Buckner Foster Care and Adoption continues to provide safe and loving homes for vulnerable children, even throughout the crisis of the coronavirus. With government and medical professionals updating contact limitations day by day, the foster care and adoption programs are committed to adapting communication and ways to stay connected with Buckner families.
Through the help of digital communication, information from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the CDC is being sent out to families as often as needed. Local Buckner staff has increased communication with families to identify specific needs, provide resources as needed and help children and families cope with the stress of COVID-19.
For many Buckner foster families, self-distancing has provided a special opportunity for quality time and intentional fun.
The Loving family in Lufkin, Texas, has always enjoyed a pizza night out on Friday evenings to celebrate a week of good behavior – the children always look forward to the special dinner. Due to the recent government restrictions and business closures, pizza night out was no longer an option. But the Loving family chose to get creative and make pizzas at home, continuing their tradition in a new, fun way during this uncertain time.
Stephen*, a five-year-old boy in Lufkin, is offering a helping hand to his community during this season. Every week since he has been out of school, Stephen and his foster mother take walks around their neighborhood and put away neighbors’ trash cans. Many of their neighbors are elderly and this has been a great way for Stephen to continue to learn the importance of serving others – and helping others stay safe inside.
Digitally attending school has become the new normal for most children. For many families, they are coming up with creative ways to make it fun and create lasting memories.
Lori Springer, a foster mother in Beaumont, Texas, is facing this reality alone while her husband works off the coast of Louisiana. She has created a dedicated quiet space for her oldest daughter to work on her ninth-grade studies and is utilizing many creative learning strategies for her adopted 3-year-old son and two toddlers she is currently fostering. The family is enjoying afternoon reading time together on their porch, chalk-writing in the driveway and plenty of time outdoors.
For the Cameron family in Lufkin, school is in session for six children at home. The family has embraced P.E. and art classes – marking the favorite time of the day for all the kids. With art projects and tricycle races through the neighborhood, the Cameron family is choosing to embrace family time and joy over these weeks.
Social distancing also hasn’t stopped the ability to celebrate and bring together forever families.
For Christina Siler in Longview, Texas, a sibling group of two were scheduled to become Silers in an adoption ceremony on March 17, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and government closures, the adoption was canceled, and Christina was heartbroken. But within days, a call from her attorney gave her hope again. The legal team got creative and was able to perform the ceremony over Skype on March 25, 2020. Not only did the Silers become a forever family of three, but this was also the team’s first virtual adoption.
Although many things are changing in the world due to the coronavirus, one thing remains the same: Buckner is committed to serving the vulnerable in whatever capacity is the safest for all.
“Through this crisis, our mission remains the same to serve the most vulnerable with excellence,” said Debbie Sceroler, interim senior director of domestic foster care and adoption.
*Name changed to protect privacy