It’s been in the works for a while and it’s finally here! Hope is answering questions from HAPs and APs interested in adopting tweens and teens! If you have a question, feel free to forward it by email at email@example.com with “Ask Hope” in the subject line or send a message through the blog’s social media channels! These are Hope’s answers, not mine, though I will sometimes weigh in with contextual info or perspective!
Without further ado, here’s Hope’s first set of Q&As!
If Hope had just one important piece of information to share with those interested in adopting a teen, what would it be?
I think that although it may be difficult and very frustrating, just be patient with them but don’t be too lax with them. It’s never going to be a smooth ride from the jump, but I think that giving space and then trying to talk about everyone’s feelings on everyday things will probably help a lot. One last thing is to, maybe if they are comfortable with it, listen to their story to see how they have experienced life so far.
What made you feel safe during the transition?
I don’t think that there was any one thing that made me feel safe during the transition. I didn’t feel unsafe during the transition though I did at a point for a moment feel like it wasn’t going to happen or like it might not have worked out. As my time here lengthened I began to feel at home though it took lots of adjustments, but all of the good and bad experiences throughout helped me feel comfortable and like I belonged in this home.
How would you have felt about getting adopted by a family that has really strained relationships with extended family?
I didn’t really think about that kind of stuff when I was trying to get adopted, but during visitation that’s when I started thinking about it since we spent time around mom’s family. I would probably be curious, but as long as I didn’t have to deal with any drama, eh ok. I had an idea of the kind of family I wanted to be in, not extended, but just the core. I didn’t think about the others. For me, I would make sure that family and friends you do connect with/to treat the adoptee the same as the bio kids in the family.
We want to start the process, but will probably be moving sometime in the next two years. How would you have felt about moving right after being adopted?
I would not have been happy about it; I would not have said much about it, since I wouldn’t want that to be the reason someone didn’t want me, but how would I be expected to trust anyone after another move when I’m going into the adoption thinking I don’t have to move anymore. I guess it would be different if it came up later, but going into adopting me with a plan to move right away? Nah. But I probably wouldn’t actually say nah if it meant I didn’t get adopted.
[ABM: Hope had to move cross country with our placement; she was constantly trying to negotiate when the move would happen. It was very stressful for her. VERY stressful; so much so I think it made adjustment more difficult. It took time. When I was offered a job about a year or so later in another state, I didn’t take it because I wanted her to have the chance at being in one location for a long period of time. She’d already moved around a lot; I didn’t want to contribute to the feelings of not being tethered to a homebase. The side benefit is that our current location meant that we were only about 4 hours from biological family; so for us, it worked out.]
How would you have felt about having a choice between home school or regular school outside of the home?
I would be ok as long as I had a choice. If the home school situation was secular maybe I might do that, but I would probably just go to public school because that’s what I know.
[ABM: Religion has been a sticky issue around these parts. Sometimes it’s hard for kids to reconcile religious beliefs with why some things have happened to them. I would imagine this might be common among older adoptees, but that would be a guess. I eventually just looked to raising a religiously knowledgeable kid without all the trappings and expectations of religious adherence.]