Using technology, maintaining familial bonds to create a Forever Family

Guest post by Serina Williams, adoptions specialist at Sarasota Family YMCA, Safe Children Coalition.

The Kayes, John and Hannah on their adoption day, holding their Heart Gallery photo.

Two siblings, 2-year-old Hannah and 4-year-old John, came into our care in 2010. Luckily, the two were able to stay together while in foster care.

The Safe Children Coalition case management team was able to locate a paternal aunt and her husband who were more than fit to give love and care to these children.  The children made great improvements while living with their aunt and uncle and developed a parental bond with them.

As much as the relatives loved the children, they came to the realization that they would be unable to provide long-term care for the children and selflessly informed the SCC they could not adopt.

Adoption recruitment began in November of 2011, continuing the use of technology through the Explore Adoption and Heart Gallery of Sarasota websites. The sites showcase youth available for adoption, focusing on sibling groups who need to maintain some of the only and most significant biological family ties they may have when entering the foster system.

Several families were considered to be their Forever Family, but John has special needs and our team worked diligently until the right family was found. In February of 2012, our Family Finding staff worked with the aunt and uncle to find a pre-adoptive family, the Kayes.

From the first match meeting it was evident to everyone on the kids’ services team that the Kayes were perfect for the children.  It isn’t often that children who’ve been in care can click immediately with strangers, but John, Hannah and the Kayes made an immediate connection.

The Kayes understood and truly embraced the understanding of family connections. They knew how close the children were to their aunt and uncle, so they maintained open lines of communication.  The Kayes kept regular visits, contacts, phone calls, and even took the children to see their aunt and uncle for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. John and Hannah didn’t lose an aunt and uncle; they just gained a mom and a dad.

Since residing with the Kayes, the children have made great strides. Hannah is a happy girl who loves introducing her new parents to others. John has made great improvement. Prior to moving to his adoptive home he was shy and withdrawn, but he now is confident and secure in his new home.

By the use of old fashioned social work combined with educating adoptive parents on the importance of family connections and using the latest technology available for child welfare professionals, finding a Forever Family is truly a dream come true for John and Hannah!

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