- Adoptive Parent Recruitment , Foster and Adoption Licensing , Foster Parent Recruitment
- August 3, 2019
This year teacher Katie Strugielski will be buying school supplies for her own kids. She and her husband searched for an advocate to help make their desire for children a reality. They found that reality here at Let It Be Us through our Targeted Recruitment Program which matches children in emergent need or those who are challenging to place with waiting families. Katie’s story is the latest in our Voices of Adoption series…
Being a fifth-grade teacher, I understand the role a caring adult plays in the lives of children. For me, a teacher is someone children can go to for help and guidance. Being one of five siblings, I appreciate the camaraderie of family and the importance of a stable, accepting home. We were raised by loving parents. My husband Casey and I looked forward to having a family of our own, but after several years of marriage and multiple attempts to become pregnant, the babies didn’t come. We turned to our faith which led us to the foster care system of Illinois. There are so many kids who need love and support. We were ready to give.
We got licensed as foster parents in October 2018. The process included background checks, letters of reference, house visits and medical physicals. We didn’t specify any criteria on race or gender but because we are in our early thirties, we wanted children below the age of 12.
Once licensed we got some calls, but none were a good fit. We felt a bit frustrated but continued to pray and trust in God that a child would come. We didn’t know how to advocate for ourselves. Our social worker was helpful in getting us licensed but after that we were on our own, looking at websites and communicating with DCFS.
It was a fluke that one day I was on Facebook and saw a friend had posted information about a meeting on foster care and adoption hosted by Let It Be Us, a nonprofit that recruits foster and adoptive parents. We decided to attend. It was comforting to be with families in the same position as us. The information given at the meeting was very helpful. Susan McConnell, the executive director, impressed us as a person who got things done, someone we wanted in our corner. She was very encouraging and had the connections we were looking for.
Through the Let It Be Us Targeted Recruitment Program we were matched with our wonderful children who are siblings, a girl who is 9 years old and a boy who is 11 years old. She is fun, silly and loves to dance, play with dolls and listen to music. He is a thoughtful older brother who likes playing with Legos, solving math problems, and anything regarding superheroes. He and my husband read superhero books together.
Welcoming them into our home has been exciting and challenging. It’s a big adjustment for everyone, but we embrace it wholeheartedly. It’s amazing how life can change in minutes. Every decision we make now impacts two other people. It has humbled me. We will always be there for them giving them the love and support they deserve. I will also be our son’s fifth grade teacher. I work in a small, private school where there is only one fifth grade class. I’m looking forward to it. ‘Back to school’ will have a whole new meaning for us this year.
The Strugielski’s found their placement through the Let It Be Us Targeted Recruitment Program. The Program’s experienced recruitment team assists caseworkers in serving children who primarily are in emergent need or who are challenging to place, giving caseworkers access to parents who are licensed, waiting, and interested in the make-up of that specific child; thereby creating better placements and faster placements. We give children in need access to a wide array of licensed, safe and loving homes. Licensed parents may join our registry here.
We hope you enjoy learning about foster care and adoption in Illinois through these stories of love, generosity and kindness. If you or someone you know are curious about how to get licensed as a foster or adoptive parent in Illinois, please visit LetitBeUs.org. This series of inspiring stories are brought to you through 365 Barrington, a digital publication, and a grant from the Barrington Area Community Foundation.
Let It Be Us also hosts a series of “Fireside Chats” on Foster Care & Adoption at Barrington’s White House. These events are funded through a grant from the Barrington Area Community Foundation. Click here for their latest schedule of upcoming sessions and reserve your spot today.
If you would like to help Let It Be Us unite more children with foster and adoptive families, please click here to make a donation.