            What if it was your child? What if you passed away, with no family members or friends? Would you want your child being raised in the foster care system? Or would you want them adopted into a loving, Christian home. I know I would want my child to feel love and belonging. The love of Christ!
This is just a look at kids waiting to be adopted here in Canada. It gets worse overseas. For example, kids waiting to be adopted in Russia, who have special needs, are often left in cribs, alone, for years, without any human contact. Once they are old enough, say 4 or 5, they are then transferred to insane asylums. Other orphanages leave their children in their own excrement, day in and day out, without the proper nutrition or care. Children are being brought home between the ages of 5-10 years old, weighing the same amount as a one year old infant. This should not be something that we as Christians, should be able to ignore. All it takes is one. Just one child. Think of how many lives we could affect if we each just adopted one child? I know we can do this. God knows we can do this. After all, “God sets the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:5-6) All we have to do is take a leap of faith, and trust God that we can get through what He throws at us.
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
Matthew 18:5
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The time is NOW!