We at Project Hopeful believe children should live in families, not institutions or temporary families. Ideally, children would be able to stay with their first (biological) families, even if external interventions and support are needed to make the first family a safe, healthy, and feasible option. That said, we recognize that the first family may not always be a real option, and if all means of keeping a child in their first family are exhausted, we support adoption. In fact, most of our volunteer staff and Board members are parenting children who were adopted. A big part of our lives is raising adopted children and educating other families who have adopted or are considering adoption – we believe in it that much.
Since we have walked through many adoptions – our own and ones we helped other families through – we have come to realize that many of the public messages about adoption are dangerously one-sided.
Celebrity adoption photos, dreamy Facebook posts, and “Merry Christmas-from-our -‘happy’-growing-family!” cards may have minimized the commitment that comes with parenting children from hard places. We absolutely believe in celebrating adoptions but it is imperative that we begin to communicate more clearly: adoption is hard. While the anticipation during the paper stage, the process of being matched with a child, staring longingly at beautiful pictures of a child from another country, and even the first meeting can feel very fairy-tale like, this is not the reality of adoption. There are rarely unicorns and rainbows. Adoption is hard.
Children who were adopted come from broken places. Even those who are adopted at a very young age have experienced trauma (or at minimum, great stress) in utero, which will impact their behavior and development […]