Adoption turns kids from innocent victims to survivors

As social workers we often see the absolute worst of humanity. Where the everyday person sees many of life’s heart-breaking moments on the television or through social media, the social worker sees them first-hand.

We have witnessed the burns and bruises of battered children. We have seen children steal and hide-away food because they have known all too well what it’s like to go hungry.

We have heard the cries of little ones who are desperately trying to make sense of the confusing and unpredictable world around them.

As social workers we have been given the unique opportunity to stand alongside the innocent victims of this troubled world. We have the amazing privilege of assisting these innocents in their journey between life as a victim to life as a survivor. However, there are days when the things you hear and see weight so heavily on you that you almost convince yourself that being a social worker isn’t worth the heartache. But then, there comes a day that makes it all worth it. For me this day came when my very first adoption was finalized.

For a little over a year I assisted a local grandmother with the process of adopting her three grandchildren. This extraordinary grandmother took on the responsibility of caring and providing for her grandchildren.

She provided her grandchildren with a stable and loving home, where they knew they would be safe. To further give her grandchildren with a sense of security and permanency she made the decision to adopt.

Assisting this family through the adoption process was one of my greatest joys as a social worker.

Standing in the courtroom, and seeing the happy faces of the family as the judge made the adoption official is a moment I will treasure always. What a joyous day it was to see a family finally get the happy ending they so desperately deserve.

November is celebrated as the National Adoption Month. According to the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange there are over 3,000 children in Michigan “waiting for permanent, loving homes to call their own each year.”

The majority of these children came into foster care as the innocent victims of abuse and/or neglect and many will suffer the long term effects of this trauma. Many of these children are over the age of five, and the majority are over 14 years of age.

Many of these children have traveled from foster home to foster home searching for the place that they will one day call their forever home.

As you can see there is a vast need for adoptive families. These families don’t have to be wealthy, have big homes, or to even be married. These adoptive families must be willing to help their adoptive children recover from and overcome the effects of the trauma they have endured.

Adoptive families just need to be willing to open their hearts and their homes to a child/children searching for a forever home.

U.P. KIDS is an organization dedicated to providing foster care and adoption services to children and families throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you are interested in learning more about foster care and/or adoption please visit the U.P. KIDS website at www.upkids.com or you can contact us by phone at 906-487-9823.

Jordan Harris is a foster care and adoption specialist for U.P. KIDS.