Jill* and Steven* are AdoptReady and hoping to adopt a child under 6 years old. They are childless, have graduate degrees in child development, and more than enough time and love for a waiting child. They were told they couldn’t pursue both international and local adoption at the same time and had to choose. Eight years ago they signed up for public adoption with their local child protection agency. They paid for a private homestudy (that they have updated several times, as homestudies expire after two years) and completed PRIDE training.
They waited for a year without word. When they met with their social worker they asked if something was wrong. Jill wondered if they were being too fussy. The worker said they had been considered for several children, but weren’t chosen because they « were deemed too old and too educated. » Because both Jill and Steven were over forty years old, many workers felt they wouldn’t be suitable parents. Because they were highly educated, workers felt they would expect too much from a child.
They are still on the AdoptOntario database and have never been matched. After waiting four years they are discouraged by the process of adopting through the public system. « It hurts to think that we are not considered good candidates, and it hurts even more to think that there might be a child in foster care who could benefit from being a part of our family, » confesses Jill. She doesn’t understand why their age and educations are barriers or liabilities. Wisdom and experience, that which comes with age, are powerful tools for parenting. Their backgrounds in child development are assets as well. At this point Jill and Steven are about to give up on the broken and flawed system. « We will not be updating our home study again, » she says. A child in foster care will lose the chance of being a part of this qualified and loving family so ready to open their home and their hearts.
*A pseudonym has been used in this story
Disclaimer "These stories are the perspectives of awaiting parents. Adopt4Life aims to give parents a voice, and as such stories remain unchanged even if they may appear controversial. It is the hope of Adopt4Life that by bringing awareness to the thoughts and feelings of families, together we can work to bring change that benefits everyone."