Adoption Works for Community
Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation in a society’s soul than the way it treats its children."
Over the month of November, we have been highlighting elements of The Changing Face of Adoption and particularly the benefits of adoption for us all.
Adoption works for children and youth who want and need families for a life-time and for families who bring these children and youth into their lives.
“And have no doubt, Adoption works for our community, our province, and our country."
We know that about 1,000 youth in Ontario will leave foster care every year to experience ‘independent living’ and navigate the world without the ongoing support of a family who will guide them and pick them up when they fall.
We have a lot of experience to know that the outcomes for youth who leave foster care without a family are grim including high rates of homelessness, incarceration and much lower rates of graduation from high school. A most disturbing stat is that 60% of girls will have a child within 5 years and that child is two times more likely to enter the foster care system – and the cycle continues.
Now let’s focus, for a minute, and think about the social and economic advantages for our community if every young person who leaves foster care were connected with a committed, caring and safe adult – a family connection.
- Youth will have the support to continue to pursue their education at the pace that works for them.
- Youth will have someone to support them through the challenges of adolescence and early adulthood even when they make mistakes along the way.
- Youth will have a family they can come home to, being cared for and have unconditional acceptance and support on the lifelong journey of healing from early life trauma that was not their fault.
Jean Vanier, advocate for persons with disabilities said it well – “One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing”.
Quite simply, families – who are trained and supported – will remain committed to our young people long after the ‘system’ will or can – to complete high school, to heal from the trauma of their early years and find a path to employment and build lasting relationships around them.
We can all be part of the solution. Consider:
- Looking into adoption as a way to build your family
- Become a mentor to a youth
- Hire a youth who has lived experience with foster care and may need extra support in the workplace to build confidence and capacity
- And, most importantly, let youth who are in your life know that they are valued and important to you.
The collective impact of community caring will benefit us all.
Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy … needs to be celebrated.”
Pat Convery- Executive Director of ACO
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