For decades, the majority of children placed for adoption through Child Saving Institute were infants. For a variety of reason—including greater access to birth control and reduced stigma regarding unwed parenting—the number of infants available for adoption has declined dramatically.
Today, the new face of adoption looks less like the Gerber baby and more like Brend'n, a charming, shy-but-talkative 11-year-old who enjoys playing football and soccer, spending time at the park, and playing video games. Brend'n, along with nearly 200 other children in the Omaha area, is legally available for adoption and awaiting a forever family.
"Often times, families who want to adopt think only of infants, but forget there’s another population of older kids who also need families," explains Sarah Caldararo, Child Saving Institute Permanency Services Supervisor. Most of these children are ages 8 and above, and the majority are African-American.
Adopting Through Foster Care
When asked what families might anticipate when considering older child adoption, she noted that due to a variety of reasons, including neglect, abuse, and abandonment, these kids have found themselves in the foster care system.
"The one thing that can really help these kids recover from the trauma they've experienced is to be part of a stable, committed, nurturing family."
She went on to add that foster kids are often stigmatized for displaying behaviors typical of most adolescents. Whereas the average family has to wade unguided through the mire of teenage angst, Child Saving Institute offers a professional support system to assist families with trying situations.
"Our permanency program not only supports each family with an adoption expert, we are available to serve as advocates for the family, providing referrals and training so the family can access the services they need to be successful," Sarah concludes. "We can be there for families once a day, once a week, once a month—providing whatever they need to prevent disruption for the child resulting in more trauma."