November is National Adoption Month! Today we’re excited to have a guest post from The Barker Foundation, whose mission is to serve all members of the adoption circle – birth parents, adoptive parents, adopted persons, and anyone whose life is touched by adoption. A licensed adoption agency serving DC, Maryland and Virginia, The Barker Foundation supports teens and women as they consider an adoption plan, places infants and children with carefully selected, local adoptive families, and provides lifelong support and education to all adopted persons.
Reflections by Beverly Clarke
Director, Project Wait No Longer
I have 9 year old twins who are full of questions, and we are always discussing new words and looking up definitions on-line. Recently, we were looking up the definition for the word “inspiration.” There were many definitions, but the ones that I felt most drawn to were “divine influence exerted directly on the mind and soul of humankind” or “to spur on, impel, energize or motivate.” My kids began making up sentences based on this new found understanding of the word and all the things that are “inspirational” in the life of a 9 year old. My favorites were “I am inspired to eat my broccoli so that I can have a brownie,” or “I am inspired to read three books so that I can watch an episode of Scooby-Doo.” Listening to them was entertaining but also got me thinking about what inspires me.
I realized that I am fortunate to feel inspired on a daily basis while working with Project Wait No Longer, Barker’s older child adoption program. I am inspired by the children and teenagers that still have the audacity to hope for a forever family even after surviving years of abuse and neglect at the hands of adults. I am amazed when I see them begin to break down their protective walls, change their behaviors, and develop trust for the members of their new families. I am inspired by the parents who come to our program, determined to provide loving and stable homes for older children who oftentimes don’t know how to be a part of a family – by the families that stick it out, even when the going gets unbearably tough.
This is what drives me to work harder every day to find placements for older children who are often languishing within the foster care system. The needs of the children weigh on my mind and soul, inspiring me and the amazing team in PWNL to be a part of the solution.
Recently, I had the pleasure of helping to facilitate the placement of a little guy (Bobby) who is 10 years old into the home of Sue and John. Bobby has been doing really well with his new family, but has come from a long history of being rejected by former caretakers, so making the leap to calling Sue and John “mom” and “dad” has been really hard. Last week my phone rang, and John was on the line. I was surprised to hear from him because Sue (the more emotional one of the pair) is usually the one who calls me. In a very excited voice, John said to me, “Bev, something pretty cool happened. Bobby was talking about me to one of his friends, and I overheard him call me “dad.” This is the first time he has ever done that! Isn’t that great?” Through the phone I could hear the pride, joy and excitement in John’s voice. After several months of patient and consistent love, his son has begun to claim him as “dad.” This is what we work for at Barker. These are the true moments of inspiration.
Beverly Clarke, LCSW-C, LICSW is the Director of Project Wait No Longer at the Barker Foundation. For more information on our work, visit us at: www.barkerfoundation.org.