There are a few mantras The Adoption Exchange recites often. Two of those sayings – “unadoptable is unacceptable” and “no child is too old for a family” – are exemplified through JB’s story.
JB entered the Utah foster care system at age nine and was initially placed together with his older brother. Unfortunately, the first placement decided not to adopt the boys and they were eventually separated. This meant another move and another loss for JB. He continued enduring hardship as he experienced many more moves and a total of eight different placements. JB lived in homes with multiple families who stated they would adopt him, but never followed through. Continue reading
By Janine Castillo, Intensive Recruiter
Two years ago, I showed a 12-year-old girl in foster care, Tiana, a picture of her biological father and asked her what questions she had about her birth family. She responded, “What color are my mom’s eyes?” In that moment, I didn’t have an answer and neither did anyone on her team of professionals, who are responsible for ensuring her care, safety, and services in foster care.
When she asked that question, the culmination of our two years together hit me. Her experience without safe and healthy parents is directly linked to her daily interactions. The reason why she soaks up one-on-one time with adults or falls asleep like a baby when a caregiver sings to her is because of her desire for nurturing and affection. Developmental milestones were denied to her at a young age, as she entered the foster care system at three years old and grew up in treatment centers not experiencing a “typical” family structure. How could she talk about a future with a new family when she remembers so little of her own story?
The Adoption Exchange is honored to have received the All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition from the Human Rights Campaign. We are proud to be recognized for our commitment to support and serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) children, youth, and families. This organization-wide policy applies to The Adoption Exchange’s work across the U.S. including our seven member states: Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Continue reading
By Angel, Age 14
Hi, my name is Angel; I’m 14, and I was adopted. Throughout my childhood, I was beaten, forced to take cold showers, and mistreated. Then I was in different foster homes for almost six years, and I just felt unwelcomed. I wasn’t happy during holidays or even my birthday, and I felt like I didn’t get a lot of love. The only people who cared about me were my caseworkers Jeanna and Chelsea. In school I wasn’t very popular and was bullied because of my looks; but I said to myself, “It’s just one bully, okay, brush it off.” Then it just got worse and worse. By age ten I was bullied a lot by people calling me ugly, fat, four-eyes, etc.
Then one day Jeanna and Chelsea came to my foster house and said, “Angel, there’s a family who wants to adopt you.” I felt so happy that I cried. It was amazing that some family out there wanted to adopt me. I thought I was never going to be adopted, but my prayers came true, and I was going to have a forever home! A home where a family inside waited for my arrival. A family that is waiting to see me and say, “Yep, she’s the one!”
Listen up people; if you think there is no hope for you in the future, you’re wrong. There is hope. Just believe me. Believe in yourself. Don’t worry about the future or the past, think about the present and be the best person you can be. There is a family waiting for you. Now let me tell you what a family is – a family is when you are loved, cared for, and adored. Families spend time together and so much more.
Adoption. It’s a strong word that has a deep meaning for me. Adoption is when you give a child in foster care a new chance at life, a new chance to be who they want to be, a chance to someday inspire other people. Everybody has a story. It might be a good or bad one, you never know. Don’t ever judge a book by its cover because you don’t know a person’s story or history. I was twelve when I was adopted by a wonderful family. My family is awesome – I now have four older brothers and a biological sister who was adopted by another family. We still keep in touch, and I love her very much. So give these kids a chance. You might be surprised at what a difference you make in their lives and yours!
By Ben Lusz, Director of Events and Volunteers
Telethon. Think about it.
Does your mind wander off to Jerry Lewis and his commitment to Muscular Dystrophy? Maybe variety show acts and people acting a fool? Or the newer versions, rock stars doing a new twist on their big hit and performing in a marathon of concert performances.
Well, The Adoption Exchange has stayed faithful to the traditional telethon. In Colorado, this annual fundraiser is known as A Day for Wednesday’s Child. We have a phone bank filled with generous sponsors and committed volunteers. CBS4 Denver diligently works with us to produce the best stories of the youth and families we serve and helps us to find the perfect incentives to encourage people to donate. Boondocks goes above and beyond by hosting adoptive families for a large celebration. All great, right?!
CBS4 Denver and The Adoption Exchange liked the benefits of this traditional model of increasing exposure for The Adoption Exchange and the children waiting in foster care, but we also wondered: What else could be done?
By Courtney Lake, Development and Communications Coordinator
Aging out of foster care is a terrifying reality that more than 20,000 youth face every year. Not only do these 18 year-olds lack a family, many enter the real world without the skills to make it on their own, and worse, without a single connection to look to for guidance and support.
In 2015, NPR shared Jasmine Uqdah’s story. A bright teen, Jasmine aged out of the foster care system with a plan. She was accepted to college and was motivated to succeed. But like so many youth who age out of the foster care system, the odds were stacked against her and there was no one around to guide her.
“Uqdah says that trying to balance school, a part-time job, money, and life all on her own became overwhelming. So she dropped out after two semesters — already more than $15,000 in debt — and took a second job as a meat slicer at a Detroit market.”
No young person should have to take on the world alone like Jasmine did. In her own words:
“Every 18- and 19-year-old thinks they’re ready, but you’re not. You’re not ready for shutoff notices. You’re not ready for eviction notices. You’re not ready for car repossessions.”
By Courtney Lake, Development and Communications Coordinator
Each year, the United States Children’s Bureau honors leading organizations, families, and individuals with the Adoption Excellence Awards. The goal of these awards is to “recognize outstanding accomplishments in achieving permanency for America’s children waiting in foster care.”
The Adoption Exchange is incredibly proud to announce that this year our very own Tim Wieland has been honored with the Award for Excellence in Media/Social Media/Public Awareness of Adoption from Foster Care.