Staying Connected to Bio Family To Give Our Children Connections

Written by Kimberly Lloyd

My name is Kimberly Lloyd, and my husband, Bryon, and I have been foster parents since January of 2017. Over the last five years, we have fostered seventeen children ranging in age from newborn to 5 years old. We started out with the intent to provide a safe place for children to live while their parents worked to get them back. We actually did not start out with the intention to adopt, as we already had three biological children at the time. However, we soon realized that we were meant for a much different journey. 

Our now nine year old son was our first placement in 2017. He was three years old and came to us as an emergency respite placement that was supposed to just be for the weekend. He was in a foster home with his newborn sister who was born addicted to drugs, which was the reason they had both been removed by CPS. Due to the trauma he had experienced, he was exhibiting behaviors which made CPS decide that he would be better off in a foster home as the youngest child for a while. After a few days, we knew that our son had been sent to us for a reason, and we became his long term placement. 

At the time, we were still doing visits with his baby sister as well as his birth mom. It was during this time that I got to know Kim Yancey, the foster mom to our son’s sister. Also during that time, we found out there were three older siblings who lived with their father, Sean Jacquemotte, in San Antonio. A few months into our case, Kim reached out to him and asked if he would be interested in meeting up with us at a park in order for the kids to see each other. We all figured out a mutual time and the kids met. I still remember how excited the three older kids were to meet their younger siblings for the first time. They brought them toys and were so incredibly sweet with them. We knew even then that something pretty special was unfolding. 

We met up several times over that summer to let the kids spend time together. Our case lasted eighteen months and ended with their birth mom signing over her rights on both kids in March of 2018. In July of 2018 we adopted our son, and Kim and Greg adopted his sister. We did a joint adoption at the courthouse and had a lot of family and friends there to help us celebrate the day. Sean and the older siblings were there as well. In 2019 their birth mom had a baby boy who was placed in the Yancey house with his sister, and he was recently adopted by them as well. 

So, if you’re keeping track, now there are six biological siblings, ranging in age from 15 to 3. Then, if you add in all the other siblings, there are actually 18 children between the three families: the Yanceys’ nine, our six, and Sean’s three. If you were to ask some of the younger kids, they would tell you that all 18 of them are brothers and sisters (sometimes they get a little confused, but it’s easier just to roll with it). Basically, there’s a lot of kids!!

As a foster parent, for me, the idea of family preservation is so important, and so is doing everything possible to help parents be successful in order for their children to go home when their case is done. It is about helping them learn to make the right life decisions, and, in many instances, teaching them how to parent appropriately. Ultimately, if possible, this is the best outcome for children in foster care, and it is something we have worked really hard to do during our years as foster parents. However, this isn’t always the case, and in that event, the next best thing is giving the children a sense of who they are and where they come from through the experience of being raised alongside their biological family. 

Statistics show that children who are adopted from foster care are better off in the long run knowing who their biological family is and having that connection to who they are. In our situation, we were lucky that all of the adults involved understood how important this was and were dedicated to making sure that those relationships were established. We are also lucky that we all genuinely enjoy spending time with each other, and actually do so much so that Kim and Greg are building a house right down the road from us. Our son will be in 4th grade, and his sister will be starting Kindergarten together at the same elementary school. Sean recently moved a lot closer as well, making it even easier for us to all get together. 

As wonderful as this all is, I would be remiss in not pointing out that there are hard elements as well. We can’t forget that their situation was born from trauma. The hardest thing has to be seeing how that trauma has affected each sibling individually and knowing that it is something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. As parents we want to fix things and make it better, and sometimes that isn’t so easy. Because of this, one of our biggest prayers is that one day when we are gone, they will still have each other and will always lean on each other. We all knew how important it was from the very beginning for these kids to grow up together and know each other. They are all bonded by blood as well as the shared trauma of their pasts. They can all understand each other in a way we can’t really even grasp. 

Now, five years later, after countless birthdays, baptisms and summer Saturdays spent together, we have forged a new kind of family made up of all of us who love these kids and get great joy from seeing them together, smiling and happy just to be with one another. This is our crazy life, and we wouldn’t change it at all!!

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