From Foster Caregivers to Forever Family
The Augusta Georgia program has a tremendous asset in Mrs. Wright. Her home has been a place for at risk children for many years. The program’s most recent adoption was with the Wright family. They adopted 4 children that when initially placed were all under 3 (infant twins, and toddlers 1 and 2) all in diapers. After giving the parents ample time to meet case plan goals and visitation requirements the state terminated their rights. About a year into the placement the biological parents had a subsequent baby that was placed with another foster parent. However, once adoption was on the table the State wanted to place all five children together to be adopted. The Wright’s happily agreed to not only adopt the four siblings in their care, but agreed to take the fifth child as well.
They family began visits with the youngest child who was now almost two. The initial four were thriving and growing into beautiful happy kids. Today, the Wright’s who were once a family of two are now a family of seven. Ms. Wright won NTF Augusta’s Foster Parent of the Year two years in a row. She and her husband have provided a loving home to our children and if they had not reached capacity she would continue to foster.
“We do not need to know the beginning of a child's story to change the ending."
Successful Reunification - A Parent's Perspective
When my children were first taken away, I never thought a year later I would be grateful, stronger, and blessed by this situation. I had re- connected with someone I used to go to high school with and he just showed up in Florida out of the blue and contacted me. I let him stay at my house and left my children with him. I came home one day to find my youngest sons face all bruised. My gut was screaming at me, but I did nothing about it. The next day I had to work and left my child with him again and he called and said my son was sick. I rushed home and we took him to the hospital. Of course, the doctor’s called DCF and they came and questioned me. I was beyond scared and panicked and at first, I lied to them and said I was the only one there with my child. About ten minutes passed and I told them the truth. I gave the officer his name and information. We quickly realized he had an open warrant out of Ohio for horrendous things. After digging into my past romantic relationships and the identity of my son’s father came into play, DCF decided to remove my children due to the nature of my child's fathers crimes and the fact that I chose to be with dangerous men. I was completely and utterly lost, broken, confused, scared, and determined to fight with everything I had to get them back and change my patterns, so I would never get in that situation again. It wasn’t like I lost my job or a pet; these are my children and how could I be so blind to let this happen to them.
This has been the scariest event of my life, I can only imagine how scared my children were. It hurts me to think about what my little ones were feeling and thinking. I can only hope they know that their mom will never fail them again.
I had never heard of Neighbor To Family or what they did or how they were different. I just thought it was all DCF and quite frankly I was scared of DCF due to the horror stories I had heard and what I had experienced with them. I also thought that they just wanted to take and keep my children from me. I had no clue that I would meet such amazing people who truly wanted to help. At my first family team meeting where I met my support group I had no idea what an immense support they would be to me.
As I got to know them I learned they also went through storms like we all do, which made them strong, reliable, and courageous women willing and able to take their pain and turn it in to changing others’ lives for the better. I am ecstatic to call them MY support, my team. Each team meeting always left me feeling great about myself and they were undoubtedly there to help guide me in whatever I needed. The meetings were causal, and it was just like sitting with a group of friends chatting. We would discuss goals, inspirations, the children, issues, praises, and resources that may be needed.
When I first met my case manager, I was scared and intimidated by her but after the initial shock I saw that she was there as my biggest supporter and only wanted me to grow and thrive from this experience. If it wasn’t for her boldness and encouragement of allowing me to read the arrest report of my ex, then I more than likely would have stayed in the same spot. After reading the report I was completely mortified by what a person could do to their children and at that moment I was more than positive I could not be that same woman anymore. That was when I decided it was time to change my entire perspective and belief system on others. The professional Foster Caregiver who cared for my child became a mentor and I continue to still have contact with them. I am thankful that Neighbor To Family keeps siblings together as my two boys were able to form a bond like no other during this challenging time for them. My children were taken into their home and shown love, compassion, and kindness.
I thank Neighbor To Family from the bottom of my heart for guiding me along this past year and the dedication, self-belief, and determination they instilled in me. I have learned so much about myself and why I made the choices I did. I learned that growing up with an abusive father, I learned to avoid conflict, keep quiet, and try to please everyone. I let my inner child make my romantic relationship decisions. I have always longed for fatherly love, and was willing to believe anything to have what my perception of a family was. If I did not go through this with NTF, I would have never learned that my inner child was only trying to re-create what she never got and that was a father’s love.
Once I learned that truth, it occurred to me that I was also making career decisions for myself based on men. I had overcome those choices, so I knew that I could defeat the anchors of my past that were holding me down and heal myself. I read several books on boundaries, dangerous men, and co-dependency, and found that I related to each book/topic. I went over the books with my amazing therapist and got down to the core of my issues. I was able to acknowledge, work through, and change what has been at the root of my problems, since I was a child which was the abuse inflicted by my father. If this whole situation never happened, then I would still be that same person who was driven by fear. At first, I saw this as a curse and a horrible event but as I drew closer to the end I saw that God had stepped in and this was a part of his plan. A plan not only to bring me closer to him, but a plan to make me a stronger woman and the most protective mother. I now see this event as a pure blessing from God, in which one scripture kept came up as I was on my journey to self-discovery; Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
I am a completely different, stronger, and better person now. I would love to help other women who are going through what I went through, like Neighbor To Family did for me.