The Importance of Foster Kids Maintaining Connections With Biological Relatives

Holt’s foster care and adoption specialist shares why it’s important to help foster kids stay connected to their biological families, regardless of the reasons they entered the foster care system. 

When a child is entering into care, every situation or case is different. As a foster care worker, the one thing we hear a lot about from adults going through the foster care process is their uncertainty or uneasiness about being involved in legal risk, or being involved with biological parents or relatives. But at the end of the day, no matter what happened for a child to come into care, they all belong and came from somewhere and will long for that connection with their birth family. Continue reading “The Importance of Foster Kids Maintaining Connections With Biological Relatives”

Perspectives All Foster Parents Should Embrace

Foster parenting can be challenging, but parents who welcome children with compassion, empathy and no expectations will have the most success. 

Parenting a child is a challenging task. And when it comes to parenting a foster youth, that challenge increases — but not because of the child. As one former foster youth observed, the increased challenge comes from what this child has endured, and the survival techniques they have developed to adapt to living in the system.

 “Everyone thinks that we’re such bad people,” Dawna Hovenier shared in the 2016 Casey Family Programs video, “Former Foster Youth Share Their Stories.” “We are not bad people. We just had terrible circumstances in which we were brought up …There’s so much more to a child than just their behaviors. I mean, I felt like my life was on hold and I didn’t learn a lot of skills I needed to for when I turned 18.”

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Permanency: Why It’s Important for Foster Children and How Parents Can Help

When foster parents have a relationship with biological parents, they can help children find permanency.

Child welfare professionals often use the word “permanency” to describe the desired outcome for children in foster care. But what does that really mean?

Permanency refers to the idea that a child has a lifelong place to belong, with a committed caregiver who assumes the legal responsibility of a parent-child relationship. Permanency can be achieved in many ways — reunification with the child’s family, guardianship with a safe adult, or adoption. Once a child lands in a permanent place that is safe and nurturing, the state closes the case and the child is no longer in need of foster care. Continue reading “Permanency: Why It’s Important for Foster Children and How Parents Can Help”

Who Are the Children and Youth in U.S. Foster Care

Holt’s U.S. foster care and adoption specialist shares about the kids in U.S. foster care today.  

What excludes a foster child from many other children in the world is maltreatment. Maltreatment is a behavior acted on a child that causes high risk of harm that can hinder the security, development and trust children have. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, homelessness and substance abuse are the main reasons why children enter into foster care. Continue reading “Who Are the Children and Youth in U.S. Foster Care”

Children Belong in Homes, Not Hotel Rooms

The best place for children is NOT a hotel room.

Can we all agree that children belong in families who are safe and able to meet their needs? This is why we have foster care. What happens, though, when the system intended to protect children has weaknesses of its own? What if the state removes a child from their parents, turns to find a fostering family, and finds none? Continue reading “Children Belong in Homes, Not Hotel Rooms”

Homes, Not Hotel Rooms for Children in U.S. Foster Care

Holt donors help children all around the world — including children in the United States! In Oregon and Washington, you help children find safe and secure foster and adoptive families. You help children like Marc and Jenny!

For two months, Marc and Jenny didn’t have a home. They entered Washington’s foster care system. But there was nowhere for them to go. Nowhere for them to unpack their bag of few belongings.

So they were moved around. They lived with nine different foster families. Never for very long. And when they were in between these foster families, they had to stay in a hotel with their social worker. They spent a total of ten nights in a hotel. Scared, and feeling alone and unwanted.

Finally, Holt staff in Washington found a foster family for Marc and Jenny to live with. These siblings had already experienced a lot of trauma, and the care of a family came right in time.

Continue reading “Homes, Not Hotel Rooms for Children in U.S. Foster Care”

Pregnant at 14, Macy & Liam Made a Loving Open Adoption Plan

Macy and Liam were 14 when they found out they were pregnant. They felt scared and lost. But Holt in Wisconsin helped them make a loving open adoption plan for their daughter. 

Right after she turned 14, Macy found out she was pregnant. She felt scared, stressed out, sad and lost.

“We didn’t know what we were supposed to do,” she says today through a video call, sitting in her backyard in Wisconsin with Liam. It’s nearly a year later from this time she’s describing — the beginning of their unplanned pregnancy and adoption story.

When Macy got pregnant, Liam was also just 14. For him, money was one of the biggest obstacles  — he had no clue how they would financially support a child.

It was late May and they were just finishing their freshman year of high school. Liam was excited to play football over the summer and in the fall, and Macy couldn’t wait for school to be out so she could spend more time with friends and family.

But suddenly, instead, they had a huge decision to make.

Continue reading “Pregnant at 14, Macy & Liam Made a Loving Open Adoption Plan”

Fear, Fantasy, Reality and the Pursuit of Foster Care or Adoption

Today, I’m writing to all of you thinking of, or pursuing, foster parenting or adoption. You. The hopeful, the risk-takers. The ones dreaming of future sons and daughters, looking through waiting child websites or picturing futures with the one(s) who will eventually join your family.

Keep doing that.

It helps. I’ve been there, and imagining the possibilities is one of the best aspects of this crazy-making adoption process. These conversations are where you carve out all of the rich, sweet potential of adoption. Here is where you make sense of the preparation, the gut-wrenching process, with all of its false starts and inadequate answers. Here is where your motivation lives. Continue reading “Fear, Fantasy, Reality and the Pursuit of Foster Care or Adoption”

Holt-Sunny Ridge Becomes Holt International, Illinois and Wisconsin Branch

Susan Soonkeum Cox

Effective November 2, 2020, Holt-Sunny Ridge in Bolingbrook, Illinois will be renamed as Holt International, Illinois and Wisconsin branch.

Sunny Ridge Family Center, a long-standing child services organization in Illinois, merged with Holt International and became Holt-Sunny Ridge in April 2014. In June 2019, Holt-Sunny Ridge became licensed in Wisconsin and took over Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS)’s private domestic adoption services in Wisconsin. Continue reading “Holt-Sunny Ridge Becomes Holt International, Illinois and Wisconsin Branch”