Family Finds Joy in the Simple Things of Life
By Oscar Ramirez
County of Orange Social Services Agency
Math, music and art are the school subjects and hobbies Darlene, Destiny, Deyla and Fernando enjoy as their academic and creative outlet. But what they really enjoy is simply spending time together as a family. Whether it’s taking a walk around the neighborhood, eating a meal out at a restaurant or enjoying a pepperoni and mushroom pizza with no pineapple (ever) at home, the children love the time spent together with their adoptive parents, Jose and Maria.
Jose and Maria didn’t set out to be resource parents, but all that changed with one phone call when they were asked to take in four children. Without hesitation, they welcomed the children into their family and finalized the adoption in 2021. Taking care of four children is no easy task, even under the best of circumstances. For Jose and Maria, caring for four children while navigating the complex child welfare system emphasized their determination to provide a safe and loving home. By partnering with the County of Orange Social Services Agency, Children & Family Services division, Jose and Maria were equipped to help the children on their road to healing and embodied the Division’s mission of ensuring children live in safe, nurturing and permanent homes.
Because children in foster care have experienced some form of trauma, resource parents receive training on understanding the effects of trauma and helping children heal. Jose and Maria said it was challenging dealing with the children’s depression and gaining their trust. The couple applied their trauma training knowledge and broke through barriers by compassionately communicating with the children. Over time, trust was established by modeling healthy behaviors and showing empathy. The family also established routines, such as eating breakfast before school and having dinner ready when the children returned home. This gives the children a sense of continuity and security.
When thinking about family, Darlene and Destiny said they find happiness and meaning in the simple things. They love attending family parties, such as sweet 16s, and socializing with cousins. The children are always up for a good card or board game. Deyla and Destiny enjoy math, and Destiny’s goal is to pass her honors math examination. She also expresses her artistic side by designing outfits. Darlene loves music and plays the trombone in her high school’s jazz band. Deyla also loves art and drawing flowers, while Fernando spends time with his coloring books.
Love is the first word that comes to Deyla’s mind when thinking about her new family. Jose and Maria found the greatest satisfaction in “keeping the children together and knowing they are comfortable and full of joy.” For those thinking about adopting from foster care, Darlene advises to trust the process and Destiny said, “It will all be worth it in the end.” Can you or someone you know provide a safe and supportive home for children in care, either for a season or a lifetime? For information about becoming a resource parent, call (888) 871-5437.