This past Friday was May 31st which marked the end of National Foster Care Month. I hope you guys were able to keep up with some of my statistics that I had posted. Most importantly, the #DonateYourSmallTalk Campaign by FosterMore is so incredible and gets the world talking about foster care. With that being said, if you are looking for an icebreaker during a conversation, #DonateYourSmallTalk!!! For this week’s adoption spotlight, I wanted to make it extra special for you and really end National Foster Care Month on a good note :) I am so excited to share Amber Mooney’s adoption story with you all.

Amber was in the foster care system for 13 years and was adopted when she was 16 by her forever family. Unfortunately, she has been with so many different foster families, that she cannot even count them on two hands.

Amber’s birth mom had her when she was 19 years old and her birth father left the picture right away. Shortly after Amber, her birth mom got pregnant again which made it hard for her to take care of two children alone. As a result, she gave Amber to her father whom at the time had a court order prohibiting any children in his house. However, she recalls her grandfather as being a fair man and taking her on bike rides and reading the dictionary to her at nighttime. This would allow her to have a great vocabulary at such a young age. Amber also had a younger sister who was in a foster home with her. Unfortunately, that family decided to adopt her sister, but not Amber. Although it was saddening, she was happy that her little sister did not have to go from house to house in foster care. The family chose her little sister over Amber because they wanted a baby and did not want an older child. Sadly, that is the case quite often and many of the foster children know that once they hit around 8 years old, the will most likely not get adopted. Another sibling of Amber’s is her “Brousin” this is because her birth father had a baby with her birth mom’s sister. This then created the life of her “brousin” whom she does not know personally, but he is in the Foster Care System now at 16 years old.

Amber’s birth mom chose life and she is forever grateful. She is not upset with her birth mom for putting her up for adoption, but instead she felt sorry for her. Her birth mom was misguided and had a bad relationship with her own parents and there was no way Amber could blame her for not being able to take of her and all her siblings. When Amber was in foster care, she was able to have contact with her birth mom and they had monthly meetings together. The main purpose of foster care is to heal the mother and child so that in the end, they can be reunified, but unfortunately for Amber, her mom did not get to that stage and they had to cut off ties. Unfortunately, this past year her birth mom passed away from a hereditary cancer. When her birth mom had cancer, her adoptive mom/”real” mom urged her to visit her birth mom in the hospital and go to her funeral. Amber did visit her in the hospital and that gave her the closure she had needed and ended up not attending the funeral.

Every time Amber was informed that she would be going to another house, she was hurt because she had yearned to get adopted. Since she had been in and out of houses so often, she developed a mentality where she thought she would never get adopted and would just get passed on from house to house. She said by the age of 8 she was getting kind of sick and tired of just being passed around and was aware that the likeliness of being adopted after the age of 8 was very unlikely. Although she was not adopted by these families, she became very close with a few of them and still has contact with them to this day. In fact, one of her families was so close to her she has a “heart sister.” This basically means that they were together for so long that they consider each other as sisters even though they are not actually. Amber was a part of that family for three whole years and still considers them family. Another person who holds a special place in her heart is her former case worker. She was with Amber since she first entered the foster care system and worked with her until Amber was 8 years old. The two of them became close and the really neat thing is that her case worker said she would not retire until she was adopted. Then, once Amber was adopted, she retired a week after. It truly is the special people like her who make everything so much sweeter and bet

ter. To this day, Amber also considers her as family and visits her often too.

Sadly for Amber, her experience in the foster care system was so traumatic, she has remembered every single detail from her life. However, now she wants to use her experiences and continue to pursue her criminal justice degree at Northampton Community College and become a cop, lawyer, juvenile helper, or wherever her life takes her. In the end, she wants to help older foster kids get adopted or provide them with the necessary tools to succeed in life once they are emancipated (age out) from the system.

Now, Amber is living a happy life with her forever Mom, Dad, and dog Maisie. Right now she is the first woman to go to college from her birth family. If it weren’t for foster care, she would never of had the opportunities she has no or be the amazing person she is now. There were many forks in the road, but in the end, it straightened out and she found a forever home.

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