Hazel* turned eight in foster care. Previously, she had been living with her mother who struggled to keep her safe and provide for her. Caught in a cycle of domestic abuse, Hazel had been exposed to many traumatic instances, all of which left an imprint on her emotionally and developmentally. Before care, she had a lot of difficult behaviors, including being combative with her peers and mistrusting the adults in her life.
In honor of November being National Adoption Month, we're revisiting a blog written by Daniel Carlisle, an adoptive parent, as he shares how honoring his children’s race has changed his perspective.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller
Community support can make anything possible. And Tara Brown can attest to the fact that community and family can provide one the strength and collective power to make anything possible, including adopting a child from foster care as a single mother.
When you’re involved in something as impactful as foster care and adoption, Tara has learned that people want to be a part of the process of something meaningful, inspiring and beautiful. “Some people are meant to foster or adopt, and those who can’t, can still be a support system for those who do,” Tara says. Throughout her journey, Tara discovered the beauty and strength of true community and interdependence. She found that the hardest part about entering into the world of foster care and adoption was her own resistance to asking for help. Tara quickly learned that it is okay to not be okay, to have needs, and to have moments of weakness and doubt, as these moments have taught her how to ask and receive critical help.
“Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn't wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.” - Jodi Picoult, Second Glance
Tara Brown started fostering as a young single mom because she had a dream about helping children in the foster care system. Her story is beautiful, wonderful and nothing short of miraculous. At first glance, Tara might seem to some as an ordinary woman, but you’ll quickly find that she is far from ordinary, and has made a world of difference to one child, her newly adopted son. When you learn more about Tara’s story your first question might be, “Why would she foster and then adopt when her life presents so many obstacles that seem impossible to overcome?” Her answer to this is simple yet profound: “Faith, hope and love.”
In the U.S., 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. Of these children, 101,666 are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of them will wait over three years in care before being adopted. So, come on folks--there are kids who need you! But not so quick—this is a decision which needs thorough research, careful deliberation and thoughtful decision making.
Redemption is a powerful word and concept for myself and my family. A simple definition of redemption is: “To rescue or deliver from.” It is also my short answer to the question, “Why did you adopt?”
Recent events in the National media and celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s. Birthday have resulted in some interesting and revealing thoughts and conversations in my multiracial family.
It started with a short vacation in Southern California where I found myself and my children walking a crowed path along the beach. As I people watched, I realized that my children were beautiful spots of color in what seemed to be a sea of white, which I am a part of. Then it happened. All of my children simultaneously broke the law. In blatant disregard for the clearly posted sign reading “Keep Off Grass”, they were running and chasing each other on said grass.
Nobody can dispute the value to a child, whether in the foster care system or not, of having a Permanent Family. In my 40 something years of working within the Child Welfare System, the public policy shift to Safety, Wellbeing and Permanency has been fantastic – absolutely in the best interest of kids within the system. In the past 15 years, the number of children and youth in the foster care system has dropped by around 27%; much of this attributable to moving kids quickly to permanency.
I am so happy to be able to share about adoption this month! Not only is it National Adoption Month but FCNI is almost a licensed adoption agency, an accomplishment that took years to earn. This is also the month my adopted daughter and I celebrate the seven year anniversary of her moving in with me as well as her 20th birthday—so much to celebrate!
One of the founding principles of the Family Care Network is to “always do the very best for the children and youth we serve.” Key staff and I are always on the hunt for the most effective interventions, best practices and program models which will bring the most benefit to our clients; to enhance the wellbeing of children and families.