By Diane Ponist
So there we were, just put the kids to bed on a random Saturday evening, exhausted from painting and renovations on our house. When Kristin screams, “babe, you’ll never guess the message we just got”. As I came down the stairs she turns her phone to me and I’m in shock. A foster child that I lost touch with, in which broke my heart, found me!
9 years ago, gay and lesbian couples were not easily able to adopt or foster. I fostered a sibling group, when placed with me, they were 2 and 3 years old. I didn’t understand at the time, I went into this thinking and expecting it would be forever. I was in my mid 20’s and thought this is it, I am officially a parent. Everything went pretty well, they were with me for 2-3 years and the goal was adoption.
A couple days before the scheduled adoption, I received a call at work. The foster agency said there was bad news. That children and youth said that I was no longer a good fit, I didn’t make enough money in their eyes. When I argued that my finances were the same, it came out that gay and lesbian individuals were ok to foster but not really accepted for adoption in this county, my heart hit the floor. I was given 24 hrs with the children that I have raised for the past few years before they were taken to a group home.
I was able to have visits with them every weekend for 2 more months. Then came the final call saying that we needed to part ways so the children can move on. Unfortunately, I had one final phone call to say my goodbyes forever. This phone call I begged for, to say I love you and that this was not my decision. I stressed to be good and know I will always love you.
I went through a deep depression for a long time after this. It was hard to find happiness, how could this of happened, especially without warning. I stayed in touch with their family members as much as possible, I even fought the state through court, spent everything I had and lost. Apparently, children and youth were able to make any decision they wanted, without documented discrimination, of course they didn’t physically write the true reason in the file.
So as the years went on, I was against fostering going forward. I couldn’t go through this loss ever again. It felt like my kids were kidnapped in a way, they were ripped from me without warning, never to see them again. Years later Kristin and I decided to do straight adoption through the foster system, not technically foster again. That’s when we found DeAndre, he was legally free for adoption when we met him. It was safe enough, then learned later that we needed to put a wall up in order to foster more children. It honestly took years to get to that point.
For this girl to find me, she was 4 years old when we last saw each other. Now she is 13, she said she has always missed me. That over the years she has always thought about me and went through very hard times. She and her brother are now adopted and live only minutes away. She cried when we talked and I told her how I fought, I fought hard and lost. She cried because she said she felt I was the only one that ever really loved her. This one moment, makes it apparent–the impact you have. No matter the pain, how you may possibly save a child for them just to know someone out there truly cares.