The following post comes to us from our Business Administrator Keri. Read some of her story and why she values the support home.
When we started our process to adopt, we were living in Florida – far from the cold Wisconsin winters we grew up with. My husband and I had decided to grow our family through adoption while we were dating; we both felt strongly that we could provide a good home to a child who needed one and felt open to a child up to six years old. After we were licensed, we got a call for a four-year-old little boy whose mother, I’ll call her Denise, had relinquished her rights. They were homeless and she made the difficult decision to have him placed for adoption, rather than enter the foster care system.
At first, I felt great disappoint for Denise. How could she not get it together and keep her son? But after learning more about her story, my disappointment changed to heartbreak. Denise grew up in the foster care system and was bounced around to different families. She got pregnant young and did her best to keep her son safe and loved. While I was at college, sleeping in after staying out too late, Denise was getting up early to get her son to daycare before her long days of college classes and work. During breaks, I knew I could always return home to my parent’s house for a warm bed and good meals. Denise and her son tried to stay in apartments but when there wasn’t enough money to make rent, they’d get kicked out and sleep in cars or hospital lobbies. She didn’t have a place to go when she needed a bed or food – something I have always taken for granted. She didn’t have someone to watch her son when he was sick so she could earn rent or someone that could give her a bag of groceries or clothes to help out. Yes, there are many programs available but it’s hard to do it on your own, without some people to fall back on.
We were blessed while living in Florida, with a beautiful home, great friends and an amazing church community. Despite having a strong network and being a stay-at-home mom, I had a hard time raising my son without the support of my family and we moved back to Wisconsin within six months. I am eternally grateful for the support of my family – my son loves going to grandma’s house and I know he will be safe and cared for. Our family loves to help out with buying the kids clothes and toys. We’re always welcome there for a warm meal and advice or encouragement.
As I’m learning more about the foster care community, I’m finding out there are so many mothers like Denise. Mothers who have great intentions but were never raised in a stable family environment, and don’t know parenting skills. Or when times get tough, instead of living at home for a few months to get back on their feet, they face another eviction.
That’s why I’m excited about the support home and pray that is that it is a safe environment, where single mothers who have had their children removed from their care can feel loved and build a support network to help them through tough times. I hope these mothers feel the grace that helps us to know we’re loved, even if we’ve faced tough decisions. Most importantly, I believe this network and home will allow these mothers to successfully reunify with their kids and stay together as a family.