Some Special Teenagers are looking for a role model.
November is Adoption Awareness Month. If you have been involved with auto service (and all the related fields) for any amount of time, finding and keeping good help is always near the top of the list. When I travel around our great country I included a slide that speaks to the plight of American foster children. First the chilling numbers. Over ½ million American kids have been removed from their homes for their own safety. 130,000 are in the process in court to be removed permanently from their homes and will need to be adopted. Each year 29,000 of these kids will never get adopted and will age out of the foster care system at eighteen to twenty one without being attached to a family of their own. Those are the facts, as sad as they are. Each year it gets worse. You can help.
When Deb and I found out in 1992 that we could not conceive our own children, we were sad, mad, frustrated and lost. After some real soul searching and an education in all types of adoption, it was clear to us there were kids in our area that really needed parents, a home, love, family, discipline, and a future. We didn’t need to go outside the USA to help a child find a home, there were plenty right here.
At the same time Deb and I were building the Massachusetts ASA chapter, we were also preparing a home for what would be two foster/adoptions. Mike was first at age 5. We took him in as our own, adopted Mike and started our family. Will was next at age 15. Now the boys are 23 and 29. Mike is doing well after some very rough times. Will may never make it as a productive citizen. We are now Grandparents to two great kids and all the work was more than worth it. We didn’t need baby pictures; we just wanted to be parents. Deb and I knew we could do a good job. We are not Saints, we just did what had to be done.
At my old shop, Van Batenburg’s Garage, Mike and Will helped with trash, clean up, worked on company vehicles, and did some paper work. A few years back, Mike and I worked on a 1996 Accord that was his first car. Today he is driving a red six speed 2008 Civic Si two door coupe. Will is back in jail. Working with my sons added more than just a cleaner shop. It helped them learn, helped them develop skills they needed to succeed in the real world, a not so nice place at times. Both of my sons know how tough the world can be and learned that at much too young of an age. What they need now is to use what they learned. Fixing cars can gave them some discipline.
I have an idea. You have been dealing with bad behaviors for a long time. You already know what to do keep young people in line. With the shortage of help, foster kids needing a home and your natural abilities, why not learn more about these teenagers that live in your town, visit with them and offer them a job, a future and maybe even a home. There is more to life than work. Why not make your career a place for foster kids too?
Craig Van Batenburg