National Foster Care Month is an initiative of the Children’s Bureau each May, to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care. At Barker, National Foster Care Month is a time for us to renew our commitment to finding forever families for waiting children and youth through our Project Wait No Longer- older child adoption program and our advocacy in the community on their behalf. The most critical voice in the foster care journey is that of the child who is/was in care. This month hear from their voices through our series - The Voices of Barker Champions: National Foster Month Q&As.
MEET BARKER CHAMPION TONI CRINER.
Toni is a former foster youth turned adoptee. As a Barker Champion, Toni shares her very challenging but amazing adoption success story with future foster parents, current foster parents, and foster youth and young adults in hopes to bring a new perspective and encouragement.
Q: What were some uncertainties you had while you were in foster care vs. when you were adopted by your mom?
"An uncertainty that most definitely haunted me while in foster care was, "will I ever have a family, and will I find stability?" Although I did get adopted, that uncertainty stayed with me right up until I went off to college. I worried that I wouldn't be able to return home to my adopted family because I was old enough to move out on my own. My mom reminded me that we were family forever and that I didn't have to worry about any of that. I would always have a home during every holiday break I visited from college and thereafter. (I still have a solid family and home at 31 years old!)"
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering adopting from foster care?
"Be patient with yourself and your new child. Please include your child(ren) in every family function. Make them feel secure in knowing that you are giving them genuine love, stability, care, and a forever family."
You can read Toni's full story here.
If you are exploring adoption an older child from foster care or want to learn more about our older child adoption program visit our Project Wait No Longer page. If adoption is not the best fit for you at this moment you can still be a Barker Champion by helping the 100,000+ children who are waiting in the foster care system in other ways. Learn more here or email us at info [at] barkerfoundation.org.