Finding a Forever Home at 20
Jade was 15 years old when he entered foster care. Immediately, Denise and Paul welcomed him into their home. The Vandivers became foster parents because of their love for kids. Plus, they weren’t ready to become empty nesters! Denise shared, “I have a longtime family friend who did foster care. I always saw her joy in it and I wanted the same!”
Teens are Often Overlooked
While working with teenagers may seem intimidating to some, many of our Mentor foster parents find that teens are better able to communicate how they feel and develop meaningful relationships. Older children still face challenges, but they can also be more independent and able to care for themselves in basic ways. Jade shared, “School and maintaining good grades were a struggle. They taught me to study and how to do it on my own. Sometimes they would even make a game out of learning.”
Become a Foster Parent
You never outgrow the need for family. Now more than ever, foster parents are vital lifelines for teenagers to navigate an unprecedented world, find their identities, and plan for their future.
Forever Family Includes Shared Parenting
Jade has made many memories with the Vandivers throughout the years. “We went on a cruise together and enjoyed camping and sight-seeing in Tennessee,” said Jade. But nothing compared to becoming a forever family. Jade’s adoption was postponed three times, but that didn’t cause the family to lose hope. Jade finally became an official Vandiver in January. He was “happy and excited” when the adoption finally occurred. He was also happy he would be able to maintain a relationship with his birth family.
“I have always enjoyed watching this relationship grow. Denise has always been committed to teaching Jade to use his voice and advocate for himself. She was always the best about shared parenting and allowing Jade to continue to have a relationship with his biological family,” said Neely Congleton, Program Services Coordinator.
With Jade’s positive outlook and the help of Denise and Paul, Jade has graduated high school and is working towards finding a fulfilling job and saving for a place of his own!