“It is all worth it, a year after it. It’s hard, but there’s nothing more helpful.” — Fred & Adam, foster parents in Washington State
The foster care system needs more diversity among eligible foster families. It's important to place foster children in a family that understands their unique needs. One of the ways that can happen is by broadening the community of foster families.
This is the story of one couple who decided to do just that.
Building Diversity in Fostering
Fred and Adam chose to start the process of becoming foster parents in 2008. As an LGBT couple, they wanted to start a family through adoption, so they started looking into foster agencies.
“We realized there are more kids than there are homes,” says Fred. The couple also found common ground with foster kids. Because his family hadn't accepted Fred as a gay man, the idea of a ‘chosen family’ really resonated with them. “These kids just need someone to show up for them,” notes Adam.
Ultimately, they chose to work with Amara because, “they said they worked with LGBT families and had a lot of clients that were LGBT. They talked about it and brought that info forward,” says Adam.
With encouragement from experienced friends and co-workers who had fostered, they got licensed. Soon, a boy and his sister were placed with Fred and Adam. A year later, they adopted the boy, but his sister returned to live with her biological father.
Struggling With Reunification
“When she went back to her father, it was devastating." — Fred
Fred and Adam had entered foster care intending to adopt. “We weren’t prepared for the inevitability of reunification," says Adam.
Now, Fred and Adam are happy to see more information provided to prospective foster parents about the benefits of reunification, and why it's typically the preferred outcome for all children in foster care.
“We had to come to terms with the fact that the role we played in her life for 18 months was a critically important one. Kids need to know they are loved, attached, safe,” says Fred.
Success Through Support
Fred and Adam are quick to point out that the support they received was vital to their success as foster parents. With help from their agency, they were able to form a healthy relationship with their child’s biological father and connect with other foster parents to share their experiences and ask questions.
“There is no single formula. This is not easy. But, you’re not alone. If you have the capacity to do it, there is nothing more important." — Adam.
With support from their agency, friends, and other foster families, Fred and Adam showed up in a huge way for two kids who needed their help. They gave a father the second chance he needed to reconnect with his daughter.
But their story didn't end there. Fred and Adam have now adopted three kids through the foster care system, each with their own complex story.
Want to join families like Fred and Adam and make a commitment to be there for a child who needs you? Get the info you need from our free resource: Is Foster Parenting Right For You?