November is National Adoption Month
November is National Adoption Month and Children’s Bureau is proud to have completed 1,579 adoptions and we continue to find permanent homes for more than 100 children each year. Here is the story of Patty and Raid Bulus who grew their family through adoption with Children’s Bureau. The couple wanted to start a family but were unable to have kids biologically, even after several fertility treatment attempts. They started looking at different adoption options, including international adoption and the foster/adopt process. The couple thought the foster/adopt route made sense and began the journey to become Resource Parents with Children’s Bureau.
How did you find Children’s Bureau and why did you choose to foster/adopt through this agency?
We found Children’s Bureau while investigating foster/adopt agencies through online searches. Children’s Bureau was the one agency that seemed to have the most information, and the foster/adopt process was well explained on their website. We decided to attend the information meeting that same month, then started our pre-certification process with Children’s Bureau soon after.
Tell me about your experience with Children’s Bureau. How has the organization helped you on this journey?
The pre-certification process really helped us to understand the foster/adopt process. We learned about the Model of Practice Children’s Bureau has implemented called P.R.I.D.E. (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education), which emphasizes assessing for the resource parent’s willingness, ability and resources to 1) protect and nurture children, 2) meet development needs and address delays, 3) support children’s relationships with their birth families, 4) to connect the child to safe and nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime, and 5) work as a member of a professional team. This prepared us to understand the needs of children who are in foster care. Before starting, our thinking was “we want to adopt a child;” however during the training, we learned that “a child needs a family”. That theme was stressed throughout the entire process, and we realized that this is all “for the kids”. Our first child joined the family, 5 week-old Lisa, less than a week after we became certified. We thought we were ready, but as soon as baby Lisa got to our home, we felt completely overwhelmed and unprepared, as I am sure any new parent would feel. Our Children’s Bureau social worker, Patty, was with us every step of the way, encouraging us and assuring us that we would get the hang of parenthood in no time. And of course she was right, but even after we knew we could handle things, she assured us that we are never alone in this, and we have Children’s Bureau supporting us if we needed anything.
Tell me about the children you have adopted.
Elizabeth (2.5 years), Anthony (18 months), and Jocelyn (6 months) were siblings who joined our family in April of 2014. They were our 6th, 7th and 8th children to join the family. They were all together in a foster family, but that foster family did not want to provide legal permanency through adoption. We bonded almost instantly. We participated in the transition plan that included several visits, each visit lasting longer than the previous one. The attachment was so strong between the kids and us that whenever we would drop them back off at the prior foster home, they would cry because they wanted to stay with us. In June of 2015, we finalized the adoptions for all three kids, and the joy was obvious among all 5 of us. Elizabeth even made up a song “Today is Adoption Day!”, and was singing it the entire day. All three kids are wonderful children, each with their own distinct personalities. We have adapted very easily to each other, including our extended families.
How has becoming an adoptive parent changed your life?
For starters, our dream of becoming parents has been achieved. While we helped other foster children and loved them all as if they were our own, there was still something missing because we knew that they might depart from our family at any time. As soon as we learned that we had received an adoption finalization date for these three children, we felt that everything was finally as it should be. We were finally a complete family. We find that our life is filled with more joy and purpose, even though we are now much busier. Waking up in the mornings to, “Good morning, Mommy! Good morning, Daddy! We Love you!”, is much more fulfilling than waking up to a noisy alarm clock, as is coming home to hear all their laughter and cute chit chat.
What advice would you give other parents who are considering to foster/adopt?
Be prepared to feel emotions you never knew you had. You will feel ecstatic when a child joins your family. You will feel confused as you learn about their biological families and their continued ties to “your” children. You will feel disappointed as you learn about the foster system and its unexpected challenges. You will feel extreme sadness when a child separates from your family. However, keep in mind that you are doing this for the children. Even if a child stays only one day in your family, give them all the love every kid deserves, because it will make a difference in their life. And most of all, don’t give up, your child is out there, and you will one day be united.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Our first foster child, Lisa, was returned to her biological family after more than a year of being in our care. As you can imagine, it was very difficult for us to deal with her separation from our family. However, we have no regrets whatsoever and feel blessed that we had the chance to take care of Lisa, and indirectly help her mother get her life back on track. We still see Lisa quite often and have become very close with her mother. In fact, we are Lisa’s God parents. Our children think of Lisa as their sister, and spend a lot of time together.