J. Rice: Foster care has an expiry date. Whether it is 18, 19, 21 or 24, depending on province or state, at some point a young person who is in permanent foster care receives a letter from the government letting them know that they’re officially on their own.
An adoptive mother of a teenager, Aviva Zuckerman Schure, says:
“Yes, it is true that there are some wonderful foster families who stay in touch and support the young people who have lived with them throughout their lives. But this is the exception, not the rule. We should not depend on the luck one might have to be in a foster family where this may occur to ensure that someone has a lifetime connection to a family.
“When people say things like, ‘Why would you adopt someone nearly 18 years old? What do they need a family for?’ they are forgetting that families are for more than growing up in. They are for growing old with. They are a place to come home to during winter break at university. They are a place to go for Thanksgiving. They are someone to call when you are feeling sick. And they are someone to celebrate with when you get your first job.”
November is Adoption Awareness Month, a time to celebrate adoptive families and raise awareness about adoption in British Columbia. It’s an opportunity to celebrate, promote, advocate for and have a conversation about adoption. It gives us the chance to raise awareness for the 1,000 kids in government care in British Columbia who are still waiting to be adopted.
Adopting a child may not necessarily mean adopting a child you don’t know. There are many forms of adoption, including families adopting family members, adoption by a step-parent or adopting a child in foster care.
It used to be that only married, heterosexual couples could adopt. In 1996, British Columbia adopted a new
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Adoption Act, which enabled same-sex couples to apply to adopt as couples, rather than separately, for the first time in Canada.
There is much work to do to achieve higher adoption rates in the province, but I would like to applaud the Minister of Children and Family Development for the lift that she provided in 2014 to improve adoption rates in British Columbia.