A Family for Cooper: From Foster to Adoption
November marks the start of National Adoption Awareness Month. Children’s Home & Aid believes that all vulnerable children, whatever their ages or circumstances, deserve safe, loving homes and the chance to love, to learn, to heal, to dream and to make their way in the world. While all adoption-related issues are important, the focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care. This year, nearly 200 children have been adopted from foster care into permanent families through Children’s Home & Aid. Here’s just one of their stories.
For as long as she can remember, Socorro Diaz dreamed of becoming a mom through adoption.
“I always had the desire to adopt, as far back as I can remember, “ Socorro recalls.
When she and her husband started looking into private adoption, however, the cost was staggering.
“We walked out of some of the adoption open houses feeling so overwhelmed and disappointed,” Socorro says. “We had it in our hearts to give a child a home and a loving family, but we couldn’t afford $40,000 in adoption fees.”
That is what initially led them to consider foster to adopt, and brought them to a Children’s Home & Aid adoption information meeting.
“We went to an info meeting and walked out like – wow! I think we finally found our place,” Socorro said.
The couple submitted their application and began the process of completing classes and getting licensed. Then came the hard part: the wait. They were interested in adopting a young child, which typically means a longer wait before getting “the call”.
“It was a Friday night…we sat down to dinner when the phone rang, and I saw it was the agency,” Socorro said. “Our caseworker was on the phone, and with each sentence she said I got more and more excited.”
The referral was for a baby boy named Cooper who was just a few months old. He had just been diagnosed with eye cancer, and would require months of medical treatment, beginning immediately.
“We spent the weekend talking, Googling retinoblastoma and weighing all the options.”
On Monday morning, Socorro woke up, “knowing this was our baby, and we said yes.”
Two weeks later, they brought Cooper home and the baby’s chemotherapy began four days after.
During her foster parent training, Socorro and Hugo had learned about the importance of maintaining a connection with their child’s biological family. “When Cooper was home for just three weeks, our caseworker called and said, ‘Here’s his biological grandmother’s phone number – why don’t you give her a call?’”
Socorro admits to being incredibly nervous to reach out to Cooper’s biological family. Cooper’s birth mom struggled with addiction and was not in the picture, but Cooper’s grandmother wanted to meet.
“I was so worried that they would be angry at us, like we were taking this baby away from them,” Socorro says. “But when I met Cooper’s grandmother she took my hand and thanked me for doing for this baby what they were unable to do for him at this time. It was wonderful, and we have a lovely relationship with them to this day.”
Cooper is now 2 1/2 and thriving. He completed treatment for his cancer and is healthy. His adoption was finalized on September 20, 2018 with a host of friends and family in attendance at court, including his biological grandmother who drove two hours to be there.
“It took about 18 months for our adoption to be finalized, and through it all our workers at Children’s Home & Aid have been amazing, so helpful, so involved… even though they do this every day with many families, they were very on top of things, organized, willing to answer questions.”
If Socorro could offer advice to anyone who is considering foster to adoption, she says this: “Definitely go for it. Just know there are risks involved, there will be highs and lows, but the right child will come to you…it will be the perfect story for your family.”
To learn more about becoming a foster parent visit childrenshomeandaid.org/foster.