LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - As you well know, one of our THV11 missions is to help find permanent families for children in foster care awaiting adoption.
And over the years, we've encountered countless myths and misconceptions. All week, we have verified what's true and what's not.
In this story, we examine the belief that teens are too much trouble, too broken, too set in their ways to fit into our families. Is this true or false?
"We've heard stories, parenting teenagers is hard," said Sandy. The couple openly shared their adoption journey. “Teenagers can be difficult just in general and then someone coming from a hard place, that brings a lot of other concerns," said Kevin. The married couple asked that we not reveal their last name, but to speak candidly about the beliefs they held and the stories they'd heard, primarily about adopting teenagers.
"So, we were intimidated, to say the least," said Sandy. They were already parents to two boys and a girl, but they felt called to adopt a teen. Shortly after, they met a girl. Now, 16-year-old Pearl. A girl, they learned, liked to do many of the same things they did. “When I was in, I kinda felt lost like there’s no place I belong, there's no permanent place for me," said Pearl.
She had been in foster care for two years, waiting for a family. “Teens can be tough because it's a difficult stage of life. We're trying to find ourselves and transition out of the home into college, so it can be hard," Pearl added.
“These teenagers in a few years are gonna be adults making real adult decisions with real adult stakes," said Kevin. Kevin realized he could help guide those decisions. And as they got to know Pearl, they knew right where she belonged. "We both felt confident Pearl was our daughter and asked her if she wanted to join our family and she did," said Sandy. “She really just joined our family and fit right in. She was ready to love and be loved," added Kevin.
“It took me awhile to find my place and get used to it here but after that, it's like I belong here," said Pearl. Sandy and Kevin now say the idea that teens are too much trouble, to them, is absolutely false. “That myth is busted for me, Pearl was just like a regular kid," said Kevin. "I would adopt a teen again in a heartbeat," added Sandy.
A Department of Human Services spokesperson Keith Metz said teens in foster care are ready to be molded and desperately need guidance. "Recent studies show their brains are developing into their 20’s, so teens are able to express their needs more clearly, able to engage in therapies they might need, able to accept your wisdom and guidance from the start," said Metz.
As for Pearl, she just has a place to call home. A child who was once in the system now found her place. “But coming home, I'm like, this is where I'm supposed to be, this is my home, this is my family," said Pearl. "It's been a really smooth journey, and we're so glad that we didn't shy away from adopting a teenager," said Kevin.