By Megan Monsour –
On National Adoption Day thousands of children in foster care are adopted by their foster families. I attended our local celebration at Exploration Place last November. There were hundreds of people – all gathered to celebrate something extraordinary for some of the participants: they were being adopted. They were getting a forever home. A forever family. A second chance.
Most of us take for granted that we had a parent, or, if we were lucky, two parents, who loved us and kept us safe when we were little. For the children being adopted out of foster care, childhood was not that simple. In some cases, it was downright awful. Foster parents know that and instead of running away they open their arms and their lives.
I’ve had the honor of representing some amazing adoptive families, but many of the foster families I’ve met, like the ones who finalized adoptions on National Adoption Day, have been nothing short of awe inspiring. They accept a child that others find imperfect. They find perfection in the drug exposed, the disabled, the unknown.
Connie is one of those people. Connie has been a mother to over 300 children. In 2010, she opened her home to Christian, three years old, and his two-year-old sister, Sophia. These siblings desperately needed her love. They needed the kind of love that walks through fire.
After some very, very difficult days she could see that Christian and Sophia needed more. She would stay up late researching different methods to help the children cope with their traumatic pasts. She would get up early to ensure everyone had enough exercise and a good breakfast. She moved a recliner into their room because sleeping in a bed brought back painful memories. She slept on the floor next to them so they knew they were safe. She advocated…no, fought at school, at the doctor, at the therapist, at court. Their lives depended on it. She cried with them and she laughed with them. She held them and she prayed that God would see fit to allow them to stay together.
Sometimes the families who come to love these children as their own are not the families where the children end up. Foster families risk that loss when they open their hearts to provide the love that the children need, like Connie and so many others. Any other kind of love would be unfair, but they wouldn’t know how to provide a different kind of love even if they tried. That is what makes them extraordinary.
Like the sixty-six children who were adopted out of foster care on National Adoption Day in Wichita last year, Christian and Sophia will soon be adopted by Connie. All children deserve the same permanency and love.
There are over 6,500 children in foster care in Kansas today, 1,130 legally ready and waiting to be adopted. There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2015, more than 20,000 kids aged out of foster care system, meaning they were too old to remain in the system and were never adopted. Many of these children bounced from foster placement to placement with no place to call home. No one to count on. No one to call mom or dad.
Some might say that Christian and Sophia are so blessed or even lucky to call Connie their mom. But you know what, she, like so many other foster parents I have met, would tell you she is the lucky one.
This article was originally published on Wichita Mom on Nov. 2, 2017.