It was once said that life can be like March weather, both savage and serene within a short period of time. Life for this week’s Wednesday’s Child – Regina (2004) – has been pretty harsh so far, but Regina continues to demonstrate her will to live and to face life’s hurdles. Despite her struggles, Regina manages to give a serene smile to familiar faces she knows belong to those that care for her.

Regina has limitations with most daily living skills as a result of her medical needs. She was born premature and has been diagnosed with encephalopathy, seizure disorder, cortical blindness and lower hip dislocation. Because of such, she is dependent on the use of a wheel chair, a trach and feedings through a G-Tube.

This may sound like a tall order when it comes to the needs that a family would need to meet for a child. But for those who recognize that all children deserve a family and who have a special place in their hearts for children with medical needs, specialized training and support are available to assist with the care of children like Regina. If your family and home are compatible with a child such as Regina and you have the time and TLC to give, tune in to this week’s Wednesday’s Child on Fox 11 LA and then contact us to learn more about fostering and adoption.

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With a plethora of books on pregnancy, child birth, and baby care on the market, it’s relatively easy for expecting parents to prepare for parenthood. But what about expecting foster parents? Whether you’re placed with a newborn baby or four school aged kids, parents can still use a guide of what to expect. Foster parents are thrown onto this roller coaster of foster care without much preparation and without ever actually being “ready.” But the RaiseAChild Parent Advocate Team is ready to assist in any way needed. To get started, here is a list of “What to Expect” the first week of a new foster placement.

  • Expect the expected child to, quite possibly, not show at all. For all you new foster parents, holding your phone in your hands, waiting for the call for your first foster child, here is the number one piece of advice: When you get a call, slow down, take a deep breath, and go on with life as usual. There is a 50/50 chance that something will change and that this child won’t end up at your door. Don’t worry about changing plans or rearranging schedules. Don’t take out bins of clothes or run to the store. Instead, clean the house and get started on dinner and do other things you won’t regret doing whether the child shows up or not. Then wait for the call from the worker saying, “We’re on our way.” And then believe it.
  • Expect them to show up hours after you expected them. In fact, expect them to show up at dinner. It is the law of the foster care universe that every child shows up at dinner time. If you get a call about a child at 11:00am, there’s no need to rush, they’ll show up at dinner. File this one under the “slow down and take a deep breath” section as well.
  • Expect them to show up with paperwork. Scratch that. Expect them to not show up with paperwork, but know that they should have. Every child is supposed to show up with a “Placement Kit” that includes a foster parent ID letter (proof that you are, in fact, supposed to have this child), a Medicaid coverage letter, an emergency clothing check (for first time placements), and names and numbers of who’s responsible for the child’s case. If your child doesn’t show up with this (very important, very needed) information, just make sure to ask when exactly you’ll receive it and what you should do in case of emergency (you know, just to further solidify just how important it is). Whatever you do, make sure to not let the worker leave without giving you their name, phone number, and their supervisor’s name. If you have this information, everything will be okay.
  • Expect very little information. There are a few factors at play here. One is the responsibility of the division to protect the parents’ privacy. They’re only supposed to tell you so much. As hard as this may be to accept, try to not shoot the messenger. Another factor is the division of labor. Chances are that one worker will remove the child, another worker will call you about the child, another worker will drop off the child, and yet another worker will end up being the child’s caseworker. Often the people with the very least information are the ones calling you about and dropping off the child. Don’t expect to learn very much from them. The final factor is the nature of the process. The division only knows what they know. They know why the child was removed. They may not know other incidents of abuse or neglect that preceded the reason for removal. They may not know every medical condition or behavioral issue the child has. And they certainly don’t know how the case will go. They don’t know when or if mom and dad will do what they need to do for reunification. They don’t know what decisions the judge will make. And they don’t know how long the child will be with you.
  • Expect to do laundry. Chances are your child won’t show up with much. Other chances are that what they do show up with will need to go straight into the wash. Between clothes that reek so badly of smoke they need to be washed multiples times and suitcases infested with roaches, Lessons have been learned: Everything goes straight into the wash.
  • Expect to run to the store. Typically an (exhausted) emergency run to Target the first night of every new placement will be needed for:
    • Clothes – Even if a child comes with clothing, there will always be some key item missing. Kids can arrive with 20 outfits and not one pair of socks or 10 pairs of shoes and not one outfit that wasn’t stained or ripped.
    • Food – Keep in mind that the kids who are coming into foster care have most likely not had gourmet, well-balanced meals three times a day. There may be some compromise for a little while in the food department (read: chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and pb&j ONLY).
    • Emergency items – Your child may need school supplies or diapers or a host of other things like pacifiers, blankets, or medications.
  • Expect a court date within the first week. The judge will choose to uphold the division’s removal or send the child back home, discuss other family members or options, and determine the next steps in the case. Typically the next court date will be three months later, and you end up planning and parenting from court date to court date.
  • Expect phone calls…lots of phone calls. During the first week of having a new placement, you may spend an hour setting up the child’s HMO, do a half hour evaluation with Early Intervention, schedule seven appointments, and vet calls from about ten different people related to the case.
  • Expect meetings…lots of meetings. A typical week can include a visit from caseworker, visit from hospital nurse, visit from two other caseworkers, visit from law guardian, visit from division nurse, visit from hospital nurse again, and doctor’s appointment.
  • Expect parental visits. In most cases, biological parents will have court-ordered visits. They often take a couple of days or weeks to set up, and you will typically have little to no say in when these visits are. Ask your worker about them a couple of days after placement, or you may get a day-of phone call that there’s a visit in a couple of hours.
  • Expect to ask for help. Hopefully you have a support system already in place. You can send them this as a hint, or you can tell them to expect S.O.S. calls for meals or shopping runs or a sitter.  Hopefully you also have a foster “mentor” figure in place. If not, try to find someone or, at the very least, join an online support group to have somewhere to bring your specific questions.
  • Expect to feel overwhelmed, confused, and pulled. Expect to have an achy back and headache. Expect to question if you’re going to be able to love this child, or if you’ll love them “too” much. Expect to cry for their parents and be angry at their parents. Expect your other children to struggle with the adjustment. Expect friends and family to not fully understand. Expect to have to remind yourself of why you upended your life in the first place. Expect to feel weak and needy.
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Daniel (2000) recently attended Doris Bergman’s 9th Annual Valentine Romance Oscar Style Lounge & Party. At the event, Daniel learned how to work a “step and repeat” while rubbing elbows with celebrities.  At the event was virtual reality gear to try out, unique bracelets from My Saint My Hero to try on, and – a highlight of the day for Daniel – getting measured for a custom-made suit jacket by Art Lewin, suit maker to the stars.

Daniel is a sweet, easy-going and gentle teenager with a lot of heart. His loving and caring nature, along with his fondness for animals and the outdoors, contribute to his partiality towards riding horses as an enjoyable and therapeutic activity.

Daniel has a simple wish – to be part of a family that accepts, loves and remains committed to him. Youth in foster care sometimes wonder if they can “measure up” and our goal is to find and help tailor the forever family that is the right fit for Daniel. To see more of Daniel, catch this week’s Wednesday’s Child on Fox 11 LA and then contact us to learn more about fostering and adoption.

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You won’t want to miss the Olivia and R Family 2nd annual LGBT Family & Friends vacation. This time Club Med’s Ixtapa Mexico Resort, rated the #1 family resort in Mexico by Trip Advisor, will be the destination! Everyone is invited: lesbian moms, gay dads, kids, grandparents, singles, couples, straight friends & family, and the entire LGBT community at this ALL-INCLUSIVE family resort. Kids are not required, but very welcome! All-inclusive means your accommodations, food, beverages (including alcohol), games, most activities, and special Olivia & R Family programming and entertainment are included in the price. You’re in for a special treat with the Kids’ Club, which provides all-day activities for children of all ages (we hear the kids have so much fun they can’t wait for the next day’s activities to begin). The wide-open beach is perfect for sunbathing while watching the kids boogie board, and you won’t go hungry with an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring Mexican specialties like handmade tacos and fresh tropical fruit. Best of all, the energy from the G.O.’s, Club Med’s enthusiastic staff, combined with the Olivia & R Family team creates a unique atmosphere and a very special vacation experience you won’t soon forget.

​Spend 8 days and 7 nights at the ALL-INCLUSIVE Club Med Ixtapa resort. Located on an untouched region of Mexico, sitting between the waves of the Pacific Ocean and the peaks of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the resort offers breathtaking ocean views and stunning sunsets. Enjoy cuisine from three delicious restaurants, relax at any of the three bars, swim in the ocean or in the centralized pool, plus pamper yourself at the spa. Club Med also offers a childcare program for children ages 4 months to 3 years (with an extra charge) and a customized program for children ages 4-17 will be available so they’ll always be entertained throughout the day with activities.

RaiseAChild families receive a $100 discount (per booking) with discount code RAC17. Additionally, a $100 donation will be made to RaiseAChild.

Book Now

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Venice (2013) is a precious little girl in need of a special kind of tender loving care from a devoted family. She was born with medical complications, including a chronic lung condition, due to her premature birth. She requires the use of a ventilator and a G-tube. But despite her medical challenges, Venice likes to move around and give and receive hugs. She is fascinated with books and she loves being read to. She can sit up by herself, hold objects, and is starting to smile more.

Venice receives supportive services through Regional Center which include occupational therapy, a physical therapeutic exercise regimen for gross motor skills, and feeding therapy that will remain with her as long as she needs them. And any family opening their heart and home to Venice would receive focused training and be provided specialized support.

To see more of Venice, catch this week’s Wednesday’s Child on Fox 11 LA and then contact us to learn more about fostering and adoption.

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Foster Parent Self-Assessment Quiz

Whether you are an older adult or a younger adult, single, or married, a working or a stay-at-home-parent, a home owner or renter, adoption or foster care may be a good option for you. The questionnaire below will help you determine if foster or adopting is the best choice for you now. If you answer Yes to the statements below, you are ready to begin the process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent.

I am 21 years old or older
Foster/adoptive parents must be 21 years old or older; single or legally married and must have a valid driver’s license (you may be divorced or widowed).

Am I in good health?
Being a parent can be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for foster/adoptive children. All those living in your home must have a health statement completed by a physician showing that you are free of communicable diseases.

My home is safe
During the home study, a safety inspection of your home will be conducted. You must have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.

I am open to working with children who have moderate behaviors
Many children have experienced trauma and loss and can react by running away, stealing, lying, or with physical and verbal aggression.

I am open to working with biological families
Typically, foster-to-adopt children have visits with their biological siblings, biological parents, and relatives. Sometimes foster parents may need to supervise visits.

I have not had a case of child abuse or neglect
All potential foster/adoptive parents are required to submit to background checks prior to certification including other states where an applicant has resided.

I have adequate income
You do not have to be wealthy to become a foster/adoptive parent. However, you must have enough income to meet your own family’s needs and be able to demonstrate that you can financially support an additional child for up to 6 weeks without financial reimbursement. During the certification process you will be asked to provide proof of income and to review family expenses.

I am able to attend training
Foster/adoptive parents must complete training and all required paper work. Parents must commit to continuing training and workshops. Additional training is important to making the relationship a success.

No adult in my home has been convicted of a crime
If you or any adult living in your home has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, you cannot become a foster/adoptive parent. Each adult member in your household over age 18 will be fingerprinted.

I am ready to begin a home study now
You are ready to begin the home study if your life and home are stable. “Stable” means that you are not about to move and are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties or making any major life changes in the near future.

Who can I talk to about the next steps?
You can contact us at 323-417-1440 or email us to find out about becoming a foster parent.

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When husbands Robert and Tony, (pictured above in photo by, began researching their family building options, they quickly began to feel a little overwhelmed by all of their options. In addition, the men had their concerns about whether they would even be welcomed to build a family. Then a friend suggested they consider fostering to adopt and put them touch with The Village Family Services, a RaiseAChild partner agency located on North Hollywood.

“The Village Family Services staff made us feel very comfortable from the very beginning,” explained Robert. “The agency had no issues with us being a gay couple and we trusted them with making the biggest decision of our lives.” According to Tony, “It would be difficult to imagine going through the family building process any other way. The best part is there is no cost for their services, but the rewards have been tremendous.”

Cristina Bostanian-Quezada, Adoptions Program Manager at The Village Family Services explained, “Our goal is to meet the critical needs of children throughout Southern California. There are over 13,000 children in our foster care system that are waiting for a forever family. Our job is to assist in creating families to nurture and heal these kids.”

Continue reading Preconceived Notions Disappeared for these Foster Parents

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Many have been blessed with loving parents in their lives. Some have been luckier than others and have had more time to share, learn and grow under their parents’ wings. Others, like me, lost our parents earlier than we had hoped, but still were given the gift of feeling unconditionally loved and cherished by our parents as children. I had shoulders to cry on, teachers to explain school (and life) to me and cheerleaders to pick me up when I fell. Losing my mom when I was just 15 years old was not easy, but I feel lucky to have shared more than 700 Sundays of family time and at least 500 Saturdays of soccer with her. Losing my dad when I was just 27 years old was also not easy, but I feel lucky to have shared more than 600 Wednesday night tutoring sessions and at least 500 Friday evening walks with our dog, Shasta.

Sadly, there are so many children in Los Angeles who do not know what the aforementioned feels like. It is for them that I have decided to serve on the Board of Directors of RaiseAChild, a foster care and adoption organization that helps young people find loving parents, as Co-Chair.

I also have decided to run the LA Marathon on March 19th in honor of my parents and the extraordinary people – extended family and close friends – who have watched over me since I lost my parents and meaningfully contributed to the person I have become. I have committed to raising $5,000 for Raise A Child by race day so that other young people in LA can have people to thank when they find a place to call home.

I hope you will contribute on the RaiseAChild website today. Please put my name in the tribute box so I can share my appreciation.

Thank you so much for your love and support – today and always,
Julie Munjack
RaiseAChild Board of Directors, Co-Chair

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Make no mistake about it, while December (1999) has some typical teenage interests such as listening to music, reading, and shopping for clothes and accessories — she also likes to express herself through more creative outlets such as journaling, poetry and finger-painting. She prides herself on working hard at her schooling, reporting that she is on target to graduate with next year. She wants to further her education and study social work, noting that she has gained first-hand knowledge and insights into what kind of help children in foster care need. December’s favorite time of year is, well … December …and she loves celebrating Christmas.

This college-bound kid and future social worker is open to different family constellations – including a family of any ethnicity or religion as well as a single parent or LGBT-headed family, and she’s open to living in or outside of California. What December is more specific about, is wanting is a family that can provide unconditional love along with guidance and support as she develops into a strong young woman. To see if you might be the right fit for December, catch this week’s Wednesday’s Child on Fox 11 LA and then contact us to learn more about fostering and adoption.

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This week’s Wednesday’s Child is Desery (2009), a sweet little girl in need of a permanent family. Desery’s start to life was rough – oxygen deprivation led to multiple medical challenges, some of which continue to this date.  However, she is steadily growing and is in stable health. Desery has a determined spirit, but she also needs the care and support of a committed family.

Desery has been diagnosed with Hypoxia and Chronic Lung Disease which require a trachea, G-tube feedings, and suction throughout the day and night.  She has developmental delays and isn’t mobile due to spastic quadriplegia. Even though her outward responses to stimuli are minimal, Desery needs permanent caregivers who will continue to interact with her and give her lots of love and affection.

We know there are families out there with big hearts for children with special needs. Training, support and a range of services are available to those special select families who have a calling to give children like Desery the permanence they deserve. To see more of Desery, catch this week’s Wednesday’s Child on Fox 11 LA and then contact us to learn more about fostering and adoption.

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