Licensing, Adoption and Reunification: One Family’s Story

November is National Adoption Month, and we are grateful for the opportunity to highlight one family’s story. If you, or someone you know, are interested in foster care or adoption, learn more here.

To share the impact of adoption and reunification, Joline and Jeordorie have agreed to share their story.

My wife and I have always been interested in becoming licensed to foster and adopt. We decided in 2015 that it was time to jump in headfirst and get licensed. By January 2016 we received our license, and by February Alex was placed with us. It wasn’t long after that our case manager let us know that Alex’s mom was pregnant and due very soon. After giving birth, Alex’s mom had left her daughter, Izzy, at the hospital. Izzy’s father, who was incarcerated, signed documentation relinquishing his rights, and their mother never made contact with the Department of Child Safety. We happily adopted Alex in 2018 and Izzy in 2020.

Foster Care doesn’t necessarily mean Adoption for children who have been removed from their homes. In Arizona, the Department of Child Safety’s ultimate goal is reunification. What is reunification? In basic terms, it is the focus on reuniting, or reunification, for families that have completed steps and processes to prove they can provide a stable and loving home for their children. Child welfare is not a straight line, nor is it just black and white. There are specific criteria and reasons for removing children from their homes, and just as specific details and processes for reuniting children with their families. All families deserve love, resources, and support to be the best parents they can be.

Joline & Jeordorie with their family during the adoption of Izzy.

My wife and I really understand the importance of reunification. We have helped reunify two sets of siblings with their respective mothers. The first siblings that were reunified had been removed from their father who was later incarcerated. Their mom was the safety plan, but unfortunately she had left the children home alone with their father. Over time, she was able to prove herself and get the children back. While the siblings were with us, we encouraged them to be in contact as much as they wanted, and as much as we could.  Occasionally, we will see each other around town and check in with the siblings and their mom.

The second siblings’ reunification we were involved with was a little more difficult. The father had abusive tendencies and used harsh language. Their mother was able to get away from him and he took off to a different city.  After getting away, it took a while for their mother to heal. She went through counseling and rehab. She had some mental health issues and had found out she was pregnant when the siblings were in care. By the time the baby was born, she had completed everything the Department of Child Safety had required and found her a place to live. The children transitioned slowly and reunified in December of 2019.  We are still in contact with mother and girls, they have even had slumber parties with our daughter! We are so glad that things have worked out and love getting updates from them.

This is a good family who stays on top of everything, responds quickly and communicates with me well.  I am blessed to have these women on my case load!

Joline & Joerdorie’s AzCA Case Manager

Last fiscal year, AzCA helped facilitate 326 adoptions and placed more than 1,200 children and youth in loving foster homes. Learn more about foster care and adoption with AzCA by attending one of our adoption info sessions or by contacting us. Start your foster care and adoption journey here.

Stories like this wouldn’t be possibly without our staff. If you would like to send a message of thanks to our staff or other employees at AzCA, please fill out our form. Help us thank our employees for the amazing work that they do. Send your message here.

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