Home at Last

Home at Last

When DCF matches at-risk children with adoptive parents, magic happens

By DCF Commissioner, Joette Katz

For children who are temporarily unable to live with their biological families due to abuse or neglect, foster families provide a much-needed haven: somewhere they can feel safe, respected and cared for.

But for those children who can’t ever return to their mothers and/or fathers, temporary care – even long-term temporary care – is not a solution. As good as foster care can be, these children need a permanent home.

More than 500 individuals and couples adopt children through the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) each year. These adoptive parents are taking into their
homes kids who have had horrible things happen to them.

DCF doesn’t remove children from their families of origin without reason. Many of these youngsters have suffered chronic physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. In the case of children who become available for adoption, there’s no real possibility that the parents will ever work through their significant challenges, whether they relate to addiction, an abusive or violent personality, or a pattern of criminal behavior that places their children in jeopardy.

The products of this type of family situation are victimized, traumatized children who need to have people around them to help rebuild their self-esteem, ensure that they feel safe, and shower them with love and attention. This undertaking is not always an easy one. Because of all they’ve been through, some children may act out to see how far they can push the limits before they might be harmed again as they believe they inevitably will be.

Little by little, adoptive parents must rebuild children’s trust and help them to understand that they are safe and loved, that they are finally in their forever home and will be staying there, no matter what. For an individual or couple, that’s a huge responsibility to take on. We have incredible expectations of our adoptive parents, and yet large numbers of people step up and welcome these children into their families.

Why do they do it? The answer is simple. They love children. They want to make a positive difference in a child’s life – and their own. And they realize that the potential impact on these kids is enormous.

These are children who have been abandoned and abused and given up on. When someone actually adopts them, there is a sense of permanency, a sense that the rough road they have traveled has finally come to an end. There is a realization that they have finally, truly come home. The magic of adoption helps children heal.

When we talk to adoptive parents, they say that the rewards make it all worthwhile, that they would do it again in a heartbeat.

If you have love to share with a child, call us. A profoundly positive change in your life may be just a phone call away.