Katie’s story began in 2008, when she and her husband Jonathan adopted a beautiful baby girl. Their adoption agency had impressed upon them the benefits of having an open adoption, so Katie and Jonathan went into the adoption of their daughter hoping to build a connection with their daughter’s mother, Amy. Unaware of any resources or classes on how to build this relationship, Katie, Jonathan and Amy worked over the next several years to get to know each other and figure out how each fit in their daughter’s life. It wasn’t always easy. However, seeing their daughter benefit from knowing both of her families kept them motivated to continue building their relationship.
Inspired by their relationship with Amy, Katie and Jonathan decided to become foster parents. They worked hard to build relationships with the parents of children they cared for, and again realized that there was really no class or instruction booklet on how to build these connections. Seeing a need, Katie began informally helping other foster and adoptive parents navigate these complex relationships.
Eventually Katie became a co-trainer for the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence, teaching Caregiver Care Training (a 24 hour class required for all WA state prospective foster caregivers). A defining moment occurred after teaching the section on “Working with biological parents”. One of the class attendees said “I now understand the importance of at least trying to work with the parents of the child in my care. But where do I go to get the skills I need to build these connections?” As a seasoned foster parent, Katie was not aware of any further trainings or even handouts to which she could refer her. Katie realized there was a real need to help equip foster parents to navigate these complex relationships and connections.
Born from this experience was Fostering Connections. Through interactive workshops Katie hopes to help foster and adoptive parents understand the benefits of connections, as well as develop practical tools for building connection.