Introducing out July Child of the Month: Kora!
I met Kora when she was 12. She was placed in a local residential treatment center (RTC). I was an activity teacher at her school and during my year and a half program there, I absolutely fell in love with her. Kora asked me more than once if we would foster her, so when I left that job, I immediately went to the RTC associated agency and we were licensed 4 months later. Two days before school started in 2016, they brought her home. We struggled with adjusting to becoming a family. My sweet child had been hurt by adoption before, and her attachment trauma made it almost impossible for her to believe we would be there for her no matter what. We worked for a year and a half with her, through family therapy and local services, to build that trust and attachment. Throughout that time, we continued to foster other teenagers at the specialized level. Our kids struggled, as any child at that level would, but we worked with them through the behaviors and emergencies that came up. We worked with CPS to ensure that placements weren’t disrupted by force. In May of 2018, after multiple personal conflicts with our agency, we were notified they would be closing our home. We were broken. Our family therapist had just given us release to begin adoption work with Kora again. We desperately met with other agencies, explaining the situation, but it was difficult to find another agency to work with quickly.
We were heartbroken, and Kora was terrified she was going to have to leave. We worked with CPS and the case worker agreed to leave her in our care as an unauthorized placement. We thought all would be well. Three days before Kora’s 15th birthday, we got a call. Our CPS worker was unable to allow her to stay. The day after her birthday, CPS moved her across the state to another home within our original agency. We were not allowed phone calls or contact with Kora, though the goal was still for us to adopt her. During the next 5 months, we heard from our daughter sporadically when she could borrow phones from friends. Her new foster parents changed her medications, against her will and with no regard to the almost two year work we had done to get her stabilized. Finally, we completed licensing with a new agency. Our new director worked tirelessly with CPS to help them realize that the best option for Kora was to come back to us. On December 20, 2018, our baby came home! After three months, we received consent from CPS for adoption! Kora got her forever family. We are still working through therapy to rebuild the attachment and trust that was ripped away from us. Kora is still afraid that CPS will come take her away again. Her traumas were magnified over this last year, but we are so thankful the adoption is finalized, and we have her forever.
📸 Tristan Jones