A decline in adoption rates

“If they are willing to adopt across racial and ethnic lines, or adopt older children, the kids are there.” Fewer fathers for the fatherless, World Magazine.

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Greg Linscott's picture

We adopted three children last year through Minnesota's foster-to-adopt program. I am so grateful to the Lord for how he has blessed our family, and given us ministry opportunities in our community as a result (the birth parents are from our town, and the children were familiar to many here before they became Linscotts).

Per the details in the article, one of the ways we did end up going about the way we did was because of the expenses involved pursuing other avenues (foreign or domestic). But another reality we pondered was that children like ours through the foster system had no less significant needs than anyone else eligible for adoption (foreign or domestic).

We found our local agency to be a joy to work with. Our newest daughter is considered "special needs," and though only 3 1/2 at the time, was enrolled in Early Childhood Special Ed in the public school system. We home educate, and argued that the best way she would mainstream into our family dynamic was to have her home school with us (she was still a foster child at first, so it wasn't our call to make). The agency agreed to the trial over the Christmas break, and observed her in our routine. Before it was done, they not only approved that we continue home schooling her, but advocated for us before the special ed teachers, who were quite upset that they had lost a student!

As a result of our adoption and involvement in foster care, we have new community relationships, evangelism opportunities, and even have a couple we went through foster parent classes with two years ago now preparing to join our church. I realize not every experience will be like ours, but I would encourage others believers to strongly consider this route as an option. Though I haven't talked about our heartaches (and they were there, too) it has proven a blessing for our family.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Greg,

Can you repost the family picture? Somehow, only a portion shows up in my version of the thread.

 

My wife and I also adopted through foster care. We also began the process because of costs, but ended up being moved by the needs of children right outside our front door. Our two youngest came to us as birth siblings at 10 months and just over 3 years back in 2008. We also had a wonderful experience with our CPS worker. Foster care was somewhat difficult because of both the uncertainty involved (would they go back home or be put up for adoption) as well as the rigidity of the state system that does not value or accommodate Christian/family values (we also homeschool - and sometimes spank - which are not permissible in foster situations). It certainly has not always been easy, but parenting never is, and we are so thankful for the additional blessings God has granted our family in Tyler and Carly.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Linscott's picture

Try this... 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

What a beautiful family - except for the big ugly guy on the right.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Linscott's picture

We know the uncertainty that Chip mentioned firsthand. Our first placement was a newborn we took home from the hospital. She was placed with the expectation of permanence, especially because the birth mom had borne 5 other children, none of whom she retained custody of. We poured ourselves into that little girl, but three weeks in, with about 2 hours notice, she was taken and placed back with birth parents. 

There were tears. 

We had to remember (and if you pursue, so will you) that caring for the children was for their benefit, and not about ourselves. We have learned much about serving others through this. 

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Rob Fall's picture

that kept us from adopting was our fear of the California system's philosophy.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Greg Linscott's picture

What did you feel would limit you in that way? Anything besides the means of discipline?

We were able to specify preferences of the ages of children we wanted to consider. One way we worked within the system was to ask for younger children who were on track for adoption. You must work within guidlines when they are foster children, but when they are adopted and fully in your custody, the same limits do not apply- at least that is how it is here in Minnesota.

I would also observe that working within the limits of the agency would be better for the child than the alternatives for that child- even if it presents challenges for you as a parent in the short term.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Rob Fall's picture

It's a matter of the general anti-Christian vibe given off by California's child welfare bureaucracy. I didn't want to even come with in arms' distance of it.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Rob,

We had the same concerns. He specified age (2 and under) to help. We also specified closed adoption, in that we did not want ongoing contact with the birth parents after adoption. Once the adoption is finalized, the state is removed from the picture entirely. They are your children just like birth children.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Greg Linscott's picture

It's a matter of the general anti-Christian vibe given off by California's child welfare bureaucracy. I didn't want to even come with in arms' distance of it.

I understand... it's not a move everyone can make. Again, one thing we had to learn is that this was a necessary step to service and ministry. It's not a clean process, though, any way you look at it. But one thing to consider- whatever "anti-Christian vibe" there might be generally, you as a believer with your involvement might alter that vibe for one social worker, or maybe even a local or county agency. 

Whatever else, that child you bring into your home and give a chance to be raised in a gospel-saturated environment will be the better for it.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Rob Fall's picture

The key is to realize that we were married in 1991 not 1971 and live in San Mateo County (which borders San Francisco).  By 1991, our being

  • non supporters of the G-y agenda (more like antagonistic to it)
  • members of a Fundamental Baptist church (what you aren't supporters of "multiculturalism."

would IMO tend to not even let us  past the front door.

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Rob,

We had the same concerns. He specified age (2 and under) to help. We also specified closed adoption, in that we did not want ongoing contact with the birth parents after adoption. Once the adoption is finalized, the state is removed from the picture entirely. They are your children just like birth children.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Greg Linscott's picture

I understand what you are saying. You do know your surroundings better than I would. I would only caution you that from your own words, you are only assuming (IMO- "in my opinion," right?) and have not found this to be the case from your personal experience. 

Again, I can't speak for California, but I know that here, no one ever asked what my opinion of the "G-y agenda" was, nor did they inquire about my church affiliation (though that did effectively come out when I revealed my employer...). I know that the atmosphere might be a bit more, um, "saturated" where you are, but I also know that agency workers are often desperate to find stable situations to put kids into. A quick Google search puts the number of kids in California's foster care system somewhere between 60-65 thousand children- the highest in the country. That tells me that there's a need, and an opportunity for someone.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Rob Fall's picture

At the age of 59+, it's a little too late for us.

Greg Linscott wrote:

Rob,

Not to get too meddling-like, but I did find this resource-

http://adoptuskids.org/_assets/files/AUSK/state-information/california-f...

It lists two agencies in your county that are not "LGBT friendly." They list these two websites:

http://www.fcadoptions.org/

http://www.kinshipcenter.org/

Might at least be worth a look.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Greg Linscott's picture

I understand, though. It's one of the reasons we decided to jump in now, even though we still had four at home. As it stands, assuming we add no more, we should be winding down about the time I hit your age... Wink

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

GregH's picture

Congratulations Greg and thanks for a practical and useful example of what true Christianity should be.

Gerry Carlson's picture

Our daughter and son-in-law are presently caring for two foster girls they would love to adopt if it is the Lord's will and He makes it possible. They've had them now for 11 months and the case includes 7 children being cared for by 5 families. 

We have become fully invested in loving the girls and learning as much as we can. It is obvious to us that the foster system is a huge and needy mission field. 

 

Gerry Carlson

josh p's picture

We fostered/adopted through relative placement. It was an incredibly trying time but we look back at it as one of the biggest blessings in our lives. I have to admit that it would be very hard for us to ado pt an older child. I really believe much of the authority foundation is laid before a child is even out of the toddler years and I would be concerned about "playing catch-up". Even more significant however is the fact that adopting an older child through foster care means you are likely adopting a child that has been abused. That in itself would be a huge challenge especially if there were other children.

All that being said we would do it over again and to anyone that is considering it I would say this: adoption is a very trying and stressful process but it is also an incredible blessing.

Greg Linscott's picture

Thanks, Josh, for sharing your experiences.

 

I read this blog article a while back, and this quote, though not from a Christian, still resonates with me...
 

The most common response to the news that you foster parent is "I couldn't do that, I'd get too attached." The answer to that is that in fact, that's the job - kids need attachments, they need love and care, they need you to get attached to them, and help them attach to you. There's a reason why this job cannot be done by institutions or robots - they need people who will fall in love with them, advocate for them and stand for them and say "that's my baby who I would do anything for," Doing it temporarily for children that might go away is admittedly difficult - but it is harder for them than for us. I understand why M. might have to go. I may grieve, but I chose this - the children in foster care don't choose this, they don't choose to stay with us and learn to love us, they don't choose to move home over and over again, leaving behind friends, siblings, pets, parents, toys - everything they love. To protect myself from pain and leave them to endure seems the wrong way around.

How much more should a follower of Christ be able to say that for the sake of a soul?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN