It doesn’t always happen, but it’s still a success story when a foster family adopts a foster child. That was the case for Bethany and Josh Taylor, parents who longed to have more children after a difficult pregnancy. Three years after taking in an 18-month-old boy, the Taylors now are proud to count 5-year-old Devon as their own.
While the goal of foster care is to return the child to the family once they’ve become stabilized, a permanent home is sought elsewhere if that original goal can’t be met, says Narcy Ada, social services supervisor at Department of Public Health & Social Services Bureau of Social Services Administration. That happens in the form of long-term foster care, relative placement, guardianship or adoption.
Last week, the Pacific Daily News reported there currently were 212 children under the protection of Child Protective Services and only 28 licensed foster families on island. Foster children also are placed in the care of relatives, Alee Shelter, Sanctuary and even the Department of Youth Affairs correctional facility. They are taken under CPS and put into foster care when there is abuse and neglect in the homes.
Despite other avenues of care, there still is a great need for foster homes, Ada says.
Little Devon was placed with a military foster family at just 3 months old.
The family attended the same church as the Taylors, encouraging the couple to also foster, Bethany Taylor says.
“I’m so glad we did,” she says.
That military family, however, left with orders and the Taylors took in Devon and today, “he’s a Taylor,” Bethany Taylor says.
Devon is younger brother to big sister Annabel, 7, the couple’s biological daughter.
Childbirth nearly took Bethany Taylor’s life and surgeries, including a hysterectomy, eliminated the family’s ability to have another biological child.
“After raising Annabel for a few years, I had an itch to have another baby,” she says. “I worked at orphanages in Belarus and Africa and it was always my dream to have a big family.”
When the opportunity to adopt Devon came up, it was a surprise to the family, who had raised him for most of his life. Devon’s mother no longer could care for him and he’s been a full-fledged Taylor as of last November.
The couple has continued to take in other foster children and today they still have three in their care. That makes a total of 12 foster children that have come in and out of their home.
In regard to time frame, foster parents could have a child in their care for a few months to even a few years, Ada says.
“It depends on the case and how it goes through court proceedings,” she says.
With time, foster parents can form a bond with their foster child. It becomes difficult and often painful when the child leaves their home but it’s part of the process, Bethany Taylor says.
“Every day gets a little better and your heart mends but you realize there’s another child out there that needs your help,” she says. “I also claim bible verses to get me through it.”
Bethany Taylor has taken a unique approach to the foster care system. She often writes to the mothers of her foster children to get an insight into their lives.
“As a foster mom, it’s hard to really know how they did in their care, like when do they nap, when do they eat — those kinds of questions,” she says. “It’s a big trend now and I encourage all foster moms to do it.”
If the child ends up returning to their parent(s) — which still is the goal in most cases — writing to them creates a mentorship between foster mom and biological mom, she says.
“Usually these are moms that need help — they’re put in a bind or maybe they’ve done something wrong or maybe they need help just being a mom,” she says. “A lot of these moms are very young and they don’t know how to become a mommy yet.”
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