Meet some of the people who've made adoption a part of their lives and familes...
Meet the Cabral Family
The Cabral Family: Erin, Andres, and Ray - A Q&A with Erin and Andres
1. Please provide some background on how you got interested in adopting, and what was the process?
From early on in our relationship, we agreed that having biological children didn’t feel right for us. For a while, we assumed we just wouldn’t have children. At some point, that transitioned to exploring adoption of an older child. When the time came, we explored various options and attended an info session at CAP. Soon after, we started the certification process. I can’t pinpoint why or how we landed on adopting an older child. During the certification process, we would say our age group was 5 to 12. Over time that shifted to 8 to 12 with 10 to 12 being where we were focusing our attention. We quickly matched with a sibling group in Massachusetts and after months of delay, we decided to end the process (we never met the children and they didn’t know about us). It was a very difficult decision to make, but the process had too many red flags for us to comfortably proceed. Fortunately, after a month or so of regrouping, we quickly matched with Ray.
2. How did you come to the decision to adopt Ray?
We were looking at online photo listings from across the country and sending our home study to caseworkers for children we thought could be a good fit. We connected with Ray’s caseworker, and her excitement and love for him was evident from the first email. After reviewing more information about him and talking to the caseworker, we thought he likely would be a good fit in our family. Within days, we Facetimed with him and his foster mother. We then talked to his teachers, other caseworkers, and providers to learn as much information as possible about him. Their love for him and dedication to finding him a home was clear. Within a month, we traveled to Delaware to meet him. I think we knew after those few hours with him that he was our child. There was a connection and a level of comfort the three of us had with each other. He came to visit us the weekend after and we went to visit him a couple more times. We picked him up at the end of his school year to bring him home.
We are very fortunate that Ray’s team in Delaware were deeply committed to him. I think that gave us the confidence that we were making the right decision. They didn’t gloss over information--they were frank about his needs and were very vocal about what makes him such an amazing kid. They continued to be a valued resource for us after he joined our family.
3. How has CAP/Corbett helped you through the process?
The MAPP classes were good conversation starters for my husband and me to explore more deeply after class our thoughts on topics that we never would have considered. It was especially valuable in determining the level of a child’s needs we would be able to successfully support. I also enjoyed the conversations in class, hearing the perspectives of other families. Veronica did a nice job making it a safe space where we could share personal stories and process information.
Once Ray was placed with us, Veronica was always reminding us to take time for ourselves and asking what we were doing for self-care. It was helpful to have a nudge, because when you’re in the thick of your daily lives and caring for a child, it’s easy to put your personal and relationship needs on the back burner. For us, recharging emotionally is essential in being the best parents possible for Ray. I also think it sets an example for him that we prioritize mental health in our family.
Veronica was also very helpful in navigating the relationship building between Andres and Ray. My bond with Ray, for various reasons, was on a quicker trajectory than the relationship building between Ray and Andres. When we hit a rough patch due to academics, the struggle surrounding their attachment was amplified. Veronica coached us on how to build trust and connection and shared stories of similar experiences. It helped to feel like we weren’t the only family facing connection struggles.
4. What would be helpful for other parents to know who may be considering adoption from foster care?
I can’t stress this enough - Learn as much as possible about trauma and its potential impact on the life of a child before a child joins your family. This advice was given to us and we followed it. We read books and sought counsel from a family therapist who has expertise in adoption and trauma. When Ray joined our family and we experienced certain behaviors, we had the perspective that he wasn’t acting out against us, he was communicating his fears and history through his actions. Understanding trauma also helps you be an effective advocate for your child in a world that isn't trauma informed.
Find your village. Becoming a parent, no matter the path you take, is a huge change and you need support in a variety of areas. I’m not one to accept help often, but I quickly learned to say yes when someone I trusted offered it. Whether it be friends, family, neighbors, therapists, teachers, advocates, faith leaders, doctors, caseworkers, etc., gather information, ask questions, accept offers of help. Lean in. Your family, especially your child, will greatly benefit from the experiences and expertise of others.
5. Anything else you'd like to share?
The foster to adopt process is a long journey that is impossible to predict. Be patient and have confidence that it will work out. Also, trust your instincts.