Think over your life and the number of times you have wanted to be chosen for something such as a team, an event, a crown for a pageant, a role, a job…. the list from our lives of brief moments of wanting to be chosen go on and on and I too know that feeling.
As the new Executive Director of Carolina and ABC Adoption Services, I have the privilege to work with families, professionals, and communities that are supporting the selection for a lifetime – Adoption. The community of adoption touches all of our lives. This includes those who have chosen to bless another family with a child or someone who has chosen to adopt a child to complete their family. This especially includes a child or youth whose life was forever changed by being chosen, selected, to belong every day in the journey of life with a family. Adoption touches our lives, our families, and our community every day.
There is no choice, no selection more important, special or life changing than to be chosen to be part of a forever family. The beauty of this choice is that there is no requirement, no expectation or mandate for this family to choose you to complete their family – only love. I think as a larger community it is time to acknowledge the depth of the life changing gift of adoption. The gift of adoption states I choose you to belong to my family – forever! We should take a moment to think about how many times we have practiced for a part, paid for lessons or trained to be selected or chosen for an event or opportunity that was brief in duration. In comparison consider how we support adoption in our communities and our world. It is time to reinvest our expertise and resources in something that lasts and has the potential to provide a sense of belonging to children for the journey of life. Our choices create our legacy. This is a call to invest our resources and support to create, engage, and sustain families in our communities, locally and around the world.
As I have worked with children and families for more than twenty years, I have heard the requests of the young child seeking a forever family. Other times the voice of the older determined youth has resonated their desire to remain independent due to a journey of rejection. As a global community, it is time for us to focus on supporting as many of our children as possible to live, grow and develop in loving families. Some of these will be biological families, others adoptive, and some unique to those who love each other. The reality is every child needs to belong and adoption is an option for a forever family. While adoption is not the solution for everyone, through collaboration we can expand permanent options and support permanency for more children.
My personal and professional journeys converge as I look at my sense of belonging and who cared for me unconditionally. As a baby born to teenage parents working in a cotton mill, facing conflict, abuse and divorce, I learned at a young age the importance of those who really love you in this journey. The mother of my step father, “Granny”, embraced a small scared blonde girl, with love, compassion and time. Her actions changed my life. I was not adopted, but to her it never mattered, she said, “there are no steps here, just my grandchildren and I love them all”. Not only did she say it, but she lived it. During thunderstorms, she welcomed me to her bed, during loneliness she played Old Maids, and during hard times – she always showed love.
*It is my mission that as a community we will move to action to provide for each child a sense of love and belonging. Our focus in not the type or composition of the family system but the provision of a sense of belonging for the journey of life for each child. Our challenge is to connect to provide opportunities for each child to be embraced within a family system – where they are loved, belong and are equipped to thrive.
It is my hope you will join us at Carolina and ABC Adoption Services in our journey to support birth mothers, fathers, children, youth, singles, couples and all types of families in welcoming children into loving homes where they may be loved and belong every day during the journey of life. It is my privilege to connect with you as families, collaborators, donors, local community, and global supporters in this journey to change the world; one child, one family at a time. I invite you to visit our website for information on how you can unite with us in the delivery of our mission. Please view the children from Burundi video to see how our agency changes lives of children every day at home and around the world. May you chose to join us and together change lives generations to come – Thank you for partnering with Carolina and ABC Adoption Services!