At just 4 years and 2 months old, the odds were stacked against Diggs and Myles. CPS had removed them from their mothers care due to her drug addiction. Their father had been diagnosed with cancer and was unable to care for them. Their family was struggling. The children were placed in foster care while their mother continued to struggle with her addiction. It was at this time the children were assigned to Child Advocate, Dana Hunter, who would be their voice throughout this difficult time. As the Child Advocate assigned to this case, Dana was responsible for providing independent representation to the children while they are in foster care. She was their advocate, their voice, and was court appointed to represent their best interests. It would be her responsibility to help guide the children and make their voices heard until their court case was closed and they were in a forever family.
About a year after the boys had been in foster care, their mother gave birth to a baby girl, Steele. She would immediately be removed because of mothers drug use and Dana would advocate for the baby girl to be placed with her siblings in foster care. The children’s foster mom, GiGi, had been a foster parent for over 15 years and Dana knew these siblings needed to be together and GiGi would be the perfect temporary placement.
After spending over two years in foster care, their mother continued to struggle with addiction and was constantly moving, losing her connection with her children. “This was an emotional case for me,” stated Dana, “I knew GiGi was a great foster placement but she wasn’t a permanent one.” Gigi had faith, big faith, and that faith had driven her to become a foster parent. That faith also told her she wanted to be a temporary placement for children until their parents could be reunified with them. However, with this case, reunification had already been taken off the table. Mom could not seem to kick her drug habit, and the judge had changed the children’s plan to adoption. Now Dana needed to find a permanent family for them.
Bridgette and her husband Jay each had children from previous relationships, 5 in total. After they were married they decided they wanted to have children together. Bridgette had her tubes after her youngest daughter, so they decided to try IVF. They had two unsuccessful rounds that resulted in miscarriages both times. It was emotionally exhausting. Bridgette’s husband suggested they could keep trying IVF, take a break, quit altogether or ADOPT! Bridgette was initially shocked, they had never discussed adoption before and had just assumed IVF would work for them. Jay said to her, “Bridgette if we do adopt, do you think we could try to adopt the children that GiGi is fostering?”…
Bridgette’s mom, GiGi, had been fostering 3 siblings in her home for the past two years. “We knew instantly that adopting them would be perfect for our family. All of our children already knew and loved them, we had already built a relationship with them, and oddly enough they look like they could be blood relatives to our children. We told my mom, who was happily surprised, and we made phone calls the next day,” said Bridgette.
Child Advocate, Dana, received the call from GiGi. She had found the perfect family for Diggs, Myles, and Steele. It was with her daughter Bridgette and son in law Jay. Dana immediately went to visit with the whole family. She knew that Bridgette and James had spent many days and nights with the three children and already considered them family. She advocated in court that Bridgette and Jay would make the perfect adoptive parents for the children. “It was difficult to balance everything, but eventually it all fell into place. I was having constant conversations with biological parents assuring them that this was most appropriate, stable, and loving placement for their children,” said Dana.
Dana began the procedure of interviewing the Wilson family, checking in, and observing the children in Bridgette and Jay’s home. She would do this, consistently, over the course of a year, to ensure this home would be the safe and permanent home the children so desperately needed.
“Dana was incredibly helpful. She was able to secure clothing vouchers for each child, which was very helpful. We had never received any assistance, per diem, or any other allowance or support for the three new additions to our family. She made frequent visits with the kids to make sure they were doing well. She was available anytime, and made sure she came to all adoption negotiations and hearings,” said Bridgette.
In July of the following year, the Wilson family of 7 officially became the Wilson family of 10. Steele, Myles, and Diggs finally have stability, unconditional love, and a forever family.
“We always thank our Child Advocate Dana for her help and support. We will forever be grateful for her assistance in completing our family.” – Wilson Family
To learn more about Child Advocates, please visit www.childadvocates.net or call 317.205.3055