Finding Homes for Teens

Rachel Blustain
January 20, 2003

The Jackson Family: Charisma, Karin, Brandon, Chester, Geneva, Arielle and EboneyChester Jackson thought he'd be the model father. An adopted child himself, Jackson adopted 15-year-old Eboney and her brother Robert with the intention of providing a good and stable home. But Eboney soon became pregnant, and Jackson felt resentful—raising a teen mother and her baby wasn't what he'd envisioned. Sometimes Eboney ignored Jackson when he walked in the house. Sometimes she talked back to him. Either way, the message was the same: She didn't need this family.

"I did not like this girl and she did not like me," Jackson says. "The whole family went through hell. At the time I just said, 'I'm committed to her but I don't have to like her.'"

Jackson is one of eight full-time staff members of You Gotta Believe!, an adoption agency that finds homes for youth 10 years old and up, and he shares his story because he knows that those dreams of "how it should be" can make it particularly hard for parents to raise older children who have been in foster care.

Finding Permanent Homes for Teens
You Gotta Believe! was formed seven years ago by Jackson, Pat O'Brien and Paul Snellgrove, all adoption workers who believed that despite the difficulties, it is possible to find adoptive parents who will make the commitment to raising teens. At the time they applied for and received their license, there was no government funding available, so they recruited parents on a volunteer basis and negotiated individual contracts with the city for each adoption they finalized.

This year, they received a grant of $1 million over four years from the federal government to work in Suffolk County, New York, and a second grant of $510,000 over three years from the city of New York, which have enabled them to run full time.

Their funding has come through at a time when government money and energy are being channeled into adoption. In 1997, Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), which promotes adoption as a means to reduce the number of children spending years in the foster care system.

But the reality is that foster care agencies struggle to find adoptive homes for teens. While 26 percent of children in foster care who are eligible for adoption are between the ages of 11 and 18, only 16 percent of the children adopted out of the foster care system are in that age range, according to the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of all the children adopted out of the foster care system, only 2 percent were ages 16 to 18.

The Power of Connections
When You Gotta Believe! started working in Suffolk, the staff turned first to caseworkers at foster care agencies. These workers helped them identify pre-teens and teens who already had strong relationships with unrelated adults. These adults—employers, mentors, teachers, bus drivers, lunchroom workers—could then be approached as potential adoptive parents.

Older children are most likely to be adopted by people who already know them, but often caseworkers don't explore this network of already-involved adults.

"People just don't think that older kids are adoptable, so they don't even give consideration to families out there," Jackson says. The program's premise of working with adults already within a child's network of support has produced some successes in Suffolk County. "Most of the placements that we've made have not been through people we discovered, but by a caseworker coming to us and saying, 'This person has always been a mentor.' With one person, the kid worked in his office. Another person was a teacher of a kid."

Trouble with Trust
Teens in foster care have usually experienced years of rejection, first in their own families, and then again every time they move to a different foster home or group home. They have learned to distrust promises of commitment and stability, and they have learned to test those promises—sometimes with anger and distance, and sometimes in more destructive ways, like stealing from the home or running away.

While teens may want more stability than offered by a succession of foster homes, many still have parents and extended family they love and to whom they feel loyal. Agreeing to adoption can seem like a betrayal.

When Anwar Wilkins, who worked in You Gotta Believe's Suffolk County office this year, was adopted at age 13, he didn't really want a new family—he just wanted someplace to stay. His foster mother was sick with cancer, and when O'Brien, then the director of another adoption agency, told him there was a woman with a son his same age living on Long Island who wanted to adopt him, he thought it sounded like the best opportunity likely to come his way. "I just didn't want to have to move again," says Wilkins.

Although Wilkins's mother and father had both been gone for most of his life, he had an extended family in Brooklyn. "When I moved I didn't get a chance to see or speak to them for many years," he says. "It bothered me." Wilkins never felt comfortable with his adoptive mother and eventually ran away. He bounced between homes for the next five years, sleeping on people's couches and sometimes on the streets.

During those years he would sometimes volunteer at Downeyside, his old adoption agency. At one of their Christmas parties, about the time of Anwar's 21st birthday, he met a woman—an adoptive parent—and he felt comfortable talking to her. She had five adopted children living in her home. Anwar needed a place to stay so he visited a few times, and then moved in. Over time, he began to feel like he belonged. "They were very supportive. They let me know I could do anything." He celebrated holidays with them, went on vacation with them. They even bought him his first car. "They didn't actually adopt me, but I still have a mother, a father, sisters, a grandmother," he says.

Telling it Like it Is
Like Jackson, Wilkins offers his experiences to both teens and prospective parents with no sugarcoating. He believes teens trust him because they know he too has been 'in the belly of the beast...' "I pretty much tell them, it might not work," Wilkins says. "But I also tell them about the great family I've been involved with for the last four years going on five years now. If they come with a mindset that it's not going to work, they can sabotage it."

For now, the goals of You Gotta Believe! are modest. In Suffolk County, their contract requires them to place 10 to 12 young people in their first year of operation; so far they've placed eight, though the adoptions have yet to be finalized. The group has certified 17 adoptive families, most of which already have a child living with them in the process of being adopted. Six more families are in the process of becoming certified.

Each week, You Gotta Believe! holds two information and training sessions, one on Tuesday evenings and one on Saturday mornings, and each week new people show up who are thinking of becoming parents.

At the meetings, Jackson, O'Brien and Snellgrove hammer home the importance of commitment. "When you have a baby, you don't say, 'I hope this baby is good so I can keep him.' If you meet this child and then walk away, you have become part of an abusive process. The child you adopt may go on to disappoint you and do all sorts of heart-breaking stuff that foster kids can do. You have to figure out how to deal with it," Jackson says.

"People who survive this process and still want to adopt are motivated way beyond anything we can say," says Jackson. "They end up adopting kids because it's something they need to do. For me personally, it was about redoing the way mine happened. The reasons people adopt are as varied as the people, but the need is the same, and the point is that it's the parent's need."

For Jackson, after years of heartache with his daughter, there has recently been reconciliation. After a period of strain which left Jackson and his wife convinced they would never see Eboney again, "All of a sudden the phone calls started coming, the birthday cards, the Father's Day cards," Jackson says. By last year, their relationship had improved so much that Eboney sat on a panel with Jackson to speak about her experiences.

"I think it was probably the most remarkable thing that has happened to me in recent years," says Jackson. "I was scared, I didn't know what she was going to say. But she went on and on about it being a regular home and feeling like she belonged. She might have remembered me as being mad as hell," Jackson says, "but I also learned that the biggest thing I did for this child was stick with her."

 

Resources:

Talk Back

If you've got comments or questions about this story, we'd like to hear them. Send your response to Susan Phillips.

 


Rachel Blustain is a writer living in New York.

 

 


#

tags

10

Comments

i need a fostter home really bad anyone willing to take me in

Cialis Dangereux Risques Viagra Efectos En El Hombre Levitra Surdosage [url=http://cialiorder.com]cialis online[/url] Amoxicillin Kidney Infection

Если начать заниматся сейчас то можно успеть к лету
[url=http://www.rsn.ru/forum/?PAGE_NAME=profile_view&UID=16429]http://www.rsn...
[url=http://daebrest.by.bitrix15.neolocation.net/forum/user/9301/]http://daeb...
[url=http://trustavia.ru/communication/forum/user/20137/]http://trustavia.ru/...
[url=https://i2hard.ru/forum/user/2684/]https://i2hard.ru/forum/user/2684/[/url]
[url=http://xn--f1apaaqe.xn--p1ai/forum.php/?PAGE_NAME=profile_view&UID=19516...

Проверяй свои кошельки так как
[url=http://producm.ru/forum/user/26598/]http://producm.ru/forum/user/26598/[...
[url=http://kbgmu.ru/about/forum/user/154541/]http://kbgmu.ru/about/forum/use...
[url=http://it-citynt.ru/forum/user/26932/]http://it-citynt.ru/forum/user/269...
[url=http://armavir.red-square.ru/forum/user/33217/]http://armavir.red-square...
[url=http://www.t-inweb.ru/forum/user/25773/]http://www.t-inweb.ru/forum/user...

У нас тут бывали и такие ребята
[url=http://esebolatov-aksu.mektebi.kz/oushylar-zhetstkter/44-oushylar-zhetst...
[url=http://e95079ky.beget.tech/index.php?newsid=1]http://e95079ky.beget.tech...
[url=http://gfilm.ru/films/19156-smotret-una-2016-onlayn.html]http://gfilm.ru...
[url=http://centerestetmedicina.com/about/forum/user/14928/]http://centereste...
[url=http://worksale.jofo.me/1242420.html]http://worksale.jofo.me/1242420.htm...

Тут тоже бывают люди
Моды для Farming Simulator Вконтакте [url=https://vk.com/fs_mod_17]https://vk.com/fs_mod_17[/url]

Если начать заниматся сейчас то можно успеть к лету
[url=https://oniko.ua/forum/user/29194/]https://oniko.ua/forum/user/29194/[/url]
[url=http://ok-avto.ru/communication/forum/user/70736/]http://ok-avto.ru/comm...
[url=http://xn----7sbbdrwao3cago9f0e.xn--p1ai/forum/?PAGE_NAME=profile_view&U...
[url=http://www.karlamaratta.com/communication/forum/user/29035/]http://www.k...
[url=http://trezveyu.ru/forum/index.php?PAGE_NAME=profile_view&UID=13151]http...

Проверяй свои кошельки так как
[url=http://www.etp-sd.ru/forum/user/34525/]http://www.etp-sd.ru/forum/user/3...
[url=http://test.sozapag.ru/forum/user/1849/]http://test.sozapag.ru/forum/use...
[url=http://armrus.org/extranet/forum/user/1939/]http://armrus.org/extranet/f...
[url=http://lestnica-ekb.ru/forum/user/11307/]http://lestnica-ekb.ru/forum/us...
[url=https://www.eltis.com/forum/user/72574/]https://www.eltis.com/forum/user...

У нас тут бывали и такие ребята
[url=http://futsal.az/xbrlr/cempionat/page,1,2,7-komandalar-yuksk-liqada-oyna...
[url=http://www.xn----8sbwhabccb1abbr1aca8g3d.xn--p1ai/dokumenty/100-akt-prov...
[url=http://kazybek-bek.mektebi.kz/malmder-shyarmashylyy/67-zhazy-sauytyru-la...
[url=https://www.xn--e1aebykkpm.xn--p1ai/forum/?PAGE_NAME=profile_view&UID=19...
[url=https://farming-mods.com/load/farming_simulator_2015/raznaja_tekhnika/mo...

Тут тоже бывают люди
Моды для Farming Simulator Вконтакте [url=https://vk.com/fs_mod_17]https://vk.com/fs_mod_17[/url]

Скачать моды чтобы Agribusiness Simulator 2019 может круг игрок. Несмотря для то, что в игре перехватить пропасть интересной техники, которую дозволительно пользоваться для своей ферме, так же лупить возможность установки дополнительной техники, карт и скриптов с помощью модификаций.

[url=https://farming-mods.com/load/farming_simulator_2019/72]фермер симулятор 2019 моды русские[/url]

Моды для FS 15 разрабатывают в основном сами игроки и фанаты этого симулятора. С помощью модов позволительно установить в игру не только новую технику (трактора, комбайны, грузовики, автомобили, прицепы и т. д.), однако и разные скрипты и дополнения для игры. Некоторые модификации могут причинять изменения в игровой действие, откупоривать новые возможности в игре Фермер Симулятор 2019, торопить действие развития фермы, добавлять новые объекты и приспособления.

[url=https://farming-mods.com/load/farming_simulator_2017/50]моды для fs 2017 скачать бесплатно[/url]

Первые зрелище серии Farming Simulator были популярны чуть в немногочисленных кругах любителей жанра симуляторов фермерского хозяйства. Однако с каждой новой частью разряд набирает всегда больше поклонников и получает все больше положительных отзывов от критиков.

[url=https://farming-mods.com/load/farming_simulator_2015/29]скачать русские моды для farming simulator 2015[/url]

Agronomy Simulator 2017, вероятно, самая долгожданная часть игры. В ней собрано всетаки лучшее от предыдущий частей, однако со множеством улучшений. В FS19 вы найдете пленительный геймплей, современную графику, великий круг разнообразной техники через крупнейших мировых производителей, большое сумма сельскохозяйственных культур и животных, новые карты с разных континентов и скольконибудь новых режимов игры. Начинать и ясно же забава имеет поддержку модов, с помощью которых можно добавить практически любое недостающее оборудование. Всегда это позволит вам ровно отроду прежде окунуться в жизнь и работу на ферме и делать любимым делом - земледелием.

[url=https://farming-mods.com/index/skachat_farming_simulator_2019/0-40]скачать фермер симулятор 2019 через торрент[/url]

Моды в Agribusiness Simulator 17 - это одна из самых важных составляющих симулятора. Конечно, в игре достаточно громада самой разной техники от различных производителей, однако не навеки вы сможете найти именно то, что надо вам (преимущественно это касается нашей проверенной временем отечественной техники). Поэтому мы ищем, проверяем, исправляем и добавляем на сайт самые интересные и популярные моды для FS 19. Устанавливайте игру, добавляйте любые моды и наслаждайтесь фермерством!

[url=https://farming-mods.com/index/skachat_farming_simulator_2017_cherez_tor...скачать моды на фермер симулятор 2017[/url]

[url=https://gamesbright.info/]english games online[/url]
may be here
Also look like this
[url=https://gamesbright.info/category/adventure/]girls game online free play[/url]

Если вы надумали продвинуть свой сайт и хотите быть увереным в том что будет результат, тогда рекоммендую к прочтению.

Нужно покупать ссылки только у проверенных людей.

Сколько покупал ссылок и большее половину г.вно, пишут 4000 ссылок из них 20 в индекс попадают, остальные даже не индексируются. Так же часто пишут 1000 ссылок, в отчёте получаю профиля с ДЛЕ которые закрыты в robotx.txt, от таких ссылок нет толку. В топку таких сеошников, с их прогонами, так как пользы вашему сайту такие прогоны не принесут, а вы потеряете только деньги.

По этому Я работаю с человеком на постоянной основе, и хочу его вам посоветовать выполняет все в указанное время и делает бонус в виде дополнительных ссылок, много отзывов, а главное что все ссылки появляются в вебмастере и ссылки работаю, и от таких ссылок есть результат скрин приложил ниже.

[img]https://i.ibb.co/TWwpTBb/1.png[/img]

[img]https://i.ibb.co/ZhpJrww/1.jpg[/img]

Сделал уже 15 заказов для своих сайтов, всем доволен и знакомым рекомендую.

Если надумаешь заказать себе прогон, настоятельно рекомендую заказывать у даного исполнителя. Ссылка с его услугами и отзывами ниже.

[url=https://www.cy-pr.com/forum/f73/t107838/]вечные ссылки[/url]

im looking for a home, my father is verbally and mentally abuse......don&;t want to leave my mother or brothers but I cant take it anymore.. Is anyone willing to take in a 15 year old?