Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A coffee break with Jason

Today we’re excited to share another family’s foster care and adoption journey with you! Jason and Chuck have adopted five children from foster care in the past four and half years.

Hi! Thanks for sharing your great story with us! Tell us a little about your family and how your journey began.

Jason: We’ve fostered seven children in the past four and half years. We adopted five of them. The other two were infants and we wanted to adopt them also. Their mother was sick from child birth, but was able to get well enough to get her children back. It was wonderful she got better and we were happy to help. When they were able to go home, we sent them home with bags of new clothes. The parents were grateful for everything we did for those girls. Sometimes people tell us they could never foster because it would break their hearts to ever see the kids leave and go back to their birth parents.

I learned that this is a backwards way of thinking. We do not foster just to make ourselves feel good. We foster to give children a safe and loving home. Sometimes that can be for a lifetime, but sometimes it is just for a few weeks. The truth of the matter is that even though we fostered those girls for just a few weeks, we felt good knowing we helped them and their family in a time of need.

How did you end up adopting?

We got a phone call about a baby girl and her one year old brother. They were in a foster home and in need of an adoptive home. We drove to their town to meet them. A couple of days later they were in our home and a year later we were in court adopting them! Besides these two children, we also adopted three other boys. Two of these boys are biological brothers, and the third boy is their cousin. It was important to us to keep those family connections.

What advice would you give to other people considering becoming foster or adoptive parents?

I remember getting my hair cut by a young woman at Cost Cutters and telling her about my kids and the adoptions. She and her husband had no children. She always wanted to adopt, but her husband feared if they tried to adopt a foster child the child might go back to the birth parents. He didn’t want to risk that pain. Every time I got my hair cut I told her about the free classes to learn more about fostering and adoption. I explained that sometimes there are children in foster care who are already available for adoption, and there is no fear of those kids returning home.

I always wondered if this woman took my advice, and about a year later I ran into her at a rummage sale. She came up to me all in smiles, and she was excited to tell me they were in the process of adopting a baby girl! Last week I ran into her again and her two year old daughter was with her. I felt so happy inside knowing this child would be raised in such a loving home. I always wonder how many other loving families would adopt or foster if they knew the facts about it. And if they knew the blessings.

Make no mistake. It takes a lot of hard work. Parenting any child is work. But when you adopt children from the foster care system, they often have more issues than your average kid. They need a safe and loving home and parents they can depend on. It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done in many ways. But it’s also the best blessing we’ve ever had in our life.

People always say to us, “Thank God that these children were lucky enough to get you as parents.” I always tell them they have that backwards. We are the lucky ones to have these children in our lives!

Iowa's truly lucky to have some amazing foster and adoptive parents. If you're on Facebook, be sure to check out our Blind Side giveaway today. Each Wednesday in November we're giving away one copy of the hit film The Blind Side. See details here on Facebook. Thanks!

3 comments:

Sunday Kofffon Taylor said...

I really loved this post!

“Sometimes people tell us they could never foster because it would break their hearts to ever see the kids leave and go back to their birth parents.”
That is the goal of the foster care system when family preservation is possible.

“I learned that this is a backwards way of thinking.” I agree


“The truth of the matter is that even though we fostered those girls for just a few weeks, we felt good knowing we helped them and their family in a time of need.”

What a wonderful thing to be able to do.

“It was important to us to keep those family connections.”

Yes it is!

“She always wanted to adopt, but her husband feared if they tried to adopt a foster child the child might go back to the birth parents.”

Now, this attitude flat out scares me as a former foster child myself! While some natural parents are incapable of parenting their children, they are where those children came from; they will always be a part of their beings. Loving and caring about ones a natural parent is not a slap in the face of foster or adoptive parents. Children have an infinite ability to love, and anyone who would feel threatened by the existence, connection, or love of natural parents probably should not be foster or adopting ANY children from ANYWHERE.

To dishonor a child’s origins is to dishonor the child it’s self, end of story.

Stacey said...

Thanks for your thoughts Sunday! That's a wonderful point about the importance of honoring children's family connections whenever possible. We love hearing the stories of families who are able to keep their foster and adoptive children connected to siblings and other birth family when it's possible!

For those who may be wondering - there are many myths about foster care adoption, and the fear of a birth parent regaining custody of a child after he or she has been adopted is a common one. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption did a great study of the misperceptions around foster care adoption, showing that two-thirds of those considering adoption fear the biological parent will be able to take back custody of the child. The truth is that once parental rights are terminated, the parent cannot regain custody of the child. If anyone is interested in seeing some of the other common myths, the Dave Thomas website is a great place to start! http://bit.ly/bjT4ls

Stacey said...

Oops, we'll post the full link to the Dave Thomas Foundation site here: http://www.davethomasfoundation.org/Adoption-Facts/Myths

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