A New Identity Through Adoption
Happy Halloween, CASA supporters!
What a treat it was (see what I did there?) to see all the costumes this morning as I ran errands in and around Athens! From unicorns to zombies to cartoon characters, the “Halloween spirit” is out in full force.
Seeing everyone having so much fun with their temporary identities got me thinking about adoption. Half the fun of Halloween is “adopting” a temporary identity through costume (the other half is having an excuse to eat candy, of course). But for some children in foster care, adoption is something that permanently alters the trajectory of their lives.
At CASA, the majority of our children return home to their biological families. Others are placed with extended family members who receive permanent custody from the state. A small percentage of children, mostly teenagers, will be emancipated or age out of the foster care system.
But the last category of permanency is adoption. Adoption by a family member, family friend or unrelated party accounts for about 20 percent of our case outcomes. And there is both beauty and tragedy that accompanies nearly each and every story.
Why tragedy? You see, in order to be legally adopted by someone else, a child’s biological parents must either lose or give up the parental rights they automatically gained when that child was born. Some parents forfeit their rights in a process called “relinquishment.” Other parents’ rights are terminated through the court system. Either way, a child who is adopted must first walk through loss – the loss of their birth parents and the extended families that come with them.
Thank goodness that loss isn’t the end of our children’s stories. The beauty comes when an adoptive family enters the picture and opens their hearts to these kids who have such a need for security, stability and love.
Each November, communities nationwide celebrate National Adoption Day on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It’s a chance to highlight all that adoption means for both the children and their families. Scroll down to find information on an upcoming National Adoption Day celebration in Rusk.
And when you see the little ghosts, ghouls and goblins running around today, send some prayers or good thoughts out for our children awaiting adoption – and the chance to gain a new identity in the very best way.