After years of trying to create a biological family and even working with different adoption agencies, Paul and Chrissy DeAnda decided to try the Buckner foster-to-adopt program in Amarillo. God paired them with Mason, the sweet little boy they’d always dreamed of calling their own. Little did they know, their adoption story wasn’t over. They would soon find out that Mason had a younger brother the family would fight to adopt without even having met him.
“Your sibling is your first best friend. You will be able to walk in this world together and have each other’s back as long as they are alive…The crazy thing was, we were fighting for a kid we didn’t even know…We loved Mason so much that we wanted to be able to look him in the eye, and tell him no matter how it turned out that we gave it our all to keep them together,” Chrissy said.
Jason's adoption was not easy. After learning his parents' rights were terminated, Chrissy and Paul had to advocate strongly in court for why it was important to keep the siblings together. Today, the DeAndas are seeing that reality come true as they legally adopt Jason.
Sadly, there are so many sibling groups who aren’t ever reunited after entering foster care. In Texas, there are more than 7,000 sibling groups currently in foster care. 34.9% of them are not placed together, according to Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
“Relationships between siblings frequently meet or support developmental needs such as belonging, security, self-esteem, rites of passage, and mentoring. Sibling co-placement also appears to promote youth's successful integration into foster family systems and youth who are placed together in foster care tend to have better academic outcomes, lower rates of emotional and behavioral problems, as well as a greater sense of be-longingness than separated siblings,” according to Samela Macon, senior director of domestic foster care and adoption at Buckner Children and Family Services.
“There’s a stigma on fostering and lots of people who say, ‘I can’t,’ but you can. Kids are perfect in every way they’re made. That’s the good thing about Buckner, our case worker told us from the get-go, ‘my goal is to set you up with the perfect child for you because we want them to be somewhere they’re going to stay. We’re here for the success of making a family.’ Buckner asks you what you’re able to handle and what you want. Through the process though, you open up more to what you’re willing to take in,” Chrissy said.
Paul and Chrissy started their adoption journey with Buckner by attending an information meeting in Amarillo. If you want to grow your family through adoption, please take the first step and attend an information meeting in your area. The Buckner foster care and adoption staff will walk you through all your options and answer all your questions.
“Adoption means unconditional love to us... Everyone tells us that we’re giving them the gift but really they’re giving us the gift,” Chrissy said. “I hope our story encourages more people to go through the journey.”