- Adoptive Parent Education , Adoptive Parent Recruitment , Foster Parent Recruitment
- August 5, 2019
Approximately 20,000 children in the United States age out of foster care every year.
Thousands of teenagers today are waiting to find their forever homes; sadly, many of these teenagers will age out of foster care without being adopted. Most families who are interested in adopting don’t think about adopting a teen. While teens are not little kids, they still need families and they still have a lot of firsts in front of them – first vacation, first plane ride, first bike, first halloween pumpkin carving! Although adopting a teen may not be something that you’ve considered, it might be worth exploring.
Parents choose to adopt teenagers for a variety of different reasons. Teenagers have the capacity to understand the circumstances of their situation and know what it means to be adopted. Additionally, they can understand more complex emotions and will hopefully be more inclined to communicate what they need and how they are feeling so that both the parent and child can have a successful, loving relationship. Many of these teenagers have never taken driving lessons, been given a birthday gift, or been shown unconditional love. They truly understand what it means to appreciate these privileges that are often taken for granted.
Sometimes parents become a Legal Guardian for a teenager rather than focus their time and effort on going through the adoption process. This is sometimes an easier answer for both the parents and the teen.
While on the path to adulthood, teenagers will undergo a variety of physical, social, and emotional changes. As an adoptive parent, you can help guide these teenagers in the direction to formulate their identity, thoughts, beliefs, and how they perceive and interact with their world; watching your child develop in these areas can be one of the greatest joys of parenting a teenager.
The process to adopt a teen is no different from any other child. Some parents are apprehensive because of the financial costs for teenagers, such as attending college, but spending money on a young child versus a teen isn’t drastically different. In the State of Illinois a child in foster care, and those adopted from foster care, are allowed to go to a 4 year or 2 year state college for free!
All teenagers in foster care have ended up there because of some sort of abuse or neglect, and many of them have lost the hope of ever being adopted. It is important for these teens to know that there is still hope for them to find a forever family.
If you are interested in learning more and possibly obtaining a foster care license (the first step) to become a foster and/or adoptive parent, or a legal guardian, please consider attending a Let It Be Us Informational Fair and join the Let It Be Us Registry at www.LetItBeUs.org.
This blog post was written by Let It Be Us Marketing and Research Intern Lizzie Kaboski. Lizzie is a student at Indiana University majoring in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. Lizzie focuses her work on the Heart Gallery of Illinois and is extensively researching Heart Galleries across the country with the goal of producing “best practices” of Heart Galleries for Illinois and other states.
Resource used for this article: (AFCARS), Adoption Analysis and Foster Care Reporting System. “Transition Age Youth in Foster Care in Illinois.” Child Trends, Child Trends, 2015, www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Transition-Age-Youth_Illinois.pdf.