Ana-Munoz
Ana Munoz’s journey in foster care began when she was four years old. Her family came to the attention of social services after a neighbor reported that Ana and her three siblings were being mistreated. Both parents abused drugs and did not know how to care for the children. Ana and her siblings were placed in eight foster homes before they met Aracely and Raul Munoz.

Ana, now a teenager, held an internship position in the summer of 2015 at Children’s Bureau with our Foster Care and Adoption Assistants. She helped to create files for new prospective families, prepared binders for pre-service training and spoke to a group of adopted persons in our APSS program where she shared her story and how she overcame negative feelings about being adopted.

 

Tell us about your foster care experience.

My siblings and I were afraid when we moved to different families and I was very protective of them. Sometimes the foster parents were not understanding of my behavior and I would be punished. It would have been better if they would have talked with me about my feelings and concerns. I was then labeled with emotional and behavioral challenges and we were at risk of being separated. I was afraid that I would never find a permanent place where we could all live together.

When I first met my now adoptive parents, they gave me a Princess Belle doll with a brush. I still have it today as it means a lot to me. These amazing people saw beyond my challenges and adopted me and my siblings, all of us were under the age of five. They have also advocated on my behalf to resolve my U.S. citizenship which has been a long process. They have given me and my siblings everything we need to grow, be happy and feel secure. I know that we all have a bright future because of them.

 

What do you want potential foster parents to know about foster kids.

I want them to know that everyone deserves a chance to live with a wonderful family and have opportunities to accomplish their goals. Taking care of kids, whether it is your birth child or one you foster or adopt, is filled with joyful moments and some challenging ones. The only difference is that foster kids know that you picked them to love and support. They appreciate that you have opened your heart to them.

 

Tell us about your adoption.

My life has been amazing since I was adopted. I had been chosen to be adopted and live in a family household where my parents would love and care for me and my siblings. In the beginning, it was a hard transition because I was so young and didn’t fully understand that my adoptive parents were not going anywhere; they were going to be my parents forever.

I always think about what my life would be like if I wasn’t adopted. I know that I would have never had any of the opportunities that I have now. I go to school every day, take honors classes and maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA. I have made so many new friends such as Amanda, Marcela, Samantha, Olivia and Kyle. In addition, I am involved in extracurricular activities including concert choir, ASB and I founded a high school club called Sponsor A Child that raises money for kids who are in need. I also play field hockey on the Varsity Team and have been contacted by colleges regarding scholarships. I have so many opportunities that might not have been with my birth parents. I have a future where I can accomplish anything and not by myself but with my family and friends.

 

How important is it that you’re being raised with your siblings?

As we lost our birth parents, I feel that it is very important to be raised with my siblings. You need someone by your side who you feel comfortable with, especially during the hard times. If my siblings were not by my side, I would have been constantly wondering about their safety and if I was ever going to see them again. It would have been devastating to lose them and my birth parents as these are the people who were closest to me.

 

What prompted you to become an intern at Children’s Bureau?

I would like to follow in my parents’ footsteps as they have played a large role in my life by bringing me and my siblings into their lives. I would like to someday foster and/or adopt a child of my own. I have a desire to help children and become a social worker like Amy Heilman at Children’s Bureau. I want to help families like she did for mine. The internship has shown me what social workers do from a different perspective. It’s about helping the kids and there is also a lot of paperwork involved.

 

What do you want other children who have been adopted and struggling to know?

I want these kids to know that everything will be alright. I know it’s hard thinking about when you will be adopted but God has a path for you. Don’t think you are alone and keep things inside. Talk to a friend, family member, teacher, coach or anyone close to you.

Also, if you are adopted, you should not feel ashamed at all. You should feel special because you got to pick your parents and they chose you because they love you. Also, being a foster and/or adopted child is a special moment in your life that creates and shapes you as a person. You have a story to tell that others may not have.

 

What is important for adoptive parents to know about how kids feel about being adopted?

Parents should know that even though kids have been adopted, they may still have feelings for their birth parents. I know I did and was curious to know more about them. Adoptive parents need to realize that their kids can love more than one set of parents. Also, as I got older, I had so many questions about what adoption meant. Parents need to be open to answering these questions as we are trying to understand what all of this change in our lives really means.