Taylor fidgets nervously in a recliner in the living room. She’s pinching the tips of her fingers one-by-one, but her mind is elsewhere. Today is a day she has been eagerly anticipating, as her foster family, John and Macy Garcia, invited their extended family over for a big announcement.
Macy is brimming with excitement as she announces, “We’re so lucky to adopt Taylor and make her a forever part of our family!”
But as cheers erupt around the room, Taylor is faced with an unexpected emotion. She manages a shy smile, darting her eyes downward to hide her trepidation.
Her new family has been nothing but warm and welcoming during her tumultuous journey through foster care. They provide stability, love, and laughter – things Taylor had longed for since in a previous chapter of her life. Yet, as happiness fills the living room, an undeniable sadness lingers in the corners of her heart.
In the quiet of her room later that evening, Taylor wrestles with conflicting emotions. She is happy with her new family and it feels so good to know she’s safe and wanted, but this also signifies the end of a secret dream she was clinging to: reuniting with her biological parents. She wonders – as she often does in her room at night – if they are thinking of her, too.
Visits with her biological parents had been supervised, filled with confusing emotions and unpredictable behavior. Now, with the adoption process complete, Taylor grapples with a deep sense of loss. Her new family, the Children’s Division and court system, and her biological parents are putting a period where she’d hoped was just a comma.
In the days that follow the adoption announcement, Macy and John sense Taylor’s internal struggle. They have worked with their Good Shepherd foster care and adoption teams to anticipate her needs and are prepared to help her feel loved, safe, and heard as she processes her feelings of loss. They tell her they are willing to support specific connections as part of a unique relationship with her birth family, honoring those ties and offering up ideas that they have discussed with their Good Shepherd case worker. After all, Taylor might carry a place for both families in her heart.
Good Shepherd works with families to help them understand that adoption, despite being a joyous occasion for many, can also be a bittersweet experience for children. The love they receive from the new families we help create is undeniable, but it often doesn’t erase the ties children feel to their biological families. We are here all day, every day, to make this journey a loving and positive experience for all!