When Denise and Lee became adoptive foster parents, they were full of excited anticipation. While unsure of what to expect, they were excited to care for someone who truly needed them. That someone would turn out to be Cora--a nine year old girl who was placed in Emergency Shelter Care when her grandparents could no longer care for her. Without parents or other family, and after being repeatedly disappointed by life, Cora had little hope of finding a family of her own. Little did she know who was waiting for her.
At an FCNI event, Cora’s Shelter parents met Denise and Lee, and were taken by their compassion. After speaking with Cora’s social worker, the team decided to introduce the three to see if they might connect. Their first meeting went so well, the team arranged for more meetings, and then overnight stays. A happy surprise came for everyone when Denise and Lee asked if they could foster-adopt Cora.
With the adoption process started, Denise and Lee welcomed an excited Cora into their home. At first, Cora was her usual happy self, but soon she started acting out. At dinnertime and bedtime, she started tantruming, and she could no longer sleep through the night without repeatedly getting up. Cora’s team recognized that in the comfort and stability of her new home, Cora felt safe enough to lower her defenses which triggered the effects of her past trauma. To meet the family’s and Cora’s immediate needs, FCNI provided the family additional support.
The team focused the family’s plan on helping Denise and Lee learn how to best support Cora’s needs while Cora learned how to cope more effectively and heal from her past. Cora started meeting with a therapist weekly, and an FCNI counselor a couple days a week. Cora and her Counselor worked in Cora’s home, helping the whole family strengthen their communication and coping skills, while setting up healthy routines and boundaries. Denise and Lee also started attending a weekly FCNI Foster Parent support group so they could learn from others in similar circumstances and create a better support network. And together, the three of them participated in family therapy sessions, exploring different ways they could connect, establish new traditions and learn more about one another. Over the next several months, the new family grew stronger, bonding over their shared experiences, new skills, and their growing mutual love and trust.
While Denise and Lee were happy to become adoptive foster parents, they never expected to encounter the growth, challenges and immeasurable love that they have. While nothing is ever perfect, and fost-adoption certainly comes with its own unique challenges, they did find their “perfect-for-them” family when they adopted Cora. And because of Cora, they now have the skills, experience and hope to add more foster children into their lives--happy to face the new challenges of growing their family together.