Hoyleton helps a loving family provide a forever home through adoption
Over 122,000 children and youths are in the U.S. foster care system, looking to find a forever home. Those thousands waiting to be adopted are at risk of aging out of foster care without permanent family connections, which increases their risk of homelessness and human trafficking.
Hoyleton Youth & Family Services strives to find permanent solutions for children in foster care. Reunification with the biological parents is always the goal. However, if that can’t be accomplished, Hoyleton helps facilitate the adoption of foster children via a case worker, who is partnered with the adoptive parents.
The following is one story of adoptive parents who were able to provide a loving permanent home to two girls with the help of Hoyleton.
A surprise moment to begin a life goal
Kim always knew that at some point in her life she wanted to adopt children. She’d think about all the youths who had a tough childhood without the support and love they needed to thrive. She knew she could make a difference in young lives when she had the opportunity.
After 12 years of marriage and having three children of her own, she started thinking about it again, whether it was starting out as a foster parent locally or adopting overseas. Without any notice, she received a call one night from the police station. She was told that her three “god-children” had come into care at the station and they needed a home. The problem was that she didn’t have any god-children.
“My husband was a pastor and they were the children of someone who attended a service months earlier,” says Kim. “What started as a shock turned into a blessing and journey to adoption.”
Two of the children were quickly reunited with their biological father, while Kim fostered the third for over a year. His father had just been released from jail, and Kim worked to help him get his son back. “Everyone deserves a second chance,” says Kim. “And this father had worked hard to redeem himself and hold a steady job.”
Following her first adventure into foster care, Kim got a call to take a 5-year-old girl named Addy. The girl had very little, and it was clear she had suffered neglect. Two weeks later, Kim received a call to also take Addy’s 2-year old sister, Pasleigh. Pasleigh had a broken arm and sores, and she didn’t talk much. But when she walked into Kim’s house and saw a picture of her big sister on the wall, she said, “Addy.”
“It was that moment I knew that siblings really needed to be together,” says Kim.
Pasleigh struggled in school, but Kim and the first grade teacher worked out a plan to help her progress throughout the school year. In that year, everyone was amazed at how quickly her reading level and social skills grew. “What a lot of people don’t understand is that kids who come into care are five or more years emotionally and socially behind their actual age,” explains Kim.
Support throughout the long journey
The following year, the birth mom of Addy and Pasleigh signed over her rights to Kim and her husband for both girls. “The process of adoption dragged out for three years after that to get it official,” says Kim. “It was frustrating at times, but we had some beautiful moments through it all to make it worthwhile.” Whether it was the first Christmas when they got a princess dress or the first time they went apple picking, the bond and love between the girls and family continued to grow.
During those three years, Brittany, a case manager at Hoyleton, came into the picture to assist Kim with the adoption process. Typically, case managers facilitate the adoption of foster children alongside State of Illinois child welfare agencies. Adoptions are organized throughout the year, and a case worker helps foster parents, biological parents and adoptive parents understand their role through the process.
“We were blessed to have Brittany for all three years,” says Kim. “A lot of foster children have multiple case workers since the turnover can be high. Having that consistency meant a lot to the girls as they got to know ‘Brit-Brit,’ the nickname they gave her.”
Brittany spent countless hours joining Kim in court meetings and providing consultation to her throughout the process.
A special day for a special family
In September 2020, the attorney handling the case told them they were cleared for adoption. They worked to have it official on Pasleigh’s birthday, five years after they first entered Kim’s family’s lives. Brittany made them all matching adoption shirts to commemorate the big day.
Today, the growing family thrives with Kim’s older children now graduated and out of the house. And Kim’s next goal is to adopt Addy and Pasleigh’s older biological brother. “We hope to bring him into the family fold this year as we work through that process as well,” says Kim.
Kim has advice to those who are considering being a foster or adoptive parent. “The first goal of any foster parent should be to help support the children so they can return to their biological parents,” says Kim. “Some people are scared of getting too attached to foster children in fear of losing them, but the kids need that love, stability and support during those tough times in their lives. In the end, there’s nothing more rewarding.”
How you can help
Hoyleton works with foster children every day to find their forever home, and supports both foster and adoptive parents. In this past year alone, Hoyleton assisted in 54 adoption cases.
To learn more about becoming a foster/adoptive parent or to help this important cause, please visit: https://hoyleton.org/programs/foster-care-placement/