Miranda and Alex opened their homes and hearts a couple years ago to three girls, all under the age of three. Two of the girls are Latina and one is African-American. Today, they say their transracial family gets plenty of questions from people who are confused by their family makeup, but they are happy to answer if it means one more kid can get help in the foster care system. From the words of Miranda, here is their story about why they ultimately chose to build their family through the foster care system.
Why did you and your husband choose foster care to create your family?
I’ve wanted babies for a long time, but my husband never even considered it. He didn’t want to continue his genetic lineage. We briefly considered international adoption but then we thought there were kids right here in Los Angeles County who needed us. We began looking into different ways we could adopt. Foster care spoke to me. Then I read an article about Los Angeles foster care and adoption organization, Raise A Child and we attended one of their events. We cried the whole time. Then a year passed before we attended another foster family event, where we cried again–this time in the front row. It touched our hearts in a way that nothing ever had before, and that’s when we knew. Foster-to-adoption was our way to go.
Why did an entire year pass before you returned to Raise A Child to pursue fostering?
After attending those two family events and crying our eyes out, foster care was always in the back of our minds and hearts. We actually couldn’t believe a whole year had passed. I think we were overwhelmed and thought “what difference could we really make?” During that year, I came to realize that if everyone could be good to one person, we would all be doing our part.
Did you have a hard time convincing your husband to become foster/adopt parents?No, I knew his heartstrings would be affected. He’s not an over thinker, which is good. We were scared. Not perfect. Alex worried that he wouldn’t be a good dad. This is a scary commitment for a lot of men. Becoming a parent forced him to grow up and he has risen to the occasion. My husband is an amazing father.
Since you went through Raise A Child to start the foster/adoption process, can you share what it was like?We went to a Raise A Child event, which is basically a meet-and-greet for prospective fost/adopt parents to visit with foster family agencies from around Los Angeles and learn about parenthood. We met social workers from different agencies and saw what they had to offer, learned their philosophies, location, goals, etc. We met with one agency but knew it wasn’t the right fit; they were pretty negative about adopting through the foster care system. Then we found the right match for us, Ivon Favela, Recruiter and Trainer from Five Acres. After some time went by, she came all the way out to our apartment on a really rainy night just to talk to us about foster care. She basically said, “if you bleeding hearts don’t do this, who will? That’s when we really connected with doing this crazy thing [foster/adoption].”
So once you guys decided to proceed, what was the next step to becoming parents?Over the course of four weekends, we did training at Five Acres and got a crash course on how the foster care system works. Often times, other families came in to our training sessions to talk about their parenting experiences. We heard everything from horror stories to heartwarming stories and just cried the whole time. But we knew it was worth it going through it. We had a TON of paperwork to complete, so we chose a night and powered through it. If something was hard, we skipped it and came back to it later. It was much more in depth than anything I expected.”
How have people reacted to your transracial family configuration?
We get stared at all the time–I like to pretend it’s because I look nice that day. But the racial makeup of our family sometimes makes people feel like they can say anything. While I’m happy to receive hair tips for our daughters, I wish people would stop asking me if I’m babysitting. (she laughs) But most of the time comments are very positive and people have been extremely supportive.
What do you think deters families from fostering?
Foster care has such a negative stigma attached to it that people become afraid and talk themselves out of it. Or prospective parents spend too much time on the Internet and receive input from naysayers who say dumb things like “the kids will kill you in your sleep.” These comments couldn’t be further from the truth. These kids are amazing and resilient. They have already lived through things that have made them stronger. That being said, people should go with their gut and listen to their intuition.
What do you both love about being foster parents?Having a big, full, fun family and watching our foster daughters grow with love and stability. It really is a dream come true.
To read more about their family, check out Miranda’s blog: www.thejoyfulpurpose.com.
Learn Why Foster Children Need Homes
With the passing of the Continuum of Care Reform or Assembly Bill B403 in January 2017, more foster parents and resource families, as well as adoptive parents are needed to care for the staggering number of foster youth without a permanent family. You do not need to be marries, straight, wealthy, own your own home, be working full-time, have a college degree or be a stay-at-home parent to foster and/or adopt. Many single and LGBT people are successful foster and adoptive parents, like Amber and Nani.