- November 14, 2013
This post was submitted by Susan Stapatyanon, Ph.D., program director at Our Small World Foster Family Agency in celebration of National Adoption Month. Our Small World FosterFamily Agency is a recognized Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBT Families through HRC’s All Children – All Families project. The names in this post have been changed to ensure confidentiality of the family.
During my recent visit to one of our foster homes, I received a surprise greeting at the front door.
“Hello, welcome to my home!”
The handsome boy welcomed me with a smile. I knew I was there to visit Steven, but was nonetheless surprised to see him. Less than a year ago, he arrived at our office scared and angry. It was hard to believe this was the same child who kicked our office staff, yelled expletives that shocked even our experienced social workers, and failed placement in several homes due to his aggressive behavior that was deemed “unmanageable.”
Yet here he was during this visit, happily interacting with his foster dads and showing me around his bedroom and home. His foster dads, Mark and Daniel, let me know that his adoption would soon be finalized. They were eager and excited.
"We are lucky to have him,” said Daniel. “He has changed our lives."
Maybe the Beatles were right when they sang, “All you need is love.” Well, they were at least partly right. Mark and Daniel do and have provided a great amount of unconditional love. But they have also provided other invaluable gifts to a foster child--a sense of security, lots of patience, and dedication to helping this little boy feel safe and at home. It was clear in his interactions and behavior that he knew he was loved and that he belonged. The three of them are a family in every sense and definition of the word.
Similar to Steven, there are over 400,000 children in the U.S. that have been placed in foster care. Over 100,000 of those children are waiting for adoptive and permanent homes; over half have been waiting more than two years according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. Three percent of all children in foster care currently live with LGBT foster parents.
Like Daniel and Mark, many individuals and couples choose to become foster parents because they would like to parent, but are uncertain if they are ready to adopt. In theirs and in a small percentage of other cases, they were able to adopt the child that they were fostering. However, fostering a child is usually temporary and the goal is to provide for the needs of the child until he or she is reunified with his or her birth family. Nonetheless, fostering can be a wonderful and rewarding avenue to determine your suitability as an adoptive parent while providing a nurturing environment for a child.
Our Small World Foster Family Agency is a private, non-profit agency in Orange, CA. We work collaboratively with individuals and families who are considering foster parenting, and provide training, ongoing support, and placement of children in our certified homes. As the first, and currently the only, agency in Orange County to have been awarded the Seal of Recognition from HRC’s All Children—All Families Project, we are excited to host “Our Small World of Families” in conjunction with National Adoption Month. This informational event will be held on Monday, November 18, 2013 from 6-8 pm at Church of the Foothills in Santa Ana. This event is designed to reach out to LGBT individuals, couples, and families in the Orange County area who may be interested in fostering and adopting, and is co-sponsored by HRC. Participants will learn whether foster care or adoption is right for them, how they can become foster parents, hear about the experiences of our panel of foster parents, meet our staff and board members, and have their questions answered.
Please join us on November 18 or contact us at (714) 704-4545 for more information on how to become a foster parent. Every child deserves a loving and stable home, and every capable individual and couple is welcome to provide such a home in Our Small World.