When Jodi Green told her husband, Golden, that she wanted to foster and adopt children, he was hesitant. He was the spontaneous one in the family. With just their two kids, it was easy enough to head out for the beach over the weekend. But adding more to the mix? That seemed tricky.
Still, Golden agreed to take training classes. In one, they were shown the AdoptUSKids website. That’s when things changed. “You really can’t look at that website if you have a heart and not do something,” Golden explained. Jodi added, “He felt, ‘Wow, there’s all these kids without parents, that have nowhere to go at the end of the day or for holidays.’”
Once both parents were all in, the text came from a caseworker: “Would you be interested in taking in six siblings who are in foster care?” Their immediate reaction? No way. They didn’t even have a car that could transport that many children. But then they saw a photo of the kids.
“You really, truly feel like you’re making a difference in the life of a teen.”—Jodi Green
Jodi and Golden agreed to do a respite for the children for two weekends. “Respites are a good feeler,” Jodi explained. At the end of the second respite, the oldest of the siblings confided in Golden, saying, “As the oldest, it’s my job to keep everyone together.” And as they were getting ready to leave, the youngest asked if they would adopt them. Both of those moments tugged on the parents’ hearts. Maybe they really could do this.
The other kids in the home weighed in
Like many parents, it was important to Jodi and Golden that they include their children already in the home in the decision. “We thought about what impact this would have on our home that we have right now,” Jodi explained.
And they made sure their children knew the decision would be a permanent one, saying, “If you’re on board, we’re not going back on our word. This would be a commitment that we would make happen.”
A feeling of peace
They spent some time really thinking about it. When they decided they were ready, Jodi went out and bought a big van that very night.
“Once we were all in and had committed, there was a feeling of peace. Even now when it gets overwhelming—because parenthood is an overwhelming task and job regardless—we still never regret what we did,” says Jodi.
Celebrating with an adoption party and birth family members!
When it was time to celebrate the adoption, Jodi wanted it to be all about the kids. “We wanted them to celebrate themselves. It wasn’t for us—it was their adoption party.” They ran around a park with their friends, had cake, and got to see their caseworker and relatives.
Their biological grandmother joined in on the fun. This was possible because of an ongoing relationship that she and Jodi and Golden made sure to keep. “I looked for their grandmother before the adoption and we kept a dialogue going. That communication is open, and now that the boys are getting older, they can directly connect with their birth family.”
The rewards of raising teens
While they joked about how much deodorant and toilet paper they go through as a family, Jodi and Golden love raising teens. “You really, truly feel like you’re making a difference in the life of a teen. The kids feel at peace, accepted, and heard. We’ve seen extreme growth,” Jodi shares.
“Another aspect of adopting teens is it’s our job right now to prepare them for adulthood.” They have senior photos next week, two kids have driver’s licenses, and they’re looking at scholarships and jobs.
“Kids just want to be loved”
With the experience of adopting 6 siblings, it comes as no surprise that this couple has loads of advice for people considering fostering and adoption. Golden explains that, while he’s gone through tons of training, you can sum the most important things up with 3 things:
- Kids want to feel safe.
- Kids want to feel wanted.
- And kids want to feel loved.
Golden says, “When you show them those three things, you can overcome all the difficulties. It’s very fulfilling. The hard things? They’re temporary. The love is forever.”
“It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows,” Jodi adds, “but kids just want to be part of something and loved. If you’ve got a loving and giving heart, it’s really not a hard task.”