Ask anyone who has adopted from foster care about their child, and you’re sure to hear some great things. If they’re honest, they may share some not so great things, too. Just like with biological children, parenting an adopted child can have its ups and downs. Many experienced foster and adoptive parents will tell you that the key to making it through these challenging times is not to focus on changing the child. It might be better to change your definition of success and progress.
Berta, a full-time teacher and foster mom, first met 9-year-old Zoe when Zoe started 3rd grade at Berta’s school. That was the year that Zoe was removed from her home due to neglect. As a foster parent, Berta understood Zoe’s situation – and as a teacher, she was especially aware of the impact that entering foster care could have on Zoe’s education.
Brandy and Matt decided to adopt through foster care because of the number of children in the system who need homes. They became foster parents who were supportive of reunification, but were also open to pre-adoptive placements. Now a family of 6, they admit that adopting 4 kids wasn’t in their initial plan. But, they also adamantly insist that their family is “messy, but perfect in our messiness.”
After interviewing for several children and not being selected as the right family for any of them, Scott and Lori Wilson reached out to their adoption consultant for advice. Being open to that advice, and a different approach, allowed the Wilsons to add 3 children to their family almost immediately.
If you have biological kids, you might have some questions about how adoption will affect them. Should you worry about birth order? What if you only have one child – will they resent giving up their only child status? How much of a “say” should you give your biological children in your decision to foster or adopt? We asked a biological child to share her experience of going from being an only child to being the oldest of 6.
Donna and Jason Kempf’s adoption journey didn’t end after they adopted two children with special needs. Their daughter Eva-Grace, adopted in November 2019, is medically fragile, and requires a special diet, custom medical equipment, and vigilant monitoring. Read on to learn more about this phenomenal child and her parents.
Donna and Jason Kempf have spent years turn obstacles into opportunities for their 3 adopted children, each of whom has special needs. Read Part 1 of their adoption journey, which began in Russia and then took them right here to Indiana.
Shannon and Hubert Schulz do not shy away from a challenge. They fostered and adopted not 1, not 2, but 6 children from Indiana Adoption Program, each with their own unique set of circumstances and struggles. But the Schulzes have always been clear on this point: the world should expect great things from their kids.
Sometimes you find family in the most unexpected of places. For Andrew and Dakota, it was through mentoring. As Dakota’s mentor, Andrew built a relationship of trust with Dakota, which led to Andrew becoming a licensed foster parent and Dakota becoming part of Andrew’s family.
Zanita and Wilhelm have been fostering for over a decade, and they don’t shy away from fostering older children and teens. They bring a different dynamic to Zanita and Wilhelm’s family.
Family trees can be complicated for children who have experienced foster care and adoption. Andrew and Jamiell share how they view their family tree now that Jamiell’s adoption is finalized.
Taylor and Nathan met their son at an Indiana Adoption Program meet & greet event. Some of their advice for potential adoptive parents: when it comes to adoption, sometimes you just have to “prepare for, and embrace, the chaos…because it’s worth it!”
For some adoptive parents, like Michael and Timothy, they “just know” when they met a child or sibling group that they’re meant to be family. And when the adoption finally happens, there’s “magic in the air.”
Jeff and Autumn say it was difficult to live with the uncertainty of foster care—not knowing if the child you care for will be with you forever. But they wouldn’t have changed their family’s path for anything.
Melissa has provided foster care and respite care to over 70 children, she has 20+ years of experience working with clients with disabilities, and she has 4 children … for now.