Vol. 13, No. 2 • May 2009

Our Journey from Foster to Adoptive Parents

by Clay and Tamara Parker

Our journey from fostering to adoption has turned us from a couple into a family.

It all began about four years ago when my wife Tamara and I became foster parents for Catawba County. We took this step so that we could care for Tamara’s nephew, Evan.

Tamara and I have been a big part of Evan’s life from early on. At some point, it became clear to us that Evan was not being raised the way a little boy deserved to be raised. His most basic needs were not being met, and we were fearful that his health and well-being would suffer tremendously if something wasn’t done.

A report was filed with the child protective services, and Evan was placed, via relative placement, in our home. It was a smooth transition—Evan already knew and loved us and already had his own room and toys at our house.

In the beginning, we really wanted Evan’s birth parents to pull their lives together and reunite with Evan. When it began to appear more and more evident this wasn’t going to happen, we knew immediately that we were going to take the steps to become licensed foster parents and do everything we could to adopt Evan. We finished the MAPP classes, along the way meeting other prospective parents and many super people from our county’s department of social services.

We became licensed foster parents and, not too long after that, Evan’s adoption was final. Evan has never looked back, and neither have we.

We were blessed with the opportunity to next adopt a baby girl named Daisy that we brought home from the hospital and then, about a year later, a 15-year-old named Steven.

We have also fostered a wide variety of kids from ages four to 17. Evan and Steven have been able to really help in our fostering, because they have both been in the same shoes that these kids are in.

Since our children have been adopted, they have all flourished as children and soon-to-be-adults. Evan is an A/B honor roll student and plays soccer, violin, and too much PlayStation. He is a very loving little boy, and is also very interested in sports statistics and sports in general. I don’t have to watch “Sports Center” anymore because he always tells me about the latest happenings.

Daisy is a typical three-year-old little girl. She attends preschool at a local church and has made many little friends over the past two years. She also takes a computer class just for kids her age called “Cyber Kids” and attends a fitness class called “Jump Bunch.” These are all offered through her school, which is nice, because everything is in one place.

Now 17, Steven is a senior in high school. He’ll be joining the National Guard and going to college after he graduates. He is doing his basic training this summer and fall and starting classes in January. Steven is also active in the LINKS and SaySo programs that DSS offers to teens as support for kids that are in the same age range, experiencing the same issues. He is also on a panel with other kids, social workers, and people from the community. The panel deals with improving the adoption process.

It has been an amazing journey the last five years. We have learned so much about ourselves from these three wonderful, beautiful children we have adopted, as well as from the children we have fostered over the years.

We are a family like any other. Ups and downs, good times and bad times, and always love. If you have the faith and love that everything is going to be all right, your journey will always end up at the right destination.

Clay and Tamara Parker are foster parents in Catawba County, NC.

Copyright 2009 Jordan Institute for Families