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Why We Focus on Youth Voices

Why We Focus on Youth Voices

While we focus on celebrating adoption during National Adoption Month, it’s also important to hear what young people in foster care are saying about what they need in a family, what they want, what’s most important to them. Encouraging youth to have a voice in their permanency planning is empowering and keeps the focus where it should be: on what is in the child’s best interests.

Personally Speaking

Personally Speaking

We often ask the youth in our program to share what family means to them. What do they hope their new family will be like? What would they want prospective families to know? What do they love? What are some of their pet peeves? It turns out that what’s true of most people also holds true for the children and youth in need of adoptive families: ask them questions, be genuinely interested in the answers, and you’ll learn a lot!

Redefining Progress and Success

Redefining Progress and Success

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. Parenting an adopted child can have its ups and downs. 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.

Not Taking ‘Firsts’ For Granted

Not Taking ‘Firsts’ For Granted

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.

Being Open to the Right Advice

Being Open to the Right Advice

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.

Believe in Yourself

Believe in Yourself

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.

It’s A Forever Thing

It’s A Forever Thing

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.

One Weird Family Tree

One Weird Family Tree

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.

Bigger and Better

Bigger and Better

Linnea was 14 years old when she first visited Blythe and Tom’s home. She remembers not wanting to be adopted because she did not want to lose her siblings. Adopted at 17, Linnea is now a mother of two and works with youth who have experienced many of the same issues that brought her into foster care.

The Most Important Thing

The Most Important Thing

Susan and Brent became foster parents when they found out that a classmate of Susan’s daughter Vanessa was in need of a home. Being a foster parent was different from any parenting they’d ever done. They focused on attachment and bonding with each of their kids.

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