When talking about adoption and the adoption process, there's one voice that should sound the loudest, the voice of the adoptee. As we enter National Foster Care Month, we want to amplify these voices even more. We hope that hearing from youth who once were in foster care can help the adoption community at large gain a fresh perspective and encouragement as you face your own journey.
Eva is a bright and exceptional young lady. She was matched with her forever mom when she was 15 years old, and now four years later continues to advocate the importance of permanency. Read more of our Q&A interview with Eva below.
Q: What was your biggest fear about being in foster care? Did you have any fears about the adoption process? If so, what were they?
A: "My biggest fear of foster care was aging out of it and having nowhere to go. A lot of teenagers age out because people usually don’t want/think about adopting teenagers. When I think about it sometimes it’s not even the publics' fault because they are so misinformed and not educated enough on child protective services, foster care, and adoption."
"My fear about adoption was would someone not blood-related love me and treat me like their actual child. Would they accept me, my personality, my flaws, and my passions? As a teenager, there’s not much room to change our perspectives or conform us to what you want us to be like you can with a younger child so that was definitely a worry. Will they accept me? Will they try to conform me to fit their standards?"
Q: What were some uncertainties you had while you were in foster care vs. when your forever family adopted you?
"I think the uncertainties were, did my foster parents really love me when I was bad or a normal delinquent at my age, would they give up on me? Everyone has flaws but I was afraid of mine because I ended up moving foster homes for just being a kid and getting in a little trouble. I feel like my mom now would stick with me and if someone accused me of something I didn’t do she wouldn’t stand in a corner and allow me to be treated that way as I was in the past by my foster parents."
We, children in foster care, definitely have our fair share of flaws but we are worth being given a chance.
Q: What were some ways you have felt supported by your forever family that you may not have felt prior?
"Honestly, I felt like my mom had my back when it came to making sure I go to college and pushing me to go which I want to go but my mom had a stroke 2 years ago and had to retire early unfortunately that means we have low income coming in so I am solely responsible for paying for my education and I don’t have that money so it’s hard. I don’t think college is something I can afford as of now but I know my mom thinks about me and roots for me to go."
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering adopting from foster care?
"We, children in foster care, definitely have our fair share of flaws but we are worth being given a chance. Some of us still have trauma that is hard for us to overcome. My personal experience is even though I’m very open-minded and self-aware of myself, my past and feeling not many people in foster care looking to be adopted are put together as maybe I was but even then I still suffer from my trauma. My trauma is being homeless and being stable financially that’s why I don’t want to take out loans for college I find that stuff scary based on my past before foster care.
Anyway, my biggest advice is to educate yourself and ask questions never be afraid of that. You guys always got me I will answer all your questions to the best of my abilities just contact Barker and ask them for my contact information and I got you."
Final Words of Advice from Eva for Building a Healthy Relationship
ALWAYS LISTEN TO US AND OUR VIEWS
- We may not always be sure when and if we can speak about adoption
- Give us more opportunities to voice our opinions/concerns/worries
- Try to see it from the child’s perspective
DON’T EXPECT US TO GROW UP PERFECT
- Nobody is perfect
- Accept that we may just get angry sometimes and it has nothing to do with us being adopted
- Look after us as we are – do not try to mold us into someone we’re not
- Expect challenging behavior
- Give us space
We're so grateful to have connected with Eva and for her openness and willingness to share. Parenting children/youth through adoption may have its challenges, but the rewards are greater. Young people need healthy loving relationships in order to thrive, heal and grow into happy and healthy adults.
If you would like to learn more about adopting from foster care visit our Project Wait No Longer- older child adoption page here or connect with our Community Outreach and Recruitment Specialist, Taylor McLeran by calling our office at 301-664-9664 or tmcleran [at] barkerfoundation.org (email).