When I was a kid I saw a couple of really incredible examples of child preference in our neighborhood. "Create learning centers that foster independence, yet encourage respect for materials and space. “Remember what they told us in our classes? Some internationally adopted children may display similar behaviors due to living in an orphanage. Despite a subsequent really bad experience with Wayne (luckily, Nina was not with her when it happened), Rayna didn’t miss a beat in her sprint toward the last steps in her rehabilitation… and then it was time for Nina to be returned to her, on sixty day probation. Actually, she sounded very nice. Foster Kent Kids, part of West Michigan Partnership for Children, is partnering with local restaurants to bring attention to the need for foster parents in West Michigan. Children (WMPC) leads the Foster Kent Kids coalition which consists of members support in their journey toward reunification. We heard through various sources that Wayne might be bad news, and a simple search confirmed our fears: Wayne was a dangerous felon, a man with a history of gravely injuring and terrorizing people, including past girlfriends. “For Rayna?” I asked. Foster pets are under a … I will never forget Nina sitting by the wall, patting the space next to her and saying to me, “It, Mama, It.” (she could not say S’s back then, so “Sit” became “It”). Nevertheless, through their romantic relationships, adolescents have the potential for psychological growth as they learn about themselves and other people, gain experience in how to manage these feelings and develop the skills of intimacy. WMPC is piloting an Raise the kind of person you'd like to know, Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, Portrait of an Adoption community on Facebook. By. Her attorney reminded her about the “Wayne” incident and told Rayna she could not risk us finding a way to take Nina from her. As we headed toward our truck, our empty truck devoid of Nina’s things, we held each other and cried -– huge, broken sobs, mourning the loss in our lives. Later, as we drove off, I saw little Nina craning her neck, desperate to catch every last glimpse of her mother standing, waving outside the rehab center, before she disappeared from sight. from Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities West Michigan, D.A. I doubt she can make it, but she is early in this journey. And, if Rayna is unable to recover, are you willing to adopt Nina? “Remember how, when I was little, I would jump into your arms and wrap my arms and legs around you really tight and hold you very close? However, it is true that most children in foster … Foster Kent Kids made custom coasters for area restaurants to use in February and offered handouts with ways for the community to get involved. The children in the foster care system have usually endured abuse and neglect and often express their feelings through behavior. Fall in Love with Foster Care- Griffin’s Game » Throughout the month of February, Foster Kent Kids will be partnering with local restaurants to bring attention to the need for foster parents. When we arrived at the center, we were told to leave Nina in the playroom, all by herself, and depart. Cavalier, indeed. In early 2002, our flourishing careers and fulfilling lives were topped off by my “pregnancy-on-command.” It seemed as if a casual curiosity about children got me pregnant, unexpectedly easily, reinforcing a notion that we could sail through parenting as we had everything else in our marriage partnership. Every child, whether adoptive or not, has day-to-day emotional needs that require providing unconditional love, encouragement, and patience. Do you think -– maybe –- we could stay in touch?”, “Of course,” said Rayna, generously. The socially responsible restaurants in our community that have partnered with Foster Kent Kids are: Two Guys Brewing, Atwater Brewery, Brewery Vivant, City Built Brewery, Creston Brewery, Donzon Cubano, Harmony Brewery, Harmony Hall Brewing Company, Luna, Sovengard, and The Mitten. No explanation, no reason, his heart simply stopped beating. I could see how it might be a long road ahead for Rayna and for us. Since then, our families have become even more intertwined -– and grown to include Lenny, our foster son whom we adopted when his biological parents were unable to conquer their demons of addiction and crime. Portrait of an Adoption is hosted by Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear. foster care. Help the community Fall in Love with Foster Care this Valentine’s Day, as you head out for date night! Every morning, I prayed that Rayna and her daughter Nina were safe -- then was able, somehow, to go about my day. Nina and Lenny, whose enigmatic, telepathic love has Dyl and I in awe of how life brings together people, of the instruments we have been in bringing two beautiful souls together, of the privilege we enjoy in being able to love and guide two children into the future. A troubled foster child with an affinity for drawing and artwork, becomes attached to her eccentric and forgetful new foster mother, also an artist. OK, so the child in question isn’t a total brat. “Yes, Dyl used to look at the coins with her and teach her the different denominations,” I said. stereotypical Valentine’s Day and Fall in Love with Foster Care. Walking across the parking lot, Nina said, “J, can you sing the Nina song?”, “Not right now, honey, my voice is tired.”, “Oh please, please, I LOVE the Nina song!!”. Yes, Rayna was easy to love, yet there was a dent in the form of Wayne, a man Rayna met during rehab. Thanksgiving Day, 2008: I was shaking with excitement as my cell phone rang and I saw Rayna’s phone number flash across my screen. Think of that,” my mother said. An ordinary man frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them. And so we did. Please don’t call us anymore. All Grown Up: Romance Novels Featuring Former Foster Childern Finding Love These books give the ultimate happily ever after to those heros and heroines who made it through the foster care system to find love and make strong families. And while it’s different for everyone, there are some common thoughts and … During these months, my mother paid us a visit and laid out two skirts on the bed. After that initial hesitancy, Rayna never wavered in sharing Nina with us, not even during the early days when Nina would cry that she wanted to be with us, only us. Foster families have been trained to help children deal with frightening and traumatic events in their lives. But that is not what I wanted to hear from my mother, not when all I wanted to do was scoop Nina up into my arms and run away, run away to a place where Rayna could not find us and take her back. Fostering also involves a lot of heartbreak, he adds, since you fall in love with children who are ultimately taken away. Saving one child at a time?” Dyl said as we discussed what to do. innovative foster care model in Kent County to improve outcomes for children in You’ll fall in love with the child, put the child first and always go to bat for them. These restaurants support the And so I wrapped the skirt, beautifully, and handed the package rather awkwardly to Rayna on our next “Nina visit.” I was uncomfortable thinking of Rayna as family, even though my mother had used that word to describe her. “How are you doing?” she asked. If a child says he loves a teacher or a counselor, he doesn’t mean in adult terms to include physical intimacy. We had read five stories at the library and it was time to take her home. By Meghan Moravcik Walbert June 2, 2015 8:07 am June 2, 2015 8:07 am. Before each visit, I would hope that Rayna got to experience some of the milestone moments during her time with Nina. I was eager to share updates with her, new Nina stories, laugh about some silly thing Nina had done, gush together with amazement over each new developmental milestone. “I definitely plan to stay in touch.”. If the probationary period went off successfully, Nina would be back with Rayna forever. And then, just as unexpectedly, 21 weeks into my pregnancy, our little boy died. Next: 'I am so sorry. “It was fine. Keep materials interesting, with clearly marked containers for children to return those materials at cleanup time." There were days when the emotional tumult in my heart seemed unbearable. We Were Told To Leave Nina In The Playroom, All By Herself, And Depart Written by Jiyer for Portrait of an Adoption, Your children are not your children. We lost our son, now we are about to lose this child who is like a daughter to us. Oh Nina, Oh Nina, our lovely girl Nina Please know that this family loves you. But along with the satisfaction in seeing Rayna make what the social worker called “superstar” progress toward reunification came profound sadness, the feeling, daily, of dying just a little more inside as we were approaching the time for good-bye. Among states, New Mexico ranked first: In recent years, about 40 percent of its foster children returned home within a few days or weeks. And Nina?” I asked, my empty arms aching as I imagined reaching out over the phone and holding Nina close. Instead we saw a gentle, respectful and well-dressed woman. She said the department has hired foster care recruiters, leading to an increase of 300 foster homes and 385 kinship homes, where children are placed with relatives. I will sign off on this very long blog post with my memories of Nina’s most recent visit, just a few days ago. But I was also torn. This is the fourteenth post of "30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days," a series designed to give a voice to people with widely varying experiences, including birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, foster parents, waiting adoptive parents and others touched by adoption. “A gift? It’s possible that you will fall in love with a child who will never be a permanent part of your family. Still, overall, it was a time of great satisfaction at seeing mother and daughter together again. Different religions have different perspectives on an adopted sibling and blood sibling marrying each other. That lasted a few minutes, interrupted by the ring of my cell phone: “Hello? Wayne was gone and Rayna was a confident, good mother. When someone becomes a foster parent or adopts a child, they are often put into a position to manage difficult behaviors. Funny, some of the things you miss when your daughter is not with you.” I tried to set up Nina’s feeding schedule so we could time a “poop” to coincide with a visit. Is Nina with you?” “Yes,” I said, “We just brought her to our home. I was forced to admit quite the opposite after that first phone conversation. “Nina’s mother Rayna,” I replied. services offered to children and families. After exchanging greetings, me trying to sound as casual as possible, Rayna mouthed the most selfless words I have heard in my life: “Nina is asking about you. Phew.Actually, she’s quite lovely. ... We cannot guarantee any pet’s behavior and this will help to protect both the child and the pet. As foster parents who also happened to be the de facto parents of Nina by now, our duty was two-fold: help Rayna with her reunification efforts, and advocate in the best interests of Nina. Maybe we could meet at a park or something?”. (Foster parents don’t like to talk about that one, but yes, some children are hard to love, and yes, it’s usually the ones that need that love the most.) Grand Rapids, MI 49503, Copyright © 2017 West Michigan Partnership for Children, Wood TV8- “Foster homes sought in case Kent County kids catch coronovirus”, Christmas ornaments hang in local GR businesses to support Foster Kent Kids, Grand Rapids Business Journal- WMPC appoints new CEO. Some prospective foster parents worry that they’ll fall in love with a foster child, then have to give the child up to their biological parents. However, we hope that you continue to foster in the future! For me?” said a delighted Rayna. Mother’s Day 2006 was when we finally began our foster-adopt training. Some parents also love certain children or a child more than their other children in a bio only family or an adopted only family. After many months of licking our wounds, Dyl and I, now actively seeking the elusive joy of parenthood, started trying to conceive again. Nina was distressed, so distressed, when she saw all her belongings in luggage and boxes (I packed them late the previous night, while she slept, because my earlier attempt was so traumatic to her). Follow Carrie Goldman on Twitter. It engaged local restaurants to help bring awareness to the needs of foster care with a campaign called “Fall in Love with Foster Care”. Now, a judge says if they have sex again they'll be jailed. If you have a story you would like to submit as a candidate for next year's series, please email it to her at portraitofanadoption@gmail.com. Directed by Joel Schumacher. The Church, according to canon law, views an adopted child the same as a child from the family's bloodline. But, if God calls you to it, then do it. The sun is shining bright and warm as my foster son, BlueJay, and I cross the parking lot, hand-in-hand. Later, as Rayna continued to make progress and I no longer could deny the closeness and empathy I felt toward her (at this point I readily could see how much she wanted her life and her precious daughter back), I hesitated only for a moment before handing her a well-written article I had found about step-by-step pointers on how to reunify with your child. I held her very, very close, hoping that the lifetime of love within me would work its way into her little body. Their love affair has torn their family apart and ended her marriage to the father of her child. Think about how vulnerable Rayna feels right now, having just reunited with her daughter. Our concerns were mostly written off as attempts to keep Nina to ourselves. It started as a cavalier thought, “it” being the entry of children into our lives. Foster families provide temporary, 24-hour care in a home setting when it is necessary for a child to be separated from his or her birth family. A few weeks into the visits, Rayna asked that we arrange visits with Nina’s half-siblings as well. It engaged local restaurants to help bring awareness to the needs of foster care with a campaign called “Fall in Love with Foster Care”. Can you take care of Nina and bring her to her mother for regular visits? His feelings weren’t any less intense than adult love and shouldn’t be reduced to “puppy love.” Secondly, a parent’s role is not to impose a sordid or adult view on a child’s expression of love. The months of Rayna’s progress were paralleled by Nina’s increasing affection toward her mother. August 22, 2008: a hard day for our family, a day of joy for Rayna. I remember telling my husband one evening, “I am going for a walk. With Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin. All rights reserved. It took my husband another year to buy into the idea. Throughout this process, Rayna was strong, determined and motivated by her love of Nina, easy to get along with. “We are well, but Nina misses you sometimes. Director: Tony Bill | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Alfre Woodard, Jodelle Ferland, Ridge Canipe. -Kahlil Gibran, “On Children”. Suite 2A She seemed nice,” I said. The attorney warned Rayna about Wayne’s history; she asked her to break up with him or risk losing Nina. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. Always and forever, my darling….always and forever, I think as I look at the smiling Nina in my rearview mirror and drive her back home for a joyous reunion with her mother. Foster boy and Labradoodle fall in love and are adopted by the same family (photos) Updated Jan 09, 2019; Posted Dec 25, 2017 Fundraising calendar has … “Love her like a daughter,” the social worker had said to us, “It is the only way she will develop those feelings of attachment that she can transfer to her mother if reunification is successful.” And we did -– we showered love on her, we loved her like a daughter, we couldn’t have loved her more. Thanks to an excellent counselor, I was able to arrive at a peaceful state of being. You can fall in love with a person for all of the right reasons, but that kind of love can still fall apart. The first time we took Nina to visit her mother, we liked Rayna even more. If you do fall in love with a foster pet, we can assist you through our adoption process. “Yes, it’s from my mother,” I replied, feeling guilty about not sharing in her happiness. I am working very hard to get better, and I will get her back.” With that, we discussed a visiting schedule and ended our first conversation. Is this J?” said a polite voice, “I am Rayna, Nina’s mother. Canon 1094 states that those who are related—even by adoption—cannot obtain a legal marriage contract. Foster care is temporary until the child can be “Who was that?” my husband asked. But remember that you can do and be everything right, and that does not mean that she will fall in love with you. Within a few weeks, she was smiling whenever we went to visit Rayna. Nina and Lenny… a … And then, about a month into the sixty day probation, Rayna called one evening to tell me she no longer could stay in contact with us. Mary adopted a little girl through foster care after her mother, despite rehabilitation services, could not overcome a heroin addiction. Degen Pener-December … “Oh alright,” I say as I sing to the tune of “Luella” (apologies for not being able to source this): “Oh Nina, Oh Nina, our lovely girl Nina Please know that this family loves you Some day you’ll go to your Mommy And all of her dreams will come true But if you could come back to visit Then you will make us happy too! How naïve and foolish we were, my husband Dyl and I. I was rooting for Rayna, yet I was growing so attached to Nina -– little Nina, the first child we got to hold and love, the child who came to us during peak bonding months in her life and who bonded so closely with us. You have a beautiful girl.” “Thank you. That was four years ago. West Michigan Partnership for "It's the Falling in Love" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson with guest vocals by R&B singer–songwriter Patti Austin. Next: 'We were told to leave Nina in the playroom, all by herself, and depart.'. Rayna sounded sad as she replied, “I am so sorry. invited residents to step away from the I grieved and grieved and grieved the loss of my son and I was wracked with guilt over taking his life for granted. Please don’t call us anymore.” Utterly devastated and sobbing, I told Dyl, the yin to my yang, who always could see beyond a raw emotional response. “She seems like part of our family now,” she replied. People talk about "friendzoning" when a person does not reciprocate the affection another feels. Once, Rayna said to me, “You know in all this time, I have not had a chance to change a poopy diaper. 213 Sheldon Avenue SE And as a lawyer, surely you understand that Rayna’s lawyer has to tell her to watch out against possible problems?” My brain understood what he was saying, and I was definitely not angry with Rayna, but my heart would not stop feeling sad. “And you? “Let me be selfish and feel my sorrow with me, right now, if only for a little while.”. “The going thus far has been rough, very rough. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. As the months went by, I surprised myself by looking forward to the regular meetings with Rayna. Part of HuffPost Parenting. “Well,” I said, feeling far from it. ©2021 Verizon Media. In February, Foster Kent Kids Credit Illustration by Abigail Gray Swartz. What a treat it was to see Nina, to hold her, to assure ourselves that mother and daughter were doing well! I do that to my Mommy now,” Nina said to me the other day, a bittersweet revelation that tells me all is as it should be. Nina and Lenny… a story for another day. The way you arrange your setting has a strong effect on how strongly children fall in love … When I was at the end of my rope, my faith and the support of my family and my faith community got me through. Nina and Lenny, whose enigmatic, telepathic love has Dyl and I in awe of how life brings together people, of the instruments we have been in bringing two beautiful souls together, of the privilege we enjoy in being able to love and guide two children into the future. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Rayna’s kindness in permitting us to see dear Nina, even as she was just getting adjusted to parenting Nina again, was not lost on us. On August 1, 2007, we brought our first foster child, 9-month-old Nina, into our home. But we also had a delightful gift, feeling a love so intense that I allowed myself to revel in a fantasy of motherhood as I held her in my arms. As I recall, with the often constipated Ms. Nina, I was not successful at accomplishing that. “I am your daughter, Mom,” I said. Foster Kent Kids made custom coasters for area restaurants to use in February and offered handouts with ways for the community to get involved. Couples who foster may fall in love with children only to have them taken away; but for many, the risk is worth the reward. Ironically, that stilled heartbeat triggered my mother instinct. ', Two days later, Rayna called. True, we had our first frustrating surprise: diaper packages do not come with instructions and neither one of us knew which side was which! With that in mind, my husband and I expressed strong concerns about Wayne possibly coming in contact with Nina, were reunification to occur. As any honest foster parent can tell you, this is what happens when a child is placed with you: Your agency calls and gives you a little information about the child. “Rayna is allowed to date whomever she wants,” a social worker screamed at us, “How dare you be so judgmental?” Nobody was interested in seeing Wayne’s frighteningly violent record except, thankfully, Rayna’s attorney, her zealous advocate whom I admired. Foster Kent Kids is a Kent County coalition committed to recruiting persons to support children and families who are involved in the child welfare system as foster and adoptive parents, respite families, volunteers, and mentors. Be jailed from the stereotypical Valentine’s Day, as you head out for date night it... I asked, my husband another year to buy into the visits, did..., all by herself, and though they are with you one for Rayna, whose has... Assist you through our adoption process overall, it was time to take Nina from her went to visit mother... 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