I Adopted From Foster Care & Am Grateful Sandra Bullock Did Too

This week, Sandra Bullock revealed she's finalized the adoption of her daughter, 3-year-old Laila, from foster care, giving foster care and the more than 400,000 kids currently in the system a glamorous new face.

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Foster care comes with all sorts of stigma: that the kids in the system are damaged; that the trauma that put them in the foster care system has irrevocably broken their ability to live normal, healthy, happy lives. Sandy and I both know that's complete crap.

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I am the mother of the most gorgeous, smart, beautiful, adjusted little girl you could possibly imagine. Her dad and I adopted her out of the foster care system when she was 17 months old. She's 5 now. Aside from my admitted bias, I know our girl is nothing short of resplendent. We often crack that there's no way the two of us could have made a human so wonderful.

And now that America's Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, an Oscar-winning international beauty who could adopt just about any kid she wanted, has chosen to adopt from the foster care system, it's my deepest hope some of the stigma is replaced with even just a little of her star quality.

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Adopting from the foster care system admittedly can be tough. There are court dates and birth parent visits and an army of social workers, lawyers, psychologists, and inspectors working with you as a team to parent these kids. Foster kids need strict privacy, something that Bullock said worried her about her celeb status. When stories started to break months ago about the adoption, Bullock was concerned it might jeopardize the adoption.

Strict rules like these are what often drive adoptive parents overseas where there can be less red tape. But overseas adoptions can be fraught with their own set of challenges, from language barriers to fraud.

Adopting from foster care, on the positive side, is far less expensive than overseas adoptions, and the foster care system offers all sorts of help and support -- including parenting classes and legal assistance -- that international adoptions don't. But the money aside, once you see the kids who, through no fault of their own, have no one but a social worker to protect them, you quickly realize the importance of how massive of a difference you can make in a kid's life right in your own community.

Kids in foster care desperately need someone who will fight for them and keep them safe. Sandra Bullock has stepped up in a big way not only for her own Laila, but for all those kids stuck in the system, just by showing the world how beautiful a family created out of the foster care system can be. And that's huge.

Congrats to Sandra, Louis, and Laila and to all my fellow foster and adoptive parents out there. Our families' journeys might be a bit more complicated than most, but that makes them all the more magical.

 

Image via Becky Bracken

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