A 13-year-old's Perspective on His Adoption from Foster Care

November 17, 2014

This month we've been sharing a post every Monday about adoption. As we were talking about it as a family, my son Donnie, who turns 13 this week, asked if I would interview him. Of course I agreed. In our home, we try to be as open and honest with our children as possible. Donnie came to us from the foster care system when he was eight years old. Prior to that time, he had been living with both his biological parents. Over the next couple of years, attempts to unify his family were unsuccessful. Donnie was adopted by our family in 2012 but was still able to have visitation with his biological mother. Both of his biological parents are now deceased, but Donnie is still able to see his older brother on a regular basis. Here is his perspective on adoption.
Donnie during a BMX race

What did you think about foster care at first? It was hard. And boring at first. You didn't know what to do. The rules were different. And you couldn't see your parents everyday.

What do you think about adoption? It changes your life. 

What did you think when you heard you were going to be adopted? I was excited to get adopted and be a part of the family.

Were there things that were hard or sad about  being adopted? It changes your life. You have another family and you don't see your other family as much. 

What was the good thing about being adopted? Being treated like you're part of the family. And everyone cares about you. You get to do a lot of things, like sports and stuff. 

What would a perfect world be like for you? No one would die and life would be perfect. 

What's been helpful in remembering your biological family? Having pictures of them up and being able to talk about them when I want to. I like that we remember them every year. (Every year around the time of his parents' death, we do a little memorial again for Donnie and his brother.)

What would you tell someone who was thinking about adopting? To learn about the kid and what they'd like. Let them have visits with their family if they can. Remember that it's sad for kids leaving their other family, that your birth family is still your first family and you still love them. 

What would you tell kids who are being adopted? That it's okay to have two families. That it's okay to love both families. I feel the same about my adopted family as my birth family. 

Donnie also wanted to express that he is just like any other "normal" kid. He likes to play football, baseball, BMX, and snowboard. He also likes being with his friends and playing in the band. 

As a mom, I think it is important to remember that although adoption is a wonderful thing, it can also be sad for children -- especially older children who are adopted. Donnie's biggest recommendation to adoptive parents is to allow children to have some kind of contact (however that may be appropriate) with some part of their biological family. I wholeheartedly agree. We have to be willing to share our kids, and remember that even when they aren't able to see their biological families, they are still in their thoughts and hearts. Kyle and I have also made a point to always speak well of our children's biological families and be supportive of our kids' efforts to reach out to their biological families. 

As I mentioned, we've been talking every Monday this month on the topic of adoption. You can read the past two weeks on 5 Ways to Support Orphans and Chosen One: An Adoptee's Story.

Two of my favorite children's books about adoption are A Mother for Choco and My Adopted Child, There's No One Like You. There are so many wonderful resources out there regarding adoption. My encouragement to any family is to be as open and honest as possible with adopted children regarding their origins and birth families. 

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We are once again linking up for Make a Difference Monday!

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