How the Coalition Helps Families
Sam* was born three months premature and had been with Angie* since he was five weeks old.
After foster parenting for eight months, Angie legally adopted Sam. Angie had raised many children over the years, some biological and some fostered and later adopted. Angie was experienced, but now Sam, at sixteen, was really testing both her parenting skills and patience. Angie tearfully admitted to “being done,” ready to surrender Sam back into the foster care system out of frustration and desperation.
Angie contacted the Coalition, and began working with a Family Support Specialist in our AGAPE post-adoption support program. Together, they determined that a combination of typical teen behaviors and years of parenting on her own, with very little to no support, were really taking their toll. While Angie loved Sam, she was now bracing for impact when he came home from school.
Sam presented as a fairly normal teen coming home and needing to decompress alone, rather than sharing all his day’s events with his mom. Angie’s demeanor physically changed when he walked in the door as she was viewing his behavior as disrespect and apathy. She needed to be reminded that Sam’s behavior was normal and reassured that she had done nothing wrong. She was assisted to see that this is a stage when children may not come in with a hug, ready to share all their day’s events, but this was okay.
AGAPE staff continued to work with the family and learned that Sam enjoyed and was good at writing stories. This discovery opened the door for Angie to reconnect with her son and see him in a different light.
Over time, and with the assistance of their Family Support Specialist, the relationship between Sam and Angie steadily improved. Both relaxed, remembering that there is love here. Guided role playing, along with other supportive methods, provided Angie and Sam with several tools to handle the situation and the opportunity to address conflicts in a healthy way.
Angie was also connected with a Coalition affiliated parent support group to ease her sense of isolation.
As a result, Sam is secure in his home and family.
The Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York provides support, information and advocacy for foster, kinship and adoptive families and related professionals in New York State. Founded in the 1960s and incorporated in 1975, we provide services to help support families and their children. We educate the public, legislators and government leaders about the needs and realities of foster, kinship and adoptive families. Finally, we collaborate with child welfare agencies and other groups to ensure that families are best able to support and parent the children in their homes.