Adopting a teen boy will change your life
By Vitalik Walle, 2019 UMPS CARE All-Star College Scholarship Recipient
I was adopted when I was 15 years old as a teen boy from Ukraine by an American family. My biggest fear was getting used to the new world, and honestly, I had a hard time adjusting at first.
I remember when I started school here in the U.S for the first time, and I had to walk into the class when I couldn’t speak or communicate with anyone. My first class I went to was math, and the teacher was only English-speaking. My English as a second language teacher did not come to the classroom to help me with translation for 15 minutes, and I could not understand the things that my classmates were saying to me.
It was a feeling of complete and utter hopelessness and to this date, was one of the most frightening and terrifying experiences of my entire life. I was standing at the door and trying to figure out what to do. During this time of my life I experienced a lot of embarrassment, shame, and fear. However, Mrs. Olga, who was one of my English as a second language teachers, worked with me week after week until my English got better. This was also a miracle from God, because Ms. Olga was Russian-speaking, working at a middle school in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. How amazing?
Overall, adopting a foreign teen is extremely challenging, but ultimately worth it for everyone, including the adoptive teen and the parents.
Challenges for the Teen
Getting adopted at 15 can be very challenging for a teen boy, especially when across international borders and languages, but equally challenging for parents adopting from abroad.
International adoptions often seem to be the most challenging adoption for both the parents and the teens getting adopted. International adoptions usually require more work, time, travel, money, and adjustment to the new environment, such as culture and language. According to Americanadoptions.com, “international adoptions can be costly and unpredictable, and open adoptions are rarely available internationally.” (Anonymous, 2021).
Teenagers brains’ aren’t fully developed and they often behave in ways that are inexplicable. Trying to change during the adoption can be one of the biggest challenges in the adoption process for the teenager, since no one likes being told what to do, and for adoptees, that is a regular part of your day. This type of relationship can be overwhelming at times. Children don’t normally like to be told what to do in general, especially if it’s something that they don’t agree with. From my own experience, I used to always argue with my parents about the things that I did not agree with. Even though they always ended up winning the argument, it didn’t stop me from trying to vigorously share my point of view.
Challenges for Parents
Adopting a teenager could be even more difficult for the parents. As a parent, according to Proverbs 23:13-14, a parent’s job is to teach your children rules, manners and the most challenging part is to punish them for disobeying rules. Each parent teaches their children differently and with different styles and techniques. Not many parents want to adopt a teenage boy, especially at the age of 15 years old. As parents, the one of the most challenging parts of adopting a teen is trying to adjust to the teen’s level and understand their point of view and history so they can begin building a relationship together.
Before you tell your teen what to do, try to understand the story behind their particular situation. That could mean you might have to learn different ways to interact and understand them at first. As a parent, you have to make an
excellent first impression because if you don't, it might be harder to make that connection later on. First impressions are huge in the adoption process. At first, adopted teens and parents are usually trying to learn a little more about each other.
Being welcoming and seeing them for who they really are makes them feel like they have a real family. As they develop their relationships with each other week after week, they slowly begin to learn each other’s hobbies, patterns, and most importantly, they learn to understand each other.
Understanding each other is vital in the adoption process. Without that, it could be difficult for the parents and children to bond with each other. This could result in having a bad relationship in the future.
It is Worth it!
Adopting a human being, especially a well developed one like a teenage boy is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of time and patience, which is why it’s not for everyone. When you adopt another human being you are basically committing to give them more time than you give to yourself. The process of teaching someone could take years and years.
Adoption is a big commitment. You are helping in changing someone’s life. You are giving them a future that they might have never even dreamt of before. Yes, adopting is very difficult, but in the long run, it is worth every step. Nothing is more important than changing someon’s life by giving them a family and a new start into their future.
When I asked my parents about it, they commented that their hope all along was that I would some day understand the sacrifices made for me and as a result, give glory to God in Heaven. At 23 years old, I can truly say that I am thankful to God that He cared enough to provide me with an adoptive family!
Domestic vs. international adoption. American Adoptions – Domestic vs. International Adoption. (2021). Retrieved December
13, 2021, from https://www.americanadoptions.com/adopt/domestic_international.