We are proud of all of the foster adoptive parents we work with through Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services, but today we want to spotlight one special couple who was recognized nationally for their efforts.
Betsy and Gene DuKatz recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the Adoption Excellence Award presented by the Department of Health and Human Services. The pair won under the category of Family Contributions, which focuses on the personal contribution of parents who have significantly impacted the life of children adopted from foster care.
The DuKatzes are committed foster adoptive parents who advocate for children and their families. They have heavily involved with the Foster Parent Advisory Council and have devoted their time and efforts to developing a mentor program, assisting in training other foster parents, and are always available to offer guidance and advice to other foster parents or prospective families. They are terrific foster/adoptive parent ambassadors and have been kind enough to share much of their experience and wisdom right here on our Kid Hero blog.
With 402,000 U.S. children currently in foster care – 102,000 of those awaiting adoption – the need for people like Betsy and Gene DuKatz could not be greater. We are truly blessed to have them as part of our dedicated team.
From all of us here at Community Services, congratulations and best wishes on a well-deserved award!
-Laura Goba , out-of-home program manager for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services.
As a teacher, nowhere in my contract does it say I have to meet with parents outside of the workday, send texts, emails, notes, letters or call them on the phone. As a teacher, I cannot imagine it any other way. The relationships I build with the families of my students help in every way to make their children more successful. When all people involved are communicated with, when the same message is heard by all … better things happen.
So why is communication within fostering any different? Why is communication with biological parents not a better way to successful outcomes? Continue reading →
We first met our daughter when she was 3 months old – a tiny, bald, screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs little baby. She was scared, she didn’t recognize the voices she was hearing or the new smells of someone else’s home, or this other Momma’s arms she was in. As excited as we were to meet her, to get to cuddle and dress her, the day we met our daughter was essentially the worst day of her life. Because no matter how unhealthy, unsafe or unreliable her home life was, when she was brought to our home and to our arms she was ripped away from her very first primary attachment in her “first Mom.”
The loss of her primary attachment figure is a wound, the abuse and neglect she experienced in her first three months is a wound, Continue reading →
When we started looking into fostering just under a year ago, we knew absolutely nothing about the system, the process, the (amazing) people or how to begin the process. We began talking to everyone we met and learned that there are so many opportunities to help and be part of this incredible community.
Like any organization, we have found that Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services
has endless possibilities to help make a difference. Continue reading →
As a parent of a high school senior, our family is deep in the summer season of graduation – ceremonies, parties, and the constant celebration of successes. Yet what if I told you to you should also celebrate failure? What if I told you to “fail up” next time, to fail a little better? You see, success is a journey with stops of failure along the way. We have the best intentions, we set goals, we adjust the route and we stay positive and hopeful. But the journey throws us curve balls and we occasionally go down swinging.
Speaking of striking out, Babe Ruth (aka The Babe, The Great Bambino, the Sultan of the Swat himself) once said, Continue reading →
Every once in a while, right in the middle of a typically normal activity like folding the laundry or washing dishes, it hits me. I realize just how lucky – no, how blessed, I am!
You see, as an adoptive mama, one of the comments that really gets under my skin is “Your daughter is one lucky girl” My daughter experienced things no child should ever have to, and then on top of all that she lost her primary attachment figure when she was removed from her birth mom. It doesn’t matter how ugly of a living environment that was, being removed from it meant losing everything she knew. However, that great loss is also what provided the opportunity for great healing.
Continue reading →
This past May, we adopted our son from foster care. He has been in our care his whole life – they called me within minutes of his birth to see if we could foster him for a while. Days turned into weeks, weeks into years until he was adopted at 2½ years old. There was another special woman in his life who had been there in the beginning – his birth mom. We met after a few days of him living with us, we wrote letters and had a few quick phone calls here or there while I fostered him, but things were super awkward. We never quite knew how to end the conversation. We always had so much more to say to each other, but we could never found the words – until the adoption was final.
Continue reading →
Don’t worry about the sticks and stones of fostering. It’s the words that can hurt.
That old childhood rhyme “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will
never hurt me” is really just the opposite of what we deal with in life. I can’t really think of the times I’ve had to protect or defend myself from
the sticks and stones yet I can name countless times I’ve had to defend, protect or heal from the hurt of words.
- ”When are you done with this fostering?”
- “Your decision was made for your whole family.”
- “Why are you adding more stress to your life?”
Early on in our fostering journey, we felt the need to try to answer everyone’s questions, Continue reading →
Over the years I have tried to walk alongside many of my foster parent friends who are trying SO hard to do right by their foster kids. Here are six things I desperately want to say to each foster parent:
1) THANK YOU. There are too many foster kids without a good, loving home. Thanks for stepping up to the plate.
2) Stop trying to figure out your case. Try not to focus on birth families. The decisions they make and the way things play out will not play out differently if you are worrying about them.
3) Try to figure out how to work with and encourage birth families. Kindness goes a long way. Do not worry about their messes or their choices. Just send pictures, update them on milestones and keep them posted. They may need advice and help, Continue reading →
A few weeks ago, we welcomed some tiny little baby feet into our home. These little feet and the adorable baby they are attached to caught us somewhat off guard. Instantly, we were thrown back into the world of bottles, diapers, and midnight waking, back into a family of seven with a mere couple of hours to prepare. I for one was very emotional with this placement knowing the pain that his momma was going through not being able to be home with her new baby.
Many of our friends and family showed support without hesitation. We had meals brought to us, loads of formula and diapers donated, clothes and blankets showed up. We even had help with some of the other kids during those first few days. There’s also my personal favorite, friends dropping buy with a big olecup of coffee! This was by far more support than we have received with any of the previous foster kiddos we welcomed into our home.
To those who have supported us or other foster parents, I say, thank you. You have no idea how much a cup of coffee, or a pack of diapers means to us. It might seem like a small gesture to you, but to us it means that you are with us in a time when things are chaotic and we can sometimes feel alone. Continue reading →