A woman has opened up about why she chose to adopt an older child and insists that everyone should consider it.
When most people think of adoption, they tend to imagine a child or baby in need of a family…
But there are hundreds of teens in the system still searching for a place to call home, and that’s why one woman has spoken out about how she ended up adopting a seventeen-year-old.
Katie Holstein is now a proud mom of 4 adopted kids, but it hasn’t been an easy ride…
Katie became a licensed foster parent back in 2017, after making the decision she wanted to be a parent even if that meant doing it without “waiting around for Mr. Right.”
“I figured I would foster for several years, help reunite some families, and maybe eventually get to say yes to forever,” she admitted.
However, things didn’t exactly go to plan, as she imediately got catapulted into the responsibilities of being a full-time single mom, just 8 months after putting in her request…
“On August 30th, 2017, I got an email saying I was finally approved, and oh by the way… there was this sibling set. Overnight, I became a first-time mom to a newborn, 1-year-old, and 2-year-old. It was terrifying and also everything I imagined it would be and more,” she said.
Katie plunged head first into her new role, and it turned out to be even more fulfilling than she thought it would be…
After 3 years of being a foster mom, and sixteen kids later, she finally adopted her first child.
“In January of 2019, I got the call for my now-forever son. His mother, unfortunately, had a long history with the state so when I got the call, they said straight-up he would almost certainly end in adoption. Nervous but excited, I said yes.
“His early days were hard. I had two other rather rambunctious boys I adored, but they were a handful on their own. Tiny (as we call him) spent some time in the NICU and was so little when he came to us, hence the nickname.”
Just 3 short months after the court hearing on June 18, “Tiny” was officially Thomas Holstein, and Katie his legal guardian.
But her adoption journey didn’t end there, as seventeen-year-old Akyra was soon to be another permanent addition to her ever-growing household.
“Akyra, or Okra as we call her, on the other hand, was a total surprise. I got the call on March 9, 2019, from my favorite social worker. She said, ‘I know you don’t do teens, but I have this girl. She’s great, she and her current foster family just need a break. What about just for the weekend?’
As soon as she arrived, Katie said that she just “clicked” with the other kids, with them referring to her as their “big friend.”
“That fall, she came to me temporarily for about a week when her foster home put in their notice.”
Katie regretfully admitted at the time that she wasn’t in the position to say yes to Akyra, and she was eventually given a long-term placement with another foster home.
“In March of 2020, almost exactly a year from that first call, I got another one. Respite, just for the weekend. Again. I had just taken in a newborn sibling, leaving me with six kids under 6, but I couldn’t say no. There was nowhere else for her to go and she was part of our family at that point. Respite quickly turned into a temporary placement until they could find somewhere long term.”
After spending so long with Katie and her other foster kids, Akyra asked if she would stay with her until her eighteenth birthday.
“The plan became for her to stay with me until she graduated in about a year and then go into independent living.”
Independent living would allow her to recommit to the cabinet until she turned twenty-two, where the state would find her housing, help her with school, and eventually find a job, instead of being made to fend for herself as soon as she turned eighteen.
“A few months later, we were joking around about her future and she said, ‘Have you ever thought about adopting a teen?’ And the rest was history,” Katie continued.
“189 days after coming to me for the last time, we said forever. They even managed to squeeze us in 3 days before she turned 17, her one wish not to have to spend another birthday in the system.”
And despite being an incredible journey for both of them, it has also been a real learning curve for Katie…
“Recently, she got invited on an out-of-state trip with one of her friends. I said yes and she quickly reminded me that we needed to call her social worker to get it approved. And then she smiled. She said, ‘That’s right. You’re my mom now. We don’t have to ask permission from anyone ever again.’”
Katie hopes that her story “inspires more people to open their homes to fostering,” even the older kids…
Katie concluded: “Say yes to older kids. You’re gonna hear the horror stories and I won’t lie, it’s not all sunshine and roses. But let me tell you how much sweeter those roses smell when you have to climb through the trenches to reach them. Every kid deserves a family. Every single one. Even the ones who insist they don’t because they’re almost grown. Especially them.”
We wish their family all the happiness!