Foster Care Month

Joan & Diana independently wanted to adopt before they even met. After they met and decided to start a family, they began to explore their options. They decided they wanted to adopt a sibling group. “When possible, it feels important to keep siblings together for childhood and life,” says Joan.

Through Eliada they came to foster a sibling set of 5 sisters. Diana says, “Ella is very outgoing and active. Alexa is sweet and loving.  Izzie has a great sense of humor. Erica loves being a big sister to our newest addition. Kenzie is cuddly and enjoys running around with Erica. They all really enjoy music, animals, playing together, gardening, building things (we built our play structure and a rabbit hutch), eating, and spending time with the extended family in the area.  We frequently go to local parks, do homework together, every night we read and have a bedtime song, and we have taken a few bigger trips together.” 

As a family, they’ve built many memories together over the past few years. Diana’s favorite memories include helping the girls learn to ride bikes, watching the girls learn to enjoy the outdoors, and seeing them try new things. “Last year we raised chicks. The kids were excited to learn how to care for them and to watch them grow.”  

And like they thought, they’ve seen the importance of keeping the girls together as a unit. Joan comments, “Our five daughters were split between three separate homes during their time in foster care. It means a lot to me that they are now all together, and despite their normal sibling bickering, I can tell that they thrive being able to grow up all together.”

Throughout the process of fostering to adopt, they were fortunate to have supportive families and colleagues, which gave them the flexibility they needed to support the girls. Joan says that her local running club has also provided incredible support. “It is really important to have space to still be me- and not ‘Mama’- for a bit each week. And this group fulfills that essential need for me.”  

Their support system also extends to Eliada staff who helped them through the process of creating permanency for the girls. Diana says, “Without them, I don’t think these kids would be a part of our family now.” Joan adds, “We have always felt heard, celebrated, comfortable and supported by all the people at Eliada who helped us create our family.

While Joan and Diana had to wait 1.5 years for the adoption to go through, they often felt discounted as a family.  When statements are made such as “you are just a foster family” or they hear “you are the adoptive mom,” this can do damage. “I think when we put qualifiers on families, it ultimately damages attachment which effects long term family connection and child security. We are their parents and they are our kids. The kids we chose, waited for, and care for and delight in every day. No qualifiers needed.”

Ultimately, this is the story of a family, like any other. Joan says, “If you saw us, you’d see a family with a lot of kids. What you would see is five healthy children- laughing, running, having normal kid tantrums, going to school, playing with friends, eating more than you would ever imagine that their little bodies could hold, and doing all the usual kid stuff. And you’d see us as loving – slightly frantic – parents who want only the very best for our children.”

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