Taking the Next Step: Starting the Journey to Adoption
This month we sat down with a local Austin realtor, Kate (Kat) Stanley who has recently taken steps on her journey to foster and/or adopt. Knowing that the process can be intimidating, she sat down with Support Services Director Erin Argue on a chilly Friday over tacos and tea to get a better understanding of the process and see where she fits into the mix.
How did you learn about PFC?
Kate: In a truly serendipitous fashion, I learned about Partnerships for Children through a clearly more-than-chance encounter. As a realtor, I was meeting a client to show her some homes she was interested in, and she happened to bring her friend along for the ride. As we stood in the kitchen of this house, we started discussing jobs and lives and it just so happened that the “friend” was you [Erin]. Earlier that very week, I couldn’t stop thinking about adopting, and then there you were – working with an organization that helps connect people to adoption! This happened to be right before the REVEAL event and I was fortunate to be able to attend. While I was there, feeling the energy of the room, seeing the portraits of the children, and meeting those involved, I knew I was in the right place. Erin and I met so I could ask her a bunch of questions, and she pointed to me to website for Foster Community, where I attended an adoption information session and I’m working to become a babysitter for families with foster children.
What was your journey to adopting?
Kate: My entire life, since I was a young kid, I just knew I felt a calling to be an adoptive parent. My home life wasn’t necessarily what I wanted, and now that I've grown up, I realized I can be that place of stability and the home for others. All children deserve a loving family, and if for whatever reason that’s not with their parents, it can certainly be with me. As I've grown over the last couple of years, the understanding that this really is possible sort of hit me.
“My entire life, since I was a young kid, I just knew I felt a calling to be an adoptive parent.”– Kate Stanley
What are the barriers that you’ve encountered?
Kate: As someone going through this process as a single woman, it can be intimidating to think I can do it all on my own. Fortunately, I have an incredible support system. My whole family is back east, but I have been blessed with amazing friends who grew up here and welcomed me into their families as one of their own. Meeting Erin was really wonderful, and we have become friends – she helps answer questions and points me in the right direction. Knowing how my lifestyle is integrated with friends who already have kids and are supportive of me doing this, I feel like I can welcome and include a child in my home, like I have been included in others.
I know that being a parent of any kind requires flexibility, right now, I'm in my second year as a realtor and I work long hours and have to quickly go to showings. Transitioning from an event planner after the great shutdown of 2020, I realize I have to work twice as hard to catch up. Luckily, being a realtor, I know that as I progress, I can still maintain strong working relationships and flexibility, too. As I am becoming established, I will be able to still work hard, but with a less exhausting schedule.
At the end of the day, you can never be fully prepared, and that’s ok. There are people to help along the way! Making sure I’m not approaching this with rose colored glasses has helped me stay grounded. This will be challenging, but this will be worth it.
At the end of the day, you can never be fully prepared, and that's ok.– Kate Stanley
What advice do you have for anyone who is in a situation like yours? Interested, not sure what to do, or where to start?
Kate: First, it is OK to be intimidated. It is an intimidating process. However, if you feel it in your heart, you will always find a way to make it work, so just start. Have coffee with someone who is already doing it, attend an adoption information session, ask questions, get involved. You never know where your journey will take you, but you will not regret it. Also, there are small pieces that make up the whole – you do not wake up one morning and suddenly you are a foster or adoptive parent – it takes time, and each step has individual requirements – focus on one thing to get it done! For me, it was reaching out to that relationship and connection I made through Erin, then attending an information session. Each step I have taken, I have found comfort in knowing I am doing the right thing for myself. That was really helpful because it reminded me that everyone came from a different spot. There were people in one-bedroom apartments testing the waters, parents about to be empty nesters, there is not any one type that can or cannot do it, so have some grace for yourself. At the end of the day, just begin.
If you’re interested in learning more about fostering or adoption, please visit the Foster Community website to get information about child placing agencies, adoption information sessions, and more! Each time you open your heart to supporting a child, youth, or family involved with Child Protective Services you help make tomorrow a little better than today!