Most of us have needed a second chance sometime in our lives. You’re probably scratching your head about now wondering how you needed a second chance.
Consider this, have you failed a test and the instructor gives you a make-up test so you can pass that class? Have you had to take a driver’s test, either written or driving, more than once? Have you had a career and something wasn’t right about it, so you changed directions? These are just a few examples of second chances.
In my life I have had many second chances, including all three of the examples above. My successes have often come about because of second chances. I started life as a file clerk, now I’m a social worker dealing in second chances every day.
Have you heard about a program that helps adopted children get a second chance? I know that some of you may have strong feelings about giving adopted children second chances, but really doesn’t every one of us need a second chance at some time in our lives.
Wasatch International Adoptions’ 2nd Chance for Kids program places children who have been previously adopted and are not doing well in their current adoptive home. These children come from various backgrounds such as orphanages or foster homes where they had to survive any way they could. These survival skills helped them stay strong in a terrifying environment. However, when adopted by people wanting to love them, these children often react totally the opposite to what is expected of them.
Stealing food, telling lies for self-preservation and raging out of control when told “no” are some of the behaviors that these children do. They usually target the adopting family members, especially the mother figure, only. They rarely carry the behaviors outside the home.
Bonding is often a huge issue because the child may have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), a diagnosis some therapists don’t know a great deal about and are reluctant to use. RAD behaviors can include stealing, telling lies, raging, hitting, screaming, and any and everything the child can figure out to cause and control the chaos in the family.
Because, almost always, no one outside the family sees the behaviors, families are criticized because they don’t love their child enough or they favor biological children over the adopted child or it’s their fault the child behaves the way he or she does. It’s really not! The societies that consider children as afterthoughts and warehouse them in orphanages or the sad situations of the USA foster care system bear some responsibility. The children survive the best way they can.
The 2nd Chance program was established to become a positive force for families with adopted children who are in crisis. This program has successfully placed adopted children in 2nd Chance homes for the last 6 years. Our success rate is between 95% and 98% every year. It would be nice to say we succeeded 100% of the time, but that’s not reasonable. Some of the children are just too damaged for anyone to rear.
We try not to leave anything to chance. All placing parents need to give us all the information they have on the child, i.e. all medical, psychological and school reports. When a potential new family requests more information on a specific child, all that information will be sent to them so they can make an informed decision about adopting that child.
Our 2nd Chance program is totally legal. We are a Hague accredited placing agency. We only place children with home study approved families with current criminal and child abuse clearances. If the child is placed in another state from where he or she resides, we make certain that the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) is in place for both states before the child goes to the new family’s home.
Once the child arrives at his or her new home, the adoption laws of that state are adhered to for post-placement reports and court finalizations. Children placed in 2nd Chance homes rarely bring any of their previously disruptive behaviors with them.
We, the staff at the 2nd Chance program, are very experienced and have sincere empathy for all the families, either placing or adopting. We see miracles every day for children needing a new adoptive home. We’re totally committed to giving everyone involved a second chance!
Ann Lamphere, MSW, CSW (Second Chance Program Social Worker)
To see current children awaiting placement click here.
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