Adopting Siblings in Foster Care
Adopting siblings in foster care is a great way to add to your family. Today we chat with Kris Nicole about her family’s journey becoming fosters and later to adopting siblings in foster care.
Deciding to Become A Foster Family
Kris Nicole’s path to becoming a foster family started when their biological daughters grew in age. They came together as a family and decided they could help fill the great need for homes and share their love and home with children in care. Knowing that the main goal is reunification, they wanted to create a soft, loving place for children to land.
Kris Nicole shares, “We chose to be licensed for both foster care as well as adoption knowing that we would be open to adopting if reunification was not a possibility. However, we strongly support reunification and we were ready to walk alongside broken families and help them be restored.”
During the summer of 2015, Kris Nicole’s family officially got their license to foster. The first few placements came quickly.At first, Kris Nicole felt tired and weary but pushed those feelings aside and said yes to a 9-month-old baby boy.She recounts discovering he was part of a set of siblings in foster care.
“I was able to connect to his birth parents early and we formed a good relationship. Through them, I learned that he had a sister who was three years old and had been placed in another foster home. It was important to us that siblings be kept together. The other family was unable to take the baby, but we were able to take his sister.”
On October 30th, 2015 Kris Nicole and her family grew by one and the siblings reunited. One year both siblings legally became part of the family.
Advocating for Siblings in Foster Care
Even with the new siblings, Kris Nicole’s family decided to take a new placement. She said, “We all knew that our journey with foster care was not over just because our family had permanently grown.”
In August of 2017, they picked up a 4-month-old baby boy named Josiah. He was the youngest out of a sibling set of five. 75% of children in foster care are in placements without their siblings and sadly that is the case of Josiah.
Kris Nicole and her family are advocates for siblings in foster care and formed relationships with the other foster families. They wanted to help keep the children connected. During his ten-month stay, they shared play dates, and enjoyed his first birthday party together.
Joy and Heart Break
The family became close to Josiah’s birth mom and were filled with joy for their reunion. Kris Nicole recounts the moment,
“I was so happy for her when she had completed all of the necessary work to regain custody of her children. In June of 2018, we packed up Josiah’s belongings and tearfully handed him over to his mother. It was incredibly tough because we loved him so much. But I knew that he belonged home with his mother and siblings.”
Sadly, five weeks later, Kris Nicole received a call that would forever change her life. She learned that Josiah had died. He had been killed by his mother, who later pled guilty to second-degree murder. Kris Nicole recounts,
“We were devastated and heartbroken. How could we possibly walk through this process ever again? My biggest fear as a foster mother had just happened. I wasn’t able to keep him safe. I watched the system fail him. After six months of struggling with the decision, we signed the paperwork to close our license.”
A Second Life-Changing Call
Within 24 hours of signing paperwork to close stop fostering, Kris Nicole received a second life-changing call. Her husband’s co-worker previously adopted three children from foster care. This co-worker called to ask them if they were still fostering. The birth mother of his children had just given birth to a baby boy. Sadly, the baby had no one. So, Kris Nicole could think of only one thing to do.
“I placed the call to the caseworker that day and he came home to us on Christmas Eve of 2018. His case was so different because there were no visits, there were no birth parents involved. We knew from the beginning that he was an adoptive placement. After a few months of having him in our home I remember thinking that if either birth parent comes forward, I would be okay. I would be able to do exactly what I had set out to do at the very beginning of this journey and cheer on his birth parents.”
His birth parents never came forward.
On February 20th, 2020, they legally gained him as their son.
The Love You Could Have Missed
So many people view the foster care system as one-sided. That the children gain so much. But the reality is that it can transform everyone’s lives. When discussing the best part of fostering to adopt, Kris Nicole touches on this point.
“I could have missed this. I could have missed being the mommy to eleven children. It was an honor to stand in the gap. I am so glad that we said yes and continued to say yes. Our license is closed now but we remain very involved in the foster care world. Both my husband and I speak about our experiences and we will continue to advocate for foster youth. It is a tough journey filled with lots of loss and trauma but the joy far outweighs the heartache. It has shaped and grown my family in ways that I am immensely thankful for.”
There is such a need for love and kindness. It is scary to open your home and your heart to a child. A child who ultimately is in transition. Kris Nicole offered some beautiful advice to those becoming foster families.
“If I were to give any advice to families that are just starting out it would be to not be scared to love. Love these kids with your whole heart because they are so deserving. But also love their families. Love them by extending grace and shying away from judgment. And do not start your journey with any preconceived ideas of how it might look. Foster care and adoption are wild rides with lots of twists and turns. Utilize your support systems and always be the voice of your children. Lastly, if you have ever thought about doing foster care or adoption, just do it! You will be so glad that you did. We are.”
In conclusion, we want to thank Kris Nicole and her family for sharing their story of adopting siblings in foster care. We are grateful for the reminder that love can transform lives and should always be embraced.
For those in the process of fostering to adopt, please contact us for free adoption day photography here.