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‘We’re So Thankful We Said Yes to Fostering Teens!’: Foster Parent Shares Her Fostering and Adopting Journey

Teens who age out of foster care without a permanent support system are at increased risk of homelessness, young parenthood, low educational attainment, and other issues. Youth who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate high school and earn a college education too.

As a result, they often face challenges in finding gainful employment. For example, only half of youth who were once in foster care finish high school, and less than 3% graduate college. These devastating outcomes are often a result of emotional issues, difficulty achieving passing grades, and mental health challenges. However, committed foster parenting can help mitigate their risk status.  

The Emotional Impact of Foster Care for Teens

Foster care provides a safe place that allows youth and their birth family an opportunity to resolve conflicts and learn healthy skills so the youth can safely return home. Some birth families need help learning effective parenting skills, overcoming substance abuse, or learning healthy ways to cope with the trauma. Foster care allows time for this while attending to the child’s needs.

These adolescents, including teens, may have experienced abuse, neglect, or other family challenges. Foster families fill a void for these teens, providing care, support, love, and compassion kids need to heal and grow. And at the same time, foster parents themselves become enriched by the experience. 

Foster Parents Adopt Teen Siblings From Foster Care

Kelsey and Jason Stock are KVC foster parents who are in the process of adopting teen siblings from foster care. In this story from KSHB 41, they discuss their fostering and adopting journey and highlight the need to provide loving homes for youth in need, especially teens and sibling groups.

Kelsey also wrote a piece for our Annual Story Contest. In it, she goes into further detail on her fostering and adopting journey:

My husband and I decided in February 2020 that we wanted to pursue becoming foster parents. We started our classes in March 2020. Due to Covid, we were among the first families to take the classes to become licensed virtually, which we found to actually expedited the process and made it more convenient for our schedules. Catherine Long was our instructor for the class, and she was a fantastic person to teach us.  

Before we started our foster parent training, we agreed that we would accept children ages 0 to 3. By the end of our training, we decided to get licensed for kids ages 0-8, as we learned of the great need for homes to care for sibling sets and increasing our age range would accommodate for that. We officially got our license in July 2020, just four months after starting the classes, and a few days later we said yes to our first placement.  

They were a sibling set of three kids, all under age 8. They were only in our home for six weeks, but after that experience, we decided that we would open our license to kids ages 0-18, as we felt a pull to foster teenagers despite have three young biological kids of our own. On August 31, 2020 we welcomed our first long-term teenage placement into our home. She had been in foster care for over six years and, while she was in our care, her parental decided to terminate their rights. We knew within the first two weeks of her living with us that we wanted to adopt her.  

In July 2021, we had the opportunity for her brother, who was also in care, to come live with us too so they could be adopted together. We are still in the adoption process to adopt both siblings, but are thrilled they are a part of our family forever. We are so glad we said “Yes!” to fostering teens and now encourage others to do the same! 

How You Can Help

In the Kansas foster care system, more foster parents are needed than ever before. The most significant way you can help is by becoming a foster parent. If you’re interested, we’d love to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process. Click here to contact us!

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