A Fuller Family: Foster to Adopt

Officially Fullers
Officially Fullers
Fuller Adoption
« 1 of 4 »

 

Jack and Kendrena Fuller didn’t lose hope when their doctor told them they couldn’t have children. The couple, who live in Redlands, CA, decided to do something positive with their circumstances. In 2015, the Fullers decided to become foster parents.

Jackson was placed with them first, a hands-on, smart child who continues to wow the Fullers with his ability to be a fast learner. Then came Elyn, a smiley girl whose joy is to make others smile. Both were just a few weeks old when they came into Jack and Kendrena’s lives. Jackson, now 2, and Elyn, just a little over a year old, are officially Fullers.

“There was a hole for us and they filled it,” Jack said. Kendrena added that she would encourage others to foster-adopt. “It’s an amazing experience and a fulfilling feeling,” she said.

Officially Fullers

The whole family was present on the day of the adoption hearing and has been supportive of Jack and Kendrena’s foster-adopt journey from the beginning. “They love the children as much as we do,” Jack said. Family members towed balloons, signs and toys for the children, celebrating and cheering on the growing family.

The day was an exciting one for the Fullers. Kendrena described it as “amazing” and Jack said it was also a relief to officially be the children’s parents. However, the Fuller’s story doesn’t end here. Jack and Kendrena are in the process of adopting Jackson’s biological little sister who is just four months old. “They called us from the hospital. We had about five minutes to decide and we went for it,” Kendrena said. “We’re so glad, she’s a sweet girl.”

Watch for our next blog on the Fuller family as we continue the journey from foster care to adoption. If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call us at 888-346-9645 or email info@trinityys.org. You also may begin the process right now by filling out an inquiry form by clicking here.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle RenschMarketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


img_0603-jpg

Family Fun Day

Assemblyman SteinorthTrinity Youth Services’ Rancho Cucamonga office currently serves 42 families and has 70 youth in placement. Resource families invite foster youth into their own home to provide consistent support and compassion, day in and day out.

“We had this event to bring families together,” said Trinity Rancho Cucamonga Director, Laura Abujudeh. “It was an opportunity for us to take the time to extend a ‘thank you’ to all our resource parents for working around the clock to ensure the needs of all children in their care are met.”

In attendance were resource families, Assemblyman Steinorth, The Hillman Group and Trinity staff, for a total of about 60 people. The Hillman Group Rialto Distribution Center held multiple fundraisers to make this event possible and even volunteered the day of the event to help barbeque. LuLaRoe also fundraised for this event and made a generous donation of “mommy and me” clothing sets, which were raffled during the event.

img_0603-jpgFamilies in attendance enjoyed entertainment by Susie Q the Clown, face painting, a bounce house, barbequed hotdogs, fresh salad and tasty gelato. Families also received a gift bag provided in partnership with the Children’s Foundation of America.

“I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to express how deeply gratified I am that each and every one of these families has invested their time and energy into taking care of our young people” said Steinorth. “I believe in foster families and I believe in adoption; I believe that all of those good works really make the difference. You have made an immeasurable difference for all of them.”

Thank you to all who helped make this event possible, showing gratitude to the families who have generously opened their hearts and their homes for children in need. Most importantly, thank you to the families who care for children in foster care.


Sasha Chavez, AmeriCorps VIP Intern
Sasha is volunteering with Trinity Youth Services and the Children’s Foundation of America as our AmeriCorps VIP (Volunteer Infrastructure Program) Intern. This mutually beneficial partnership allows Sasha to work hand-in-hand with our nonprofit organizations to develop and expand the quality of the volunteer opportunities to address the unmet needs of our local community. Sasha has been a wonderful asset to our team. She creates content for our social media, assists with our community outreach and has even helped by coordinating fundraisers and volunteer opportunities. She lives locally to our headquarters in Claremont and studies public relations and marketing at the University of La Verne. When she isn’t working as an intern, she enjoys reading, being outdoors and spending time with my friends and family.


 

core services

education core services

The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) was designed so that children living out of their home would be provided the most appropriate placement in committed nurturing resource (foster) homes. Services and supports will be tailored based on each child’s needs. All of these services and supports fall into 6 Core Services: mental health, transition support upon entry, educational/physical/behavioral/extracurricular support, transition to adulthood support, permanency support, and Native American child services.

The Trinity Youth Services (TYS) team, along with our resource (foster) families, will directly provide the core services and support to children, Non-minor Dependents (NMD) and their families, fulfilling the requirements of the CCR.

Last month we outlined the second core services, transition support services and what that entails. This month we will look at educational, physical, behavioral, and extracurricular support. This core service covers a wide range of items that will help each child feel more “normal” in foster care.

core services

Educational

TYS will ensure that resource parents enroll school-aged children within three school days. The Treatment Foster Care Social Worker (TFCSW) will assist the resource parent if the school does not enroll the child immediately. TYS will ensure that children have access to the same academic resources as other students. TYS will ensure that if a child is struggling in school, the TFCSW along with the Child and Family Team will request that the school hold a Student Study Team (SST) meeting and/or an assessment for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The TFCSW will ensure that tutoring services are received, if needed. The TFCSW will assist youth in vocational and/or college preparatory tasks. The TFCSW will ensure that children and youth are receiving life skills training by the resource parents.

Physical, Behavioral, & Mental Health

The TFCSW will ensure that resource parents obtain all medical, dental, behavioral, and mental health services that the child needs with set time frames. The TFCSW will ensure that all children and youth have support and advocacy with respect to prompt and culturally sensitive interventions when being bullied for any reason, such as physical characteristics, foster care status, sexual orientation/gender identity expression (SOGIE), race/ethnicity, or age. Resource parents and the TFCSW are to work closely together to serve the needs of the children. Whenever there is a concern or question the resource parent should be notifying their assigned TFCSW.

Extracurricular

Part of normalizing the children’s experience in foster care is to get them involved in activities or groups either at school or in the community. Schools have a variety of clubs children can join—choir, art club, or sports. In the community, there are various recreational activities—swimming, baseball, softball, or Girl or Boy Scouts. Resource parent must include the children in making the choice of what type of activity interests them. Being involved in such activities helps the children feel connected to other people and make friends with other children with similar interests. Many communities offer short classes through their parks and recreation departments, this is an inexpensive way to expose your children to a variety of activities.

My next blog will cover transition to adulthood support. This topic dives into the important support offered to TYS youth as they obtain independence.


Jacqueline Jakob copyJackie Jakob, Foster Care and Adoptions Director
Having over 20 years’ experience, Jackie currently oversees Trinity Youth Services’ operations of foster care and adoptions programs throughout Southern California and in Houston, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and recently became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children attending various baseball, softball and judo meets. She is on the parent board for a judo dojo and is one of the troop leaders for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Additionally, she really enjoys running half marathons and aims to run 4 to 5 races each year.
Tel: 909.825.5588 | Email: info@trinityys.org


img_9805-2-web

img_9805-2-web

Ka’Tai’Lin (5), Q’iyonna (7) and Ke’ontae (9) spent over 4 years in adoptive foster care. Finally on June 8, 2017, the children found their forever family.

Tesia Weaver became a foster parent because she believed it “needed to be done. There are so many children in the world who need help. It just needed to be done,” she said. She began by fostering Q’iyonna.

Tesia saw Q’iyonna’s brother waiting for her after school, “They hugged and I knew they needed to be together,” she said. She contacted their social worker and asked what it would take to keep them together. Tesia was informed that Q’iyonna didn’t have just one brother, but two and in order to keep them together, Tesia was asked if she would consider adopting.

She knew the children not only needed each other, but they needed her in order to keep them together. She rose to the occasion and decided to adopt all three children. When they heard they would be reunited, “they were so excited,” Tesia said. “Q’iyonna was very excited when she heard her brothers were coming to live with us.”

img_9867-2-web

On the day of the adoption, Tesia explained she was feeling a multitude of emotions, including “excited and overwhelmed,” she said. “It has been a long time coming. We’re finally here! We’re all excited and happy to be here.” There have been challenges along the way including helping the children understand the steps that must be taken and comforting them with reassurance that they do in fact have a family.

Tesia has found it a challenge “explaining to the children it’s almost here, when it takes a few years. It’s a process,” she said. Ke’ontae was teased at school for being a foster child, but Tesia made sure to reinforce to him that he is part of a family and has a loving home.

Throughout the process, Tesia had the support of her mother, two young adult children and her church. The family has utilized counseling provided by their church and their pastor, Dwayne Jones, has stepped up to be a positive and supportive influence in the children’s lives. The children help at the church with small tasks and Pastor Jones recently taught Ke’ontae how to play the drums.

Their pastor attended the adoption for moral support and commented that he is “happy for them. They have been looking forward to this for a long time.”

img_9818-2-web-cropped

As they waited for their hearing, the children stood out from others, playing with math flash cards, quietly reading, and reading to each other. “The children are very smart,” Pastor Jones said.

Tesia’s mother began looking through photos on her phone of the children since the time they were placed with the family. She reminisced, shared stories and giggled at the sweet things the children had done and all the things they have accomplished as a family leading up to this day. During the hearing, the children’s new “official” grandma was so moved with emotion that, at the end, in tears, she embraced the children.

img_9840-2-web

Tesia looked proud of her growing family as she sat down with the children at the judge’s podium, asking the boys to kindly “sit up straight, please,” to which the children promptly complied, remembering their manners.

To anyone considering adopting or foster parenting, Tesia says, “go for it. There is a feeling of completion for all and the children no longer feel abandoned.”

If you are interested in fostering or adopting like Tesia, call 888-346-9645 or email info@trinityys.org today.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle Rensch, Marketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


Brenes

Brenes Adoption

Brother and sister, Cesar (13) and Betzaida (12), were placed into foster care eight years ago. They were detained from their birth mother, placed into the care of their older sister, then were also removed from her care. With their father deceased and no other family to provide them the care they needed, Trinity Youth Services began a search for a loving forever family. Three years ago, they were placed with resource parents, Maria De La Torre and Francisco Brenes.

“Ever since the children were placed in our home, they asked to be adopted,” Maria said. Francisco and Maria didn’t need much convincing. They were happy to grant the children their wish of becoming a family.

“They didn’t have anyone to care for them. They didn’t have a stable home,” Maria said, and on May 4, 2017 the children legally became the children of Maria and Francisco. “Today, I feel hope that everything is going to be ok and happy.”

As they waited in the lobby for their adoption court hearing, Cesar said he was, “feeling good about today,” to which his sister nodded in agreement.

judge

Francisco, Maria and the children had been waiting with anticipation for their adoption. “There was a lot leading up to this day and now everything is coming into place,” Maria said, explaining that it was well worth it.

In the hearing, the family signed paperwork, were explained their rights as a family, and were proclaimed a legally recognized family with all cherished responsibilities and benefits. Maria and Francisco hopped up to give their new family members great-big bear hugs. The children understood the seriousness of the day and once the judge made it official, they began to smile from ear to ear. A sense of relief washed over their faces knowing they now officially belong to a family.

brother-and-sister

Francisco and Maria look forward to encouraging their children in their interests and schoolwork, Cesar with his soccer and “Betzy” with her love for art and animals. “They love outdoor activities,” Maria said.

The Brenes family also foster a 3-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy, they are parents to children in their 30s and are grandparents to a 4-year-old little girl. Maria encourages others to foster and adopt. She is currently convincing her daughter of how rewarding it can be to care for a child whose greatest wish is to belong to a loving family.

Francisco

If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, contact Trinity Youth Services to make a child’s wish for a family come true: 888.346.9645 or info@trinityys.org.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle Rensch, Marketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


Resource Parents

Resource Parents

Children in foster care, who have suffered trauma, require safe, nurturing relationships with resource parents so they can begin to heal. A trauma is any experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. Traumatic events can take many forms, and the way children and youth experience it can vary as well. With the help of caring and patient resource parents, children who have been traumatized can begin to cope, heal and thrive.

Children in foster care have suffered some form of abuse or neglect. It is important to gather as much history and information about the child from the placing agency or birth parent as possible. Understanding where the child comes from will help in making parenting decisions. Trying to imagine what the child has gone through and how they may have felt, will allow you to understand why they respond the way they do. Any experience, good or bad, will have an impact on a child’s behavior and how they will adjust to their new resource family. Each child is different and will have their own reaction to abuse and neglect, even if they are part of the same family. Understanding this and not taking behavior personally will make parenting a little easier.

 

Identifying Signs of Abuse and Neglect

At times it is difficult to obtain background information about the child, so it’s important as a resource parent to learn to identify signs of abuse and neglect. Below are a few signs of which to be aware. The list is not comprehensive and not all children that have these signs have been abused.

Child AbusePhysical Abuse
-Unexplained bruises, welts or swelling
-Broken bones, burns or bites
-A child cowers when approached by an adult
-Frequent physical complaints, such as stomach aches or headaches

Neglect
-Lacks needed medical or dental care
-Appears underweight
-Eats rapidly or hoards food

Sexual Abuse
-Nightmares or bedwetting
-Knowledge or interest in sexual behaviors that are not age appropriate
-Attaches very quickly to strangers

Emotional Abuse
-Fearful of parent or says they hate their parent
-Talks badly about themselves (“I’m worthless”)
-Shows either inappropriately mature behavior (parenting other children) or inappropriately childish behavior (rocking or head banging)

 

Learning How to Cope

For resource parents, it’s important to keep the social worker aware of behaviors and signs the child is exhibiting. This will help both the resource parent and social worker develop a treatment plan to better serve the needs of the child and help them start the healing process.

Teaching children how to cope with their past abuse will begin to build their resilience and allow them to flourish. The following are some things you can do to help your child’s ability to cope.

Start to Bond
Teach your child that you and your family will be there for them, no matter the situation. Talk to them about building trusting and respectful relationships. Do things as a family. Ask them about their likes and dislikes and incorporate things like favorite foods to your new family’s routine.

Allow Children to Express Their Feelings
Teach your children how to identify their feelings and praise them for expressing them. Show them that it’s okay to express being hurt, angry or sad, without having to act out. Encourage your children to talk about their biological families as well. It will put them at ease and not feel as if they have to choose between the two of you.

Be Consistent
If you say you are going to do something, do it. Show them that they can count on you. Treat everyone in the family the same. This will help to build trust.

Be Patient
Each child is different and will react differently to trauma. Don’t rush a child, they may not be ready to talk about their past. Also, be patient when children act out—it’s not about you, it’s about their trauma.

Be Supportive
Express love, caring and support to your children both verbally and physically. Give them praise, high-fives, hugs or little notes. Let them know that you are there for them.

 

Behavior

Child BehaviorThe healing process takes time and is different for every child. Children in foster care need someone to help them understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. We must teach them that behaviors have consequences and to take responsibility for their actions. Some techniques that will assist this process include:

Role Modeling
Show your child how to interact with others. Show them how to express emotions and how to deal with frustration. Stay calm. Be a model for the type of behavior you want to see them display.

Encouragement
Catch your children doing something right, and praise them. When they make a mistake correct them.

Rules
Create a routine. Have rules for bedtimes, play time, meals and homework time. Be consistent with routines and rules. When children know what is going to happen next, they are less anxious.

 

cropped-favicon.pngSupport

Resource parenting is a challenging task, but you are not alone. You are part of a child and family team that are all working together for that child to succeed. Trinity Youth Services offers 24/7 support 365 days a year. For more information, contact us at (800) 964-9811 or info@trinityys.org.

 


Jacqueline Jakob copyJackie Jakob, Foster Care and Adoptions Director
Having over 20 years’ experience, Jackie currently oversees Trinity Youth Services’s operations of foster care and adoptions programs throughout Southern California and in Houston, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and recently became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children attending various baseball, softball and judo meets. She is on the parent board for a judo dojo and is one of the troop leaders for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Additionally, she really enjoys running half marathons and aims to run 4 to 5 races each year.
Tel: 909.825.5588 | Email: info@trinityys.org


 

20170124-img_8243-web

Trinity Youth Services Adoption

 

20170124-img_8212-webA Joyous Occasion

“This is a joyous occasion,” a Trinity Youth Services adoption social worker said. After being in foster care for almost all of his young life, a 22-month-old baby boy was adopted by the Spivey family with the aid of Trinity Youth Services.

The boy was placed into foster care just days after birth. Ms. Spivey took him into her home as soon as the hospital discharged him. He was only 3 days old and Ms. Spivey immediately felt there was a place in her family for him.

“When I met him, I knew,” she said. “He’s always been such a good little boy.”

Ms. Spivey also has an 18-year-old son and is currently fostering a baby girl, who is expected to be reunited with her birth family soon. Some have told Ms. Spivey she is crazy for once again taking on the role of new mother now that her older son is grown, but her response is that she is “beyond excited.” She said, this baby boy “has always been my son and I’m here to make it legal.”

20170124-img_8236-webTogether

During the adoption finalization, Ms. Spivey was surrounded by the support of representatives from Trinity Youth Services and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), as well as her lawyer and members of her immediate and extended family. The entire Spivey family was overjoyed to welcome the child into their lives, so much so, that some relatives flew to Los Angeles to surprise Ms. Spivey by being there in person.

“This was a joint effort getting him here today,” Ms. Spivey said as she thanked everyone for being there.

20170124-img_8122-webDoing Something Right

The family and supporters gathered in the courtroom where the Spivey family’s adoption lawyer made the formal appeal for the adoption and the judge formally granted it. As the room cheered, the baby boy threw his little hat into the air, smiling and giggling. The judge laughed and commented that Ms. Spivey “must be doing something right.”

If you are moved to “do something right” for a child in need of a “Forever Family” and are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent like Ms. Spivey, contact Trinity Youth Services today to begin your journey: 888.346.9645 or info@trinityys.org.

*Names have been omitted to protect our clients’ privacy.

20170124-img_8243-web

Congratulations to the Spivey family! From all of us at Trinity Youth Services.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle Rensch, Marketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: 909.825.5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


Accreditation & Affiliations