Lisa and Andrew knew they wanted another child in their family. After talking with two friends who are Children’s Bureau resource parents and seeing the need for so many children to find loving homes in our community, it was clear foster care was the right choice for them.
The foster care and foster-to-adopt experience is different for every family. Read Lisa & Andrew’s interview with Children’s Bureau to learn firsthand about becoming resource parents, adoption, and reunifying children with their birth parents.
CB: How did you find Children’s Bureau and why did you choose to foster or foster-adopt through this agency?
We started attending a small group at church and two families were fostering through Children’s Bureau. They both loved CB and we knew it would be the right agency for us!
CB: What was the process of becoming a resource parent and how long did it take?
The process was not very long. It really depends on how quickly you can provide your documents.
CB: What inspired you to become resource parents, and how has it changed your life?
We really wanted to have another child and private adoption was out of the question for us. Once we become resource parents, we saw the need for so many children to find loving and caring families.
When birth parents’ rights were terminated, family visits stopped. I feel like our kids always knew they belonged in our family, but now they knew they would be our forever family.
CB: How have you helped the children transition back to their families? What was that like for you?
A child who joined our family through foster care started having extended family time with her birth mom. We figured reunification was going to happen. We told our children that she would most likely be going home to her birth mom. We did not know when, but in the meantime, we would continue to treat her as family and love and parent her while she was here. Even though we tried to prepare our family, it was extremely difficult to see her go. Together we have supported each other through tears, hugs, and open communication.
CB: What were the birth parents/family like and how much contact do you have with them?
Communication is still open with the birth mom, and we get to video chat on occasion.
CB: How did you incorporate the birth parents/family into your child’s life?
On a few occasions we had dinner at a restaurant with birth mom. I wanted her to see how we interacted with her child. Plus, this allowed her to see how our family could love and accept her too.
CB: How has Children’s Bureau helped you on this journey?
We are very thankful for the support and cooperation from Children’s Bureau. We knew that if we needed them, they were always available.
CB: What activities/therapies have the children joining your family through foster care experienced?
Two of the children who joined our family attended Day Treatment Intensive services. It is a phenomenal class for children aged 4. Both also had therapy through Children’s Bureau, and one went through the Wrap-Around program.
CB: How did you manage your and other family member’s feelings when a child goes to live with another family?
Once we knew that reunification would most likely happen, we always told our children that the child may be moving to their mommy’s house. That way, when it happened, they were not surprised. We would spend one-on-one time with each child so we could have the space to talk about what changes might be happening and how we felt about them.
CB: What challenges have you faced as a resource parent and what have you learned?
Nothing ever goes the way you think it should! What we have learned is to be accepting and flexible, especially for the court system. We had several continuations.
CB: Tell us about your children today and their interests.
We have 3 children, ages 15, 9 & 6. Our oldest loves having younger siblings! She also enjoys make-up and learning Spanish at school. Mya, our 9-year-old is a straight A student; she also enjoys art and lives for gymnastics. Cameron, age 6, loves playing sports! His favorites are football, basketball, and skateboarding. Our children have adapted well, and we couldn’t be happier!
Additionally, the two children who joined our family and reunified with their birth families will always have a place in our hearts.
April (not her real name) joined our family in 2015 at 15 months old. She was with us for 1 year, 9 months before she reunified with her mom. Due to unfortunate circumstances, April rejoined our family in Dec 2017.
Our goal was always adoption, but we knew we had to foster first. Reunification was always the best option for the child. When April returned, we had court hearings every six months, but the birth mom was not ready to reunify. April had a lot of behaviors; she was defiant, throwing things, hitting, and having tantrums of jumping up and down and crying.
Through the years we were able to get April the help she needed. She learned how to self-soothe and how to use her words, and we learned to be consistent. We had to learn how to handle her challenging behaviors and what to say to her when she clearly said No! It was difficult. Fast forward 4 years, and April recently reunified with her birth mom. It has been bittersweet. We miss her dearly, but we are so grateful that we get to video chat with her.
Cameron joined our family in June 2016 at two months old. Then we got a call seven months later that his older sister (age 4) needed a permanent family and Mya joined our family in March 2017. Then another call came in July 2019, their birth mom had a 1-year-old baby girl. She joined our family from July 2019 to Feb 2021 before she was reunified with her mom. All three children share the same parents and we adopted Cameron and Mya in August 2020! It was very hard to see their baby sister return to her birth mom, but we have been able to have day visits and video calls and plan to maintain their relationships.