Abused and neglected children are in dire circumstances. The consequence of the abuse they received impacts their lives long after they have been separated from their abusers. These children lack the ability to trust and to build significant relationships. Consequently, they are 4 to 5 times more likely to drop out of high school, be addicted to drugs, and end up in prison.
The state pulls these children from their homes to protect them and places them in emergency shelters, group homes and foster homes. In the United States, more than 800,000 kids spend time in one of these facilities each year. In many of these cases, reunification with a parent or relative is not an option, so these kids wait in foster care to be matched with an adoptive family.
Internationally, poverty, genocide, AIDS, war and other issues have lead to millions of children living in orphanages if they are lucky, on the streets if they are not.
120,000 kids in US foster care are waiting to be adopted. Internationally these numbers reach into the tens of millions. These children have a difficult time finding families as most are over 5 years old, have brothers and sisters they need to be placed with, or suffer from physical or developmental disabilities. Each year about 10,000 of these children are adopted, but the failure rate for those adoptions is too high. Most people are not equipped for the special needs of these hurting children and lack the knowledge and support to do the very difficult work of helping their child heal. The children almost always have moderate to severe behavioral issues as a result of their trauma.
Traditional parenting techniques often do not work with traumatized children, so potential adoptive parents get burned out, all the while receiving criticism from friends, family, therapists and teachers. Many of these parents give up on their dream of helping a hurting child and return the child to foster care, or simply resign to living with chaos in their home. As a result, the child never heals from their wounds, and the cycle of abuse continues.
We have done research on the barriers to successful adoption and the reasons the adoption of these special needs children fail. There is tremendous hope for the children if they receive the proper mixture of discipline and love. They can learn to trust again, and once they do, they can learn to receive love and live full, healthy lives.
To remove the many of the barriers to adoption, we are creating a community of support for adoptive families. In this community, families can provide support and respite for each other, encourage each other, and learn from each other’s experiences. With help from experts, counselors and other medical professionals the chance of the parents successfully incorporating a special needs child into their family dramatically increases. These families receive the support they need to make the adoption successful and to heal another wounded heart forever. Generations are impacted by the healing of one wounded child.