National Adoption Month: Top 5 Lessons for Foster or Adoptive Parents

Working with a reputable organization is key

In honor of National Adoption Month, Rebeca and Lee want to share what they learned on their foster and adoption journey with other families.

Make fostering & adopting an amazing experience

Rebeca and her husband, Lee, fostered and adopted two children.

A few weeks after becoming certified as foster parents through Wayfinder, the couple received a call about sisters Tatiana and Tessa,* ages 8 and 5. A judge had decided that reunification with their birth parents was no longer an option. The girls needed a permanent home, but they were living with a foster family that did not intend to adopt.

Lee and Rebeca brought bubbles, a frisbee and a ball to meet the girls in a park. The couple understood what the girls did not—Tatiana and Tessa were going to leave their foster family. Again, they were going to be separated from a familiar home. “We sat in a circle,” says Lee. “And as we passed the ball, we asked questions like ‘What’s your favorite color?’ to learn a little about each other.”

“As the adults, we knew what was happening when we first met the children,” says Rebeca. “We knew they were coming to live in our home. The children were meeting strangers, and they had no idea why.”

Rebeca and Lee are very grateful for the support they received from Wayfinder. “The training and philosophy of Wayfinder is apparent in how the social workers work,” Rebeca says. “They are amazing and knowledgeable people.”

These are their five tips for current and prospective foster or adoptive parents:

1. If you are fostering or adopting siblings, see them as individuals instead of as a set. Get to know what each of them needs.

2. Follow former foster youth and adoptees on social media to understand their experience, what helped them and what did not. Follow social media accounts of foster families who prioritize reunification as the goal.

3. Be respectful of the children’s biological parents. We don’t know the parents’ stories or how they grew up. Generational trauma is very hard to get over.

4. In a relationship between adults, you don’t say “I love you” the day after you meet someone. To expect children to call you “mom” or “dad” before they are ready is disrespectful to the kids. It should be their choice.

5. Work with a reputable organization like Wayfinder Family Services. We get emotional about our Wayfinder case workers. It’s incredible the work they do for the kids and families. It’s beyond expectations. It’s been absolutely an amazing experience.”

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