- May 28, 2014
Post submitted by Amara, an HRC-recognized Leader in Supporting & Serving LGBT Families in Seattle, WA. In honor of National Foster Care Month, Amara interviewed Angela and Maria about their foster-to-adopt experience with Jocelyn. The following is an excerpt of their story.
Deciding to adopt
We never actually thought we’d become parents, but slowly, the “Mommy Bug” hit. We talked it through for a good period of time, and when we decided to move forward, settled on foster to adopt because it fit both who we are and what we believe about the world. We wanted to be parents and we believe that every child deserves to be deeply loved.
Unfortunately, there are children who don’t have permanent, loving homes; though the process is sometimes challenging, we were in a position to go through the process of providing a forever family for a child. If we could help make this a little bit easier for one child, then we wanted to do that.
Searching for a child
As happens for many families, we felt a bit lost when we started. At the outset, we had clear ideas about what kind of child we could parent successfully, but after looking at countless referrals for children we realized that we were limiting ourselves too much.
Given that we live far from both our immediate families, it became clear to us that adult independence was an important marker. Beyond that, we could be really flexible. Family networks – however you define them – are essential to raising any child; this is even more important for a child who needs extra support. The “it takes a village” isn’t just a catchphrase!
Loving a child
Welcoming a child into your home is a transition for any family. The first time we met Jocelyn, we felt like it was a great fit – and the three pennies we found on the ground in the playground that day were particularly auspicious! Some adoptive parents talk about “love at first sight.” For us, love came quickly, and continues to deepen each day. It doesn't matter that she wasn't born to us. We feel the deep connection of being her parents and are incredibly bonded in love.
Angela often says that Jocelyn is her greatest teacher. We’ve had to learn to both love and let go. Though we both went into parenting with some expectations about what the experience would be like,we’ve had to let many of those ideas go in order to be the kind of parents that she needs us to be. It stretches us daily, but it’s more than clear to us that she is worth it. And our family is worth it.
Parenting is tough and parenting a child who has been in foster care often adds both expected and unexpected layers of complexity. It’s also incredibly rewarding, and we often laugh with each other that we can’t even imagine our lives PJ (pre-Jocelyn).
Take it day by day, love the child in front of you, and give yourself a break. Don't get attached about what “it’s supposed to look like” or what the future will bring. It all works itself out.
This May, HRC is proud to celebrate National Foster Care Month by honoring the leaders at child welfare agencies that are committed to improving outcomes for LGBTQ youth, the LGBTQ foster youth themselves, and the foster families supporting them. Stay tuned to HRC blog throughout the month for more foster care stories.