“We knew adoption was always going to be part of our family building from the beginning.”

Jessica Patton and her husband, Jake, are both educators in Raleigh who saw first-hand the immense need for foster and adoptive parents in their very own community. “The fact is there are kids out there who need forever homes – and we can provide that.”

When the couple first began their journey into foster care and adoption, they didn’t jump in quickly. “We talked to a lot of families who had adopted before or who had fostered. We researched – for almost a year – our different options to find the right fit for us.” To them, foster care seemed ideal since they strongly believed that family reunification should be the main goal.

“My favorite part of fostering? Being able to love on our girl and to provide the safety and support that she needs.”

Once they knew what their path would be, someone at their church highly recommended reaching out to AGAPE of NC. Due to the self-paced nature of AGAPE’s training and how individualized the process was, they knew right away they were in the right place. “It helped us to feel supported and as prepared as possible to enter foster parenthood.”

Looking back to the beginning of their journey, Jessica shared that before they began fostering she had some concerns about fostering an older child. “We had the misled belief that it would be more difficult to bond with an older child and that there would be more challenges.” As she now knows, the challenges are not more difficult but just different. “There are so many great things about bonding with a child who can communicate with you!” Making the choice to welcome an older child into their home was what led them to Joseline.

The other piece of advice she stresses is to lean on your community. “Our AGAPE of NC social worker, Kia Carter, has been the most amazing support system! We were able to build our relationship with her as we went through training, and she really got to know us and our strengths and needs. She has helped guide us through every step of the process and is always available when we have questions or don’t understand something.”

When Jessica and Jake met Joseline, Joseline shared something that always stuck with them. “She said once she was adopted, she wanted to have a pool party.” So, last month Jessica and Jake did just that and threw Joseline an adoption party where they were surrounded by all the people who had been on this journey with them.