Laura decided at a young age that she wanted to be an adoptive parent and seeing how many children needed stability and a loving family in the communities around her further solidified that desire. Since then, her and her husband Brad became resource parents with Children’s Bureau and have adopted one of the children they fostered, while also in the process of adopting the two-year-old they are currently fostering. Read their interview with Children’s Bureau below to learn more about their story.
CB: How did you find Children’s Bureau and why did you choose to foster or foster-adopt through this agency?
I learned about Children’s Bureau in my doctor’s office. There was a flyer on the table, and I kept it.
CB: What was the process of becoming a resource parent and how long did it take?
It took us about one year to become approved due to paperwork issues. The family assessment process and classes lasted about four months and obtaining the recommendations from friends spanning the country took about three months. Critical documents such as birth certificates were stored in another state, so that was an additional delay.
CB: What inspired you to become resource parents and how has it changed your life?
I wanted to adopt a child since I was eleven years old because I knew people who were adopted and saw the love, bond, and acceptance between their parents and them. I also saw in the communities around me that there were so many neglected children that just needed stability and daily love. I thought I could provide that. As an adult, I feel that society should help those already here and provide support early and advocate for children, rather than having to spend money, time, and resources on rehabilitation later.
Brad saw an 18-year-old boy speak on television about feeling so sad that no one adopted him and now that he had aged out of the system, he had no family to rely on for emotional support. This young man was struggling to stay positive while also scared of this large, complicated, and unfriendly world. He did not know how he would survive, much less thrive. Brad was just broken hearted and when he tells this story to anyone, he ends up in tears. Making a difference for a child was supremely high on his list.
CB: What were the birth parents/family like and how much contact do you have with them?
For my now forever son, the birth mom was in and out of jail until she was sentenced for multiple years in prison. She met my husband and I a couple of times and was comfortable with us adopting him. Her boyfriend at the time was not the biological father and did not complete necessary coursework at the end of one year, so he was not able to qualify to adopt.
My second child did not reunite with her birth mom, although she completed most of her coursework. At the end of the process, the birth mom did not feel she would be able to bond or provide for her child on her own.
Family time is different for each child. For my son, the boyfriend of the birth mom visited with us at Children’s Bureau approximately 6 – 8 hours weekly for one year. For my second child we met with their birth mother for 2 – 4 hours weekly for about one year.
CB: How has Children’s Bureau helped you on this journey?
Children’s Bureau helped us cope with the demands of fostering, especially throughout the pandemic.
CB: What activities/therapies have the children joining your family through foster care experienced?
We had support via therapists for both babies through Westside Regional Center. Our private daycare kept them safe and fostered learning while my husband and I worked. We had love and support from extended family and friends across the country. We took many trips around Los Angeles and was able to visit family in Oregon and Ohio, with permission from the birth parents.
CB: What challenges have you faced as a resource parent and what have you learned?
Multiple staff changes occurred at DCFS and at Children’s Bureau, which was difficult. However, I believed in the process and being the best resource mom possible remained my focus. I have learned that being an advocate for a child is very rewarding.
CB: Tell us about your child(ren) today and their interests.
My soon to be forever daughter is reading at two, loves dinosaurs, rock climbing and creating art at her daycare.
My adopted son, at three, has a tremendous passion for cars and trucks, running track, and is a natural extrovert. He is never afraid to speak to people and inquire on what they are doing and why. He is a charmer. He also loves to swim.