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It is amazing what you can do...
Cindy J., an adoptive parent in Houston, Texas
We became foster parents in June 1995. The first child Child Protective Services called us about was a little 2 year old Hispanic boy at a shelter. I went to meet him and he was just a wild child! After three more visits, I brought him home.
It was a learning experience! Lalo did not speak any English and it was like playing charades for about a month. It amazes me how fast a child can learn English. We got a lot of early intervention for Lalo, such as early childhood development and finally Headstart. I also got help from other foster parents who were a wealth of information.
We also heard that Lalo had a younger brother named Joey who was in another foster home from birth. Child Protective Services tried to place Lalo with a relative but couldn't. Just before the boys were going to became available for adoption, the birth father expressed an interest in them and they were placed with him. Since Lalo was our first foster child and because he had been with us for so long, it was very hard when he left. We received a call in October 1997 informing us that the boys were coming back into care. When we were asked if we were interested in adopting them, the answer was YES! After a lot of work, we finalized our adoption in December 1998.
We still remain in contact with the birth father and his mother because I think its very important for the boys to stay in contact with their birth family. Joey's former foster parents play the role of grandparents. If someone had told me in the beginning all I would have been dealing with regarding Lalo (night terrors, ADHD, developmental delays) I would have said there was no way I could handle it. But when you tackle each problem and educate yourself it is amazing what you can do. I tell everyone I know not to be scared off by the term, "special needs". Lalo is now in kindergarten and doing great. He has just been tested and is considered gifted. Amazing for a little boy who did not speak English until he was three. Joey is in Headstart and loving it and is right on target for his age. Neither of the boys have emotional problems, at this time, though we did have two years of counseling to help with the adjustment. We have been blessed to have these boys and I thank God every day for them.
One thing I had a hard time with is that I am the type of person who wants things done now and I know I drove Sandra (my social worker) crazy. I could just see her listening to her messages and saying, "Not her again"! So be patient and remember they have a heavy case load and are doing the best that they can. Now that the boys are settled and doing so well we are going to start foster care again and are seriously thinking about adding one more child to our family through adoption. I think the hardest part for me has been going from a parent of one to a parent of three and making sure all my children have my attention when they need it. I would like to thank the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for all the help we received with our adoption.
Do you have a success story about fostering or adoption? Share it with us!