FOSTERING COMMUNITY blog
orDINARY PEOPLE MAKING AN EXTRAORDINARY DIFFERENCE
orDINARY PEOPLE MAKING AN EXTRAORDINARY DIFFERENCE
November is National Adoption Month - a time to spread awareness about the adoption process, share the stories of those who have been adopted or have adopted, and advocate for more than 100,000 children and youth in foster care across the country who are still waiting to be. Read on for some important points about foster care and adoption:
Read on to learn about one Houston family's story of adoption through foster care:
"My husband and I have been foster parents for four years and we will adopt our fourth child on national adoption day this month. We met and married at a young age and were introduced to the need for foster homes through a camp that we volunteered at for kids who had been through trauma, a lot of whom were in foster care. We heard the stories of the kinds of impact foster families had in their lives and we just couldn’t unhear what we had heard. On a deep level we know that God calls His church to care for the orphaned and to defend the fatherless. On a practical level, we wanted to be parents and there were kids who needed parents. We had empty bedrooms and there were kids who needed a place to stay. So we were licensed on my 21st birthday and immediately placed with three siblings. We had the privilege of knowing and loving them for five months and then they returned to live with family. Over that following summer we added four other children into our home. Two infants and two toddlers. All of their cases were different and the goals changed between reunification and adoption many times over the next couple of years for each of them. Fast forward to today and we have adopted three of those children and will be adopting the fourth later this month.
"Describing the intense joy and heartbreak of adoption is hard. If I am honest, I went into foster care with the intent of rescuing poor children from terrible places and adopting them into my wonderful family to live happily ever after.
I can think specifically of our youngest who we got from the hospital at a week old. When they put that baby boy into my arms all I wanted to do was fight with everything I had to be able to keep him. The Lord truly has done a work in my heart over these years to see more clearly. The goal in foster care is first reunification, if safe and if possible. See, that once tiny baby I had begged the Lord to let stay is now my forever son. While my heart bursts with joy that he shares my last name, part of me weeps for what had to be broken to make this happen. His first mama didn't leave the hospital with the baby she had carried for 9 months, she didn't get to cheer as he learned to crawl, she didn't hear his first words, nor see his first steps. She hasn't been able to know the incredible little human he is. My heart breaks for her and all the while is filled with immeasurable joy for the future I get with him. Reconciling these things is absolutely the hardest, most painful, broken, and yet beautiful thing I will ever go through.
"For two of our kids, we have been able to keep an open adoption with their birth family. The relationship we have with them is truly a gift I will always be thankful for. We keep in contact with the other two families in different ways that we feel is the safest for our family. Some children adopted from foster care won’t maintain any contact with their birth family. Each child and situation is different. Adopting through foster care is messy. Foster care will take you on a roller coaster of emotions. There will be seasons where you are cheering on bio families and walking along side them to help get their babies back into their arms. Then other seasons where you are going before a judge stating that you believe permanency in your home and family is in that child's best interest. There will be adoptions that happen less then a year after being placed with the child, while other times the future might still look very unknown even after years of being their foster parent.
"There are currently over 400,000 children in foster care in the US right now. More than 100,000 who are legally free and are just waiting to be adopted. It is easy to look at that number and merely see a statistic, but the four kids that I just tucked into bed were once a part of that number. It is when we hear their stories and see their faces and know them by name, that it becomes more than numbers and statistics. They are His image bearers and it is a privilege to raise them as sons and daughters. To see beauty rise from ashes and mourning turned into great joy."
- Savannah, foster and adoptive mom in Houston, TX
(Photography by www.emmaleedeville.com/photography)
Last month, Houston Angels was invited to speak at a virtual continuing education workshop hosted by the Children's Assessment Center. The Children's Assessment Center works to prevent, assess, investigate, and treat child sexual abuse in Houston. During the workshop, our Director of Programs, Hannah, explained how their multidisciplinary team members can access the services that Houston Angels provides to vulnerable children and families in Houston.
"We all want to believe that our children are safe and that we can protect them from harm, but child sexual abuse is real, and recovery begins with the truth." - Children's assessment center
When it comes to child sexual abuse:
Sexual abuse is one of several reasons that a child could be removed from his or her home and placed into foster care. And the risk doesn't end there - unfortunately, children in foster care are still vulnerable to further abuse. According to the CAC, children living without either parent (in foster care) are 10x more likely to be sexually abused than children that live with two biological parents.
But it doesn't have to be this way - and we're grateful to work alongside so many incredible local organizations, like the CAC, that care for our community's most vulnerable.