- Foster Parent Recruitment
- November 12, 2020
Carolyne’s Humans of Adoption story is one of infertility, loss, foster care, and the future of a home full of children. The Let It Be Us Humans of Adoption series tells different stories and perspectives on what it is like to adopt a child from foster care. You can read these stories on our blog (here) and on our social media channels.
During National Adoption Awareness Month we will be working to help you understand and navigate the complications of foster care and adoption. For those who are interested in learning more, consider attending one of our informational webinars on foster care and adoption at www.letitbeus.org/events.
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After a long road of expensive and unsuccessful fertility treatments, costly private adoption was out of reach, but when a friend suggested exploring foster care, I was too worried about how hard it would be to let go of children when they returned to their birth families – I mean I cried when I had to give up my first car! But I went to an informational meeting and everything changed. A case worker talked about a 17 year old who was desperate to find a forever family before he aged out of care. I felt a calling and we applied to become licensed foster parents.
During the process to become licensed foster parents, we learned about a little boy who needed a home. He had some medical needs and an upcoming surgery. We met him and knew we wanted him with us. We chased down case workers, pushed to transfer our license to the agency in charge of the little boy so he could be placed with us and ultimately adopted him after two years. Years later his half-brother was in need of a permanent home and the case worker came to us. But she warned of difficult behaviors. We were not deterred, as we have always believed strongly that a supportive home can be life-changing for a child. I’ll never forget the day I was leaving for work and heard my oldest yell “bye Mom!” followed by “say bye to Mom!” whispered loudly to his brother. I don’t think they had any idea how special that moment was for me. Both of them have grown up to be sweet, sensitive and kind young adults. I can’t talk about them without tearing up.
While my two boys ended up staying with us permanently, we have also fostered children who have not stayed with us. I stopped counting how many when we reached 20. Each of these children needed love and support for a period in their lives and we were humbled to be their parents if only temporarily. We always decided as a family whether we were ready for another placement. One time, when we’d decided that we were going to take a break for a little while, I got a call while in the car. I put the phone on speaker, and when the boys heard me tell the case worker that we couldn’t take the child in because we had decided as a family to take a break from fostering – they immediately started yelling, “we’ll take him! We’re coming!”
One day we got a call about a preemie who needed a home. My husband was nervous about having a girl, but could not wait for her to arrive. When she came, my son asked, “will she stay with us?” (meaning permanently) and I told him I wasn’t sure, we’d have to ask God, and he replied, “hand me your phone.” We may not have contacted God by phone, but she ultimately did stay with us.
Our youngest son came in like the others, as a child in the foster care system who needed a home for an undetermined amount of time. Eventually he stayed with us and became another permanent member of our family. His biological mother is a part of our extended family as well. He talks to her often and we visit when we can. Like all of our children, it is important to them – and to us – that we have relationships with biological family. We feel there is no limit to love and want as many included in our circle as possible. And we learn more about their children by getting to know their biological family – like our daughter’s penchant for chewing ice, and the way our son pokes his toe on the ground when he’s nervous. We love every part of our children – certainly including their biological families.
And lastly is our baby girl – she is 3 years old and I like to call her the exclamation point on our family. Joining our family and then starting school in a pandemic, she keeps us on our toes. She came to us already on the road to adoption and I can’t think of a better way to complete our family.
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Let It Be Us is a 501(c)(3) Child Welfare Agency licensed through the State of Illinois. Our programs and initiatives significantly change outcomes for the children we serve. We increase the number of Illinois licensed foster homes through recruitment programs and events, we educate new foster parents and directly refer them to agencies via our experienced licensing coaches, we manage a database of open and licensed homes to serve children in emergent need and those who are challenging to place by working with caseworkers and investigators to make faster and stronger placements. We also offer direct support to children the children foster care that we serve. We operate through grants and donations. We operate solely in Illinois. Learn more about our programs here.