In their world…

June 21st, 2011 by Jessie-Mae Secord

I’m one of those people that always have multiple windows open on my computer – all the various websites I need to look at, articles I need to read, photolistings I would like to check out, research to be done, links recommended.

For the last few days, a blog has sat open, waiting for a few minutes of my time.  Today, I started reading and haven’t been able to stop.  I highly recommend that every foster parent read this blog.  I know I don’t have a huge audience on this website (“hi!” to the 3 people that will read this!), but please spread the word in whatever way you can.

I Was A Foster Kid is a blog written by LT, who entered foster care at age 7 and aged out of the system at 18.  Here’s what LT has to say about herself.

“I am a 20-something who is trying to make it in the world.  I spent most of my life growing up in the foster care system.  I was raised in 13 different homes (bioparents + 12 foster/group homes) and only a couple were truly “homes.”  I aged-out at 18 with no connections and nothing and have been struggling to make it ever since.

No matter how hard I try, I feel like I am falling further behind in life.  Without my dogs and cat, I am not sure I would be here.  I struggle everyday to keep alive and not pull the trigger.  I am a liberal minded person, but feel strongly that child abusers and animal abusers deserve no compassion.  I am a product of the foster care system and it will become clear that “the system” both saved me and failed me.”

Please read the blog, and if you can’t commit to the entire thing, at least read these two posts and visit the “Helpful Tips.”

CPS to the Rescue!  (But What Happened?) (LT’s story of entering foster care)

It’s Hard To Believe (LT questions why she was never adopted)

Helpful Tips for Foster Parents and Trainers

Then, when you’re done reading, hug your foster child, tell them they are worth something, and invite them to tell you anything that they want, without judgement, without comment, aside from to say (and mean it) “I can never understand what you have been through, but I promise I will do my best to be here for you and keep you safe.”

The Recruitment Process

January 26th, 2011 by Jessie-Mae Secord

While my primary role as a child-focused adoption recruiter is to work with children, without wonderful families to connect to my clients would be unable to find permanency.  Prospective adoptive families often ask how my role as an adoption recruiter is different from that of other adoption workers.

The children on my caseload also have an adoption worker through either a private adoption agency or the Department of Human Services (Michigan’s state child welfare department).  This worker retains all the same responsibilities to the case, while I come on as an adjunct recruiter to assist them in locating a family.  Children are identified for additional recruitment assistance when they have been waiting at least 2 years for an adoptive family, or are expected to wait 2 years due to their age, impairments, and/or sibling status.  The children I work with guide the recruitment plan, identify anyone they know and would like me to contact about adoption, describe the type of family they want to be adopted by, and in most instances, have a hand in the creation of their child recruitment fliers.

I copy the childs entire case file because it is imperative to look through it to identify people from the child’s past and current network (relatives, teachers, coaches, foster parents, neighbors, or anyone else who has shown an interest in the child’s welfare).  I then use a number of search techniques to try and locate these people; though sometimes I am going on very little information that may be outdated or names that are spelled incorrectly.  Other times, the people are easy to locate but no one had ever attempted to before.  Sometimes, these leads become adoptive resources for my children, but in many other instances my search must continue for an adoptive placement.

The child will provide input on what kind of family they would like; 2 parent, single parent, whether there will be other children in the home, families interests and activities, and also what type of community the child would prefer to live in.  The child usually also has some important characteristics they won’t negotiate on, such as a family who allows contact with their siblings or relatives, or opinions on what kind of pets they want or do not want; one child did not want any adoptive families that had pet sharks!

Recruitment of families is done through many different venues by both getting out information on the child as well as searching for family matches.  Families may see a child flyer or photolisting, or get a direct call or email from me (sometimes via their worker) inquiring if the family is interested in a particular child.  They may also see the child in a newspaper or in a more targeted publication like a newsletter for an organization (such as Special Olympics) or subculture (magazine for families living with Autism).

While these are all methods to locate families as matches for specific children, I also enjoy building relationship with families and assisting them through the adoption process.  I can answer any questions, make referrals to adoption agencies (for Michigan families only), and once a family has a homestudy completed, I will keep it on file for consideration of future special needs children.  Submitting a family assessment has no negative effect on your adoption worker or agency, and since my position is privately funded there is no cost to you or your agency.

If you are interested in adopting from foster care and working with a program that puts childrens needs first, please contact Jessie-Mae Secord at secord@strong-families.org or 517-612-2544.

Adoption Reality

December 6th, 2010 by Jessie-Mae Secord

This article was written by request of the New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children in March of 2009.

As an adoption worker for the hardest to place kids in foster care, perhaps I’m not the person most families would come to for advice on how to best represent themselves and find their child. After all, my job is to represent the best interest of the children, not the families. However, those families are overlooking my unique perspective as someone who is searching for family matches and reviews many homestudies looking for the right fit for my kids.

In the relatively short time I’ve been an adoption worker (3 1/2 years) I’ve gotten to know incredible kids who are waiting for a family – and meet innumerable families waiting to be matched. I read family profiles and get attached, just like you do when you read the kids profiles – I WANT to place one of my kids in a wonderful family like yours.

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome!

December 6th, 2010 by Jessie-Mae Secord

Welcome to the new Wonderful-Kids.org site!  In the coming months, we will be adding more photos, videos, links, articles, references, and hopefully an advice section for adoptive parents written by adoptive parents!

If you are an adoptive family searching for a special needs child to adopt, you can submit your adoptive family assessment by email for consideration of any of the children on this site.  Even if none of the current kids listed are a match, you can also submit your assessment to be considered for future children added onto the caseload.  The type of children we work with are typically aged 8-17, have moderate to severe physical, emotional, and/or behavioral needs, developmental delays, and/or are part of a sibling group where at least one of the children fits into those categories.

Meet Richie

November 29th, 2010 by Jessie-Mae Secord

Photo of Richie
Richie is friendly, talkative and enjoys playing outside, attends church and likes to go on trips. Richie also likes video games and Transformers.

Click here to learn more about Richie

Meet Charlotte

November 19th, 2010 by Jessie-Mae Secord

Photos of Charlotte having her hair done at the Salon
Charlotte, 16, is a wonderful teenage girl waiting to be adopted. She loves listening to music and singing. Outgoing and talkative around people she knows, Charlotte looks forward to going shopping and camping.

Click here to learn more about Charlotte.