November is National Adoption Month, and Nov. 18 is National Adoption Day.
In honor of this celebrated month and day, Alyssa Romer, a freshman studying elementary education, shared her experiences with adoption and foster care. Her family currently has one adopted member of the family–a little girl named Remy–and is trying to adopt a little boy named Tate.
Q: How long has your family been a foster family?
A: We’ve been fostering for two years now. My parents went to each other at the same time and both strongly felt that they needed to foster. They found a company that offered classes the following week, which normally takes about six months to join.
Q: What are some of the trials that come with taking care of foster care children?
A: It definitely takes a toll on the family emotionally. It’s hard to build a relationship, but having Christlike love in the home is key. Using the Atonement toward asking for comfort and to help you through different trials that you’re going through. Some of the babies you don’t have a relationship with. They’re crying, so it’s stressful for everybody that is involved. It’s definitely a family decision to go into foster care. You need to stay in constant prayer about what child you’re meant to take into your family, making sure that that’s the Lord’s plan.
Q: What is your experience with adoption?
A: We got a call in January last year that the license was in the mail, and we got on the list to receive a child. The next day we got a call and they said, “We have a baby girl. Would you like to come pick her up from the hospital? She’s meth-exposed.” That’s about all they would say because of different privacy issues. They had no connection to the dad, and the mom was completely out of the picture; she was never seen again. Remy was about nine months old when we adopted her on Nov. 18, which is National Adoption Day. We’re going to celebrate her being with us for one year. It’s called Gotcha Day. You celebrate it more than their birthday. You go all out. We have matching shirts that say Gotcha Day and have her name on the back and the numbers of each member of the family.
Q: Is your family planning on adopting another child?
A: My mom had a vivid dream about a little boy and ended up feeling like we needed to take another one. She got a call three days later for Tate, a little boy who was born drug-exposed. His mom used more than Remy’s mom, so he had a lot more developmental problems. He cried a lot because he was an addict. He was placed with us, and we were able to build a bond with him for a year and a half. After that is when children start to develop psychological disorders if they are ripped away from consistency. He was ripped away and went back to a cousin that he hadn’t met yet. He’s now been gone for 6 months. My mom fought back and let her voice be heard. Now, he’s going to reunify with us and hopefully be able to be adopted or his mom and dad if they pull their life together. He is percent our family. We will take care of him and get sealed to him if his parents don’t step up.
Q: Do you think you’re going to be a foster mom?
A: I’ve thought about it. I love children and being able to help families. Seeing everything happen and how broken the system is, it’s really hard to want to help. Because essentially, what happens with the families is they get treated like long-term babysitters, and so you’re basically playing a game that you can’t win. I most likely will foster if my husband would allow me to, but it would be once I am quite a bit older and more financially stable. I would only be able to take so much. Even if I don’t do fostering, I would love to do adoption.
Q: What do you want the students to know about adoption or adoption day/month?
A: It’s a really awesome thing to be able to help these kids get out of their situations and give them a totally different life. It’s definitely something I would encourage just because there are so many children out there that don’t have families, don’t have a forever home and don’t have the knowledge of the gospel. They feel very much alone.
Adoption and fostering definitely is a huge part of my life and something that not a whole lot of people like to talk about, but it’s not anything to be afraid of. It’s is something you need to celebrate and understand that you’ve given this child a totally different life. If we would not have adopted my sister or had her in our home there’s no saying she would have ever been able to find the gospel and she would have been able to be sealed. If the foster care system hadn’t been able to snatch her when they did, I don’t know that she would even be alive at this point.