Back in my cca. third year of college one of my friends always had the following to say about her plans for a family: "One boy, one girl, one black, one with Down Syndrome." Now as neither she nor her then (or now) boyfriend was black this immediately implied adoption. While others always rewarded it with a strange look, I always agreed with her. I knew that I wanted to adopt. I also knew that I didn't want to adopt newborns.
The thing is I want to be a mother, however, it doesn't mean I can't imagine becoming a mother without getting pregnant. Actually, I could never picture myself pregnant or mothering a newborn or an infant. I really have no idea what to do with a baby! When I pictured myself with my future children, it was always young kids from the age of 3 up.
In my country many of the children who are wards of the state from an early age spend their first 3 years in an infants home. If they have older siblings they will be transferred to the small group home or the childern's home earlier. Since the beginning of the decade the children's homes have undergone a major transformation: they have no more than 40 children in a unit, many times those children are split into family groups, living in separate apartments, houses, or, in different sections of the same building. Most of them are loved and well cared for, and luckily not moved from place to place much. Many of these children go home every weekend and during school breaks to be with their birth families, and they, of course, are not adoptable. There are, however, many children, who are available for adoption. Some, though not all of them have some special needs. Depending on the kind of disability they have, the location where they were taken into care and whether they have siblings in state care without special neds, some of them live in children's homes adjacent to their special education school, some of them live in integrated children's homes. They stay in the system till they are at least 18, at which point they have the option to leave, but many young adults participate in the after care/independent living skills programs till they are in their early to mid 20's. Many of these children are asoptable, as I said, and are in need of homes.
However, after turning 3, there is a slim chance of being adopted. My country is not popular with internationally adopting families--the month-long in-country parenting requirement turns them away, even if the full process many times takes a lot less time in country than some other countries. Locally most people want babies or toddlers, or decide on long term foster care as that comes with financial benefits for the children. Once a child is adopted, no more financial assistance is available for the families who raise them.
Long term fostering, however, doesn't mean permanency. And that is one thing I'd like to give to my future child or children, in addition to my name and full legal rights to any future, yet unexpected inheritance.