Did you know Iowa KidsNet offers free adoption support services? It's a great service to help families along their journey and through any challenges they may face after adopting a child from foster care. For example, a family may need support for a child struggling in school or advice in navigating a birth family relationship.
Today we'll chat with Rachelle, a post-adoption support specialist in northwest Iowa. Rachelle is a former peer liasion with the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association and understands foster care on a personal level as a foster and adoptive parent.
Hi Rachelle! Thanks for joining us. Let's start by learning about you and your family.
My husband I have opened our home to more than 30 children in the past 14 years. Through the years of fostering, we also have adopted. We now have six children and recently became grandparents. It's been a journey I can't imagine not taking.
That's terrific. What prompted you to become a foster parent?
For as long as I can remember, it's been something I wanted to do. Growing up, I had an aunt that did foster care, and she inspired me to become a foster parent. My family has been extremely blessed. It's taught us so much.
Over the years, you've probably received lots of questions about foster care. What's the strangest question you hear?
The most bizzare question I get asked would be "Which ones are yours?" I'm sure this is not a surprise to other foster and adoptive parents. I reply with a smile, of course, "they are all mine."
Tell us a little about your job as a support specialist for adoptive families.
As a support specialist, I provide support to families who need someone to listen, find resources and develop a plan that will help keep the home safe and stable for a child. It's such a rewarding job, and I love it.
Is there a support tip you find yourself giving out often?
A lot of support I provide to families is simply showing an understanding of what they're going through with empathy and without judgment. As a support specialist, I try to make myself available anytime, even nights or weekends. If a family is in crisis, I want to help.
That's great. We've talked before about how supporting families is not a 9-5 service. Anything else you'd like to add?
I truly have a passion for children and the parents that care for them. I have adopted and know both the joys and frustrations that journey can bring to the whole family. The time and dedication families give to children is admirable and honorable. It's my sincere privilege to support our families in any way that I can.
Thanks Rachelle! Does anyone have questions about adoption support? Otherwise, you can learn more here on our website.