An Adoption Story by Ariel Helman
I started my career as an intern in KidsPeace’s Kingston foster care office, and one day I walked into a visitation room with three children — all of whom faced a challenging set of barriers and symptoms. I remember thinking at that time something along the lines of, “Wow, I wonder what these kids have been through.”
Over the next several months my role with these children quickly shifted from support staff to primary worker, supervising sibling visitations at a local residential facility. I began to work intensely with foster parents to support these children and help them expand their ability to trust and attach with new caregivers despite all of the loss they had experienced. Over the next several years I watched as these children developed and grew, and I’ve been so proud of all of their incredible achievements over that time. And one thing has stayed with me all those years: the fact that although they were separated into different foster homes, their sibling relationship and love never wavered.
These are children that have taken on many labels and experienced many doubts, and some have wondered if they would have the ability to move through their traumas and make connections with others, never mind with each other. But month after month, they continued to ask to visit with their siblings and return to the safety net of knowing they would always be there.
Fast forward six years, and all three children have been adopted into different homes that are meeting their individual needs. But on the day of the eldest brother’s adoption – a day when we closed a chapter with many, many stories in it – his siblings arrived and smiled and cried for the joy they felt for their brother to finally have found his forever home.
It has been an arduous, scary and difficult road for these children – including many battles and a few losses along the way. But the most remarkable aspect is that it’s also been a journey with many happy memories along with opportunities for fresh starts, the addition of new siblings and family members, love, growth and the representation of hope.
Ariel Helman is CFTSS (Children and Family Treatment and Support Services) supervisor in the Kingston, New York office of KidsPeace Foster Care.