Adoption coordinator shares her insights about uniting children with permanent families
Our regional adoption coordinator in the DFW Metroplex, Mala Ganapati, answered some questions about adoption, and told us about the most exciting part of her job– seeing children find permanent, loving homes! Her wonderful, insightful responses are below.
Arrow: What would you say to adoptive parents who are scared they won’t feel that paternal bond with their adoptive child in the same way they would a bio child?
Mala: You have to go into foster care/adoption knowing that you have to be unconditional in your affection for the child or children you are fostering or adopting. It is not easy and you have to work at it. Knowing that it is something you have to work on, knowing that it is something that does not come automatically (sometimes) are all good reasons to develop a good support group who understands exactly what you are going through and can help you through the hard times.
Arrow: Can you tell us about one adoption you can’t wait to see finalized on National Adoption Day later this month?
Mala: Wow! Hard to pick…. all adoptions are special, and I cannot wait for so many of them to finalize. I do have a very special one– The Hurds are one of our foster parents who have been with us for almost 12 years! They have adopted a child who is now a young adult and is in college. They have been fostering these two young girls for almost 4 years. The girls have an older sister who they were waiting for to join them in adoption. However, that child had several challenges that did not allow this to happen. The Hurds are a sweet older couple who are more like grandparents to these girls. They had always told us that they would let the girls find a home better suited to their age. When it came to decision time, the Hurds were not able to see their home without the girls! We all have these pre-conceived notions that adoptive families have to look a certain way…I sure did! I knew the Hurds from being their AFS (case worker) and helping then through their first adoption. I was worried. Worried for the girls and the family…..for no good reason. They love the girls, are not worried about their age one bit and are ready to keep the girls in their family forever. We tend to forget that adoption is not just by a person or a couple. Adoption is something that the whole family participates in when it happens. So, I could go on and on…but the girls are getting adopted on National Adoption Day.
Arrow: What’s a common misconception about adoption you want to dispel?
Mala: The families who come claiming that they have to adopt a child younger than their child in order to maintain birth order drives me a little insane! We have done adoptions for years and have seen it done any which way, and I think it has been conclusively proven that it doesn’t matter. What matters is a family that is committed to a child and can see them through the challenges that comes from their position in the family being disrupted. This includes a child struggling to be a big brother or sister when a family has a baby, a child comes into foster care from losing a bio family, or a child being placed for adoption who is coming from a loving foster home.
Arrow: Can you tell us about a common obstacle adoptive families face?
Mala: Families typically are very confident in their desire and ability to care for children or adopt them. They however have to overcome the fact that reality is sometimes more challenging and not give up!
Arrow: If a family is thinking about taking Arrow training classes with the goal of adopting, what advice would you give them as they try to make that decision?
Mala: Take that first step! Come with the intention of learning more and understanding the children and the process. We will hold your hands and help you figure what is right for your family.
If you’d like to learn more about adopting, please come to one of our orientations! To find out when the next orientation is in your area, go to www.arrow.org/meeting.