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What Happens At 18?

What Happens At 18?

For teens in foster care, turning 18 offers a very different reality. They don’t have that safe place to call home. The home most of us can go to when things get hard, or family to call when we need advice. While nothing compares to the forever family every youth deserves, there are resources in place for Indiana teens at risk of “aging out” of foster care.

Being Open to Uncertainty: One Millennial Family’s Story on Taking A Chance on a Teen

Being Open to Uncertainty: One Millennial Family’s Story on Taking A Chance on a Teen

When you think of millennials, what comes to mind? Maybe college students in coffee shops, “digital natives,” or younger people who have a renewed interest in collecting “vintage” items like Polaroid cameras, vinyl records, or needlepoint. But how many of you think of millennials as adoptive parents…to teens? Maricela and Cody — in their 20s themselves — share why they decided to adopt a teen from foster care, and offer some advice for other families.

As Fate Would Have It: How A Simple Joke Turned Into a Forever Family

As Fate Would Have It: How A Simple Joke Turned Into a Forever Family

When 14-year-old Hannah found out about a boy in school who needed a family, she was eager to tell her parents Todd and Tammy (who happened to be foster parents) all about him. As fate would have it, Tammy was a substitute teacher at the time, and she often had Nayvin in class. In fact, the two had already clicked. Nayvin would even jokingly ask Tammy to adopt him. What started out as a silly joke, though, soon turned into reality.

A Change of Heart That Changed A Life

A Change of Heart That Changed A Life

When Megan and Jeremy first became foster parents, they set some very firm boundaries: Nobody over the age of 10, and ideally someone younger than their biological son. Fast forward to November 2020, when their family finalized their first adoption — of a teenage girl! Their unexpected change of heart changed the life of an Indiana teenager in foster care.

Parenting an Adopted Teen, Part II

Parenting an Adopted Teen, Part II

Last week, we wrote briefly about brain development and identity formation as they relate to parenting adopted teens. This week, we’re tackling another big topic that may be familiar to a lot of you already: parenting a teen who is nearing adulthood. Chances...
Adoption from the Rearview Mirror: A Family Reflects, 10 Years Later

Adoption from the Rearview Mirror: A Family Reflects, 10 Years Later

When we talked with Joel and Deborah in 2015, they shared their “all-in” approach to parenting: if you’re going to do it, do it all the way, with all your heart. “We were all-in from the moment we met [our boys]. We were learning them and they were learning us. We had to learn real quick,” laughs Joel. It’s been 10 years since the boys’ adoptions were finalized, and the family doesn’t think much about labels like “adopted” or “biological.”

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.

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