Adoption from the Foster Care System

Long Family Official Party of 5 Update!

Today was the day! Adoption day for Evelyn & Zach's 3rd adopted child, 3 year old Carson!  So we wanted you to give you a little fundraising update!

So far we have raised $1171 of the $5000 goal that they need to complete this adoption!

That's $3829 that we are hoping to raise in the next few weeks.  You can help this family by donating here

I can't tell you enough how amazing this family is. Please partner with us to bless them by completing their fundraising goal.  God has put them in our path and on our hearts to help as they so selflessly help children who need a forever family!   Thank you so much for all of you who have walked along side them and donated already. 

Ending 2016 on high note! Congrats to Team C!!

If we are being completely honest, 2016 has been a bit of a rough year for Promise Love and a few of the families we are privilege to walk alongside in their adoption journey. There are so many happy endings we are privileged to be a part of and share with all of you, but there are losses that come with stepping out in faith to bring kids into forever families.  Sometimes, decisions are made we don't understand, cases are dragged on longer than ever anticipated, and children are left waiting once again for their forever family.   We just haven't shared much with you this year, simply because its been tough.  Its hard to put into words the loss families feel when these things don't play out the way we were hoping.  But the reality is it happens. 

However, a new year is upon us and no matter what 2016 has thrown at us, we will not give up on the pursuit of helping families bring kids home!  And as I pray over Promise Love and our direction for 2017, the verse that comes front and center is from Isaiah 40:31!  It says, "But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."    For 2017 our plans are to be renewed by His strength.  We will not grow weary or faint in doing what God has before us because our hope is in HIm! 

So in order to usher in the New Year on wings of Hope, we want to bring you the amazing story of The Calzada family!  This is a story of a family who in their waiting allowed God to renew their strength.  They did not grow weary of following the path God set before them!  This is one that's been in the works for a very long time, but the evidence of God's hand throughout this adoption journey has been so evident.  We have felt beyond blessed to watch these boys come home forever!

Although fundraising may seem like our main focus, its actually not what we do the most of.  Alot of time is spent connecting with families, helping families figure out which adoption path to take and advocating for kids.  Early on, the Calzada's had felt God was calling them to foster care/adoption.  While they were in the process of getting licensed, God was already preparing the right kids for their family.  Promise Love became connected with a family who was a relative caregiver to 2 brothers, Angel, 9 years old and Alonso, 4 years old.  This family was in a tough spot and knew they couldn't provide a forever home for them, but loved them dearly and desperately wanted to see these boys thrive in a forever family.  As the picture of the boys came through, God put on our heart The Calzada family.  Although they weren't completely licensed yet, the striking resemblance of these boys and their family was undeniable and we knew God was up to something.  After praying and talking together, The Calzada's agreed, God was definitely up to something!  

So they began the very long journey to bring these boys home!  I can't even imagine the tireless effort that was put in as they maneuvered all the twists and turns of the state.   But they never gave up on them and their love and acceptance of these boys is beyond measure.  I have seen it first hand and truly they are one of the most inspiring families you will ever meet! On October 18th, 2016 that journey finally ended at the courthouse with the adoption finalization!!  Angel, 12 years old now and Alonso, 7 years old are officially Calzada's, 2 years after their first visit!!  And all the glory goes to God for this amazing story and journey.  And how adorable is this family?!!  




The Official Team Pucovsky! #GIVINGTUESDAY

Today we are celebrating #GivingTuesday!  Its a day that people around the country will give back during a time of year where our focus should be on giving to those we love and also those who are in need of help.  

A few weeks ago we posted about The Pucovsky family! They are in need of that help today!  We have ONLY $1890 to raise to complete the adoption of Zaniya, their 14 year old daughter.  In just a few short weeks we have been able to raise $1610.  If today, 38 people gave $50 we would accomplish our goal!  Will you partner with us today? Donate Now!

There is no better day than today to give back to a family who has literally changed the course of a young girls life and given her a forever family after much heartbreak.  And the joy they have brought to her is written all over her face!

We had the honor of spending time with them at their home, at events and now at their adoption finalization of Zaniya.  Check out their story here if you missed it!  I can honestly say, they are a rare kind of family.  They are full of love for each other, for their heavenly Father and for kids in need.  They have willingly and openly opened their home to this beautiful girl and they have BIG plans to help more in the future.  We can't wait to see the rest of their journey!

But first, enjoy some pictures from their adoption finalization that happened last Tuesday.  It was such a blessed and beautiful event to watch!   They had so many friends and family their to support them and The Heart Gallery presented Zaniya with her framed photo, which will now be retired from the gallery. 

Teens often get overlooked or age out of the foster care system, never having a family to call their own.  We pray this may inspire other families to take the risk on adopting a teen.  Everyone deserves a family to call their own!

The Official Team N

It was double adoption day week for the Promise Love Foundation!  9.24.14 was adoption day for Holly and Saul's daughter Gisselle! Holly and I founded this organization, so this one is extra special because Gisselle and our daughter Maddie are sisters! She's an adorable, spunky, 3 year old now, Holly and Saul have had her as a part of their family since she was only 3 months old as a foster child.  Holly use to do my hair at her house, and I remember the first time I met that sweet little baby right when she was about 4 months old. Back then, I never would have guessed the journey both of our families has gone on that came together with these 2 girls. Gisselle was their first foster child, and at that point foster or adoption for my husband David and I was not even on the horizon.  3 years later we got to be there as the judge had everyone raise their right hands and promise to love and care for Gisselle as part of their forever family. There is nothing sweeter!  

Our First Promise Love Family - Lisa and Fred's Story

This is Lisa and Fred.  We got connected with them through Facebook when Carrie’s friend Karen saw the launch of the foundation.  She thought they might be a great family to help and we think so too!  They are an amazing couple that is matched with a sibling group of 3 children ages 4, 6, and 7.  Two girls and a boy.  They are adopting these kids from the foster system, which means the children’s biological parents’ rights have been terminated and the children are ready to find a forever home.  May is also national Foster Care month and so this is also very fitting:-)  We immediately fell in love with Lisa and Fred, their hearts, and their story.  It is VERY rare that people are open to siblings, especially 3 kids that are a little bit older.  They will get to grow up together as a family which is so awesome!

Adoption, especially of a sibling group isn’t for everyone, but, ANYONE can get involved and be a part of Lisa and Fred’s dream to become parents and give these kids an amazing family. 

Lisa and Fred's home is a 1390sq ft 1958 bungalow. They need some help turning into a more accommodating space for 3 growing youngsters!  What they are going to do is turn their 1.5 car garage into a master bedroom so that the 2 girls can share what was their room, and the boy can have his own room.  

They need to raise $5,000 for the renovation and that’s where we want to help!
There is a big 
DONATE button on our site or you also can mail a check to the Promise Love Foundation: PO Box 47432 Tampa FL 33646

It doesn’t matter if you have $1 or $1000 every little bit helps and 100% of the proceeds are going to this project.  It’s also a tax deductible donation for you! 

You can also meet Lisa and Fred at the No More Event THIS Sunday 5/18 at Baylife Church. They will be joining us as we support this awesome event!  We can’t wait to show you their finished space and their new family!!!!!

Here’s their story:

How did your story begin?

Our story began almost 20 years ago when we met, fell in love and decided to build a life together! We figured that once we built our foundation, we’d include children to our family and live happily ever after just like in all of the fairytales.  In life, all tales aren’t so grand and free of complications.  We weren’t able to successfully bear children of our own due to infertility issues, so we sought the alternative to adopt!

How did you and Fred grow up?

Coming from a large family, I’ve always been blessed to be surrounded by children, their laughter, their cries during accomplishments and triumphs and their infectious thirst to learn daily.  I get great satisfaction of being privileged to share those experiences with them. We have volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries, Paint Your Heart Out, HCSO, BBBS (Big Brother and Big Sisters), and Medical Reserve Corp within our own communities throughout the years. We both come from loving and stable families, our Parents have been married for over 40 years, although Fred’s are both deceased now and we understand commitment in healthy relationships. Through good communication, we always talk out our problems, come up with solutions and work past it.

Tell us about you and Fred?

I love watching Fred when he’s helping children with completing a task, showing them various sites at amusement parks, teaching them about history or just having a moment to discuss life with them.  He lights up as they recall how they saw or experienced something that he has shared with them and I always catch his eye when he is in the midst of having his heartstrings tugged by a child.

He often tells me that he knows that children like me because I’m very ‘motherly’ in my job of working with Mentally Ill Adults as well as with all of the children that we’ve been blessed to have in our lives.  However, I remind him of what a big ‘kid’ he is and loves to play!  Fred not only loves children, but he is affectionately nicknamed, ‘Ace Ventura’ due to his extreme love of animals.  If Fred could live in a big open land filled with children and animals, he’d be in his glory.

 I am completely a ‘City Girl’.  Fred grew up in New York and I grew up in Chicago.  He visited his Godparents and other family during summers in Puerto Rico. 

 We both have a very strong relationship with God and plan to introduce that to our children as well so that they’ll know, they’re never alone. We want to build strength in them so that they can turn those obstacles into positive experiences and allow it to help with their moral character and spiritual walk with God.

What do you want to share with these children who will become part of your family?

Though it’s been a real blast being ‘babysitters’, we long to have our own children to teach and show about how wonderful life can be, despite their previous obstacles and challenges.  Our hearts spill over with love that we can give to children that will thrive in a stable, loving and positive family!

What do you look forward to most becoming parents?

We look forward to tucking them in at night, reading bedtime stories, listening to how their day in school went, what field trips they want to go on, watching their eyes glow when we take them to Busch Gardens, taking the dog for a walk with them, shopping for Christmas gifts for them, eating dinner together, helping with homework, so many things and EVERYTHING!  We want to instill in our children a strong work ethic, and that they have the opportunity to do amazing things and make a difference in this world.

In 2 sentences why do you want to adopt?

I’d have to say, “I want our children to know what it’s liked to be loved in a healthy way and give them a chance to know that they DO MATTER!  Most foster care Children express that they feel ‘forgotten’, ‘unloved’ and other negative feelings that just aren’t true at all.

Why did you decide to adopt from the foster system?

We want to adopt children, specifically a Sibling Group since we’d like to give multiple children a chance to stay together, remain a family and grow in a loving, and nurturing environment. 

Want to be a part of making Lisa and Fred's dream come true and giving these kids a forever family?

DONATE on our site or you also can mail a check to the Promise Love Foundation: PO Box 47432 Tampa FL 33646.  All gifts are tax deductible and 100% of proceeds will go to this project!

Adoption through the Foster Care System - How does it work?

How does one even figure out how to get started when looking into adoption??  It can be quite an overwhelming thing!! So, we are going to give you the skinny on how each of the different options works.  Holly and Saul have personally experienced adoption from the foster care system and Carrie and David have experienced private domestic adoption.  We are going to give you both the process and steps of how to go about it and also what our own personal experiences are.  In Florida (specifically Hillsborough County), there are 2 ways you can adopt from the foster care system:

1.  As a foster parent, if the child in your care has their parent's parent rights terminated (TPR), and they have exhausted all family and friends then the foster parent generally is given the opportunity to adopt.  This is the specific experience that Holly is going to share below.

2. The other option is that you get licensed as an adoptive home.  You take similar classes and get licensed as an adoptive home.  So you aren't fostering at all your family profile is actually presented at a match meeting of children who are available for adoption because the parents' rights have already been terminated and there is no family, friends or adoptive parents to adopt them.  Most people don't realize it, but adoption through the state is generally free, you get a monthly stipend for the child, they get free in state college tuition, and medicaid until they are 21.  Generally the cost is low, but the time waiting and frustration levels can be high. 

Here's how Holly and Saul's personal experience went:

Almost 3 years ago, we started the process to become licensed foster parents.  Previously, we had been working through the process of private adoption and soon realized God was steering us in a very different direction.  While we thought we were called to adopt, it was clear, God was saying trust me and just be willing to love on whatever kids I put in your home.   So, we somewhat hesitantly began classes to get licensed.  Right away, and throughout the licensing ups and downs God never changed His mission for us.  It was evident we were in the right place. 

In October 2011, before we even knew we had received our official license from DCF (Department of Children and Families), we had a call for a baby, they were placing 3 babies that day and felt the 4 month old baby girl would fit us best.  Little did they know I was praying for a 4-6 month old, but God knew.  We couldn't believe the gorgeous baby that was dropped off by the CPI the next day. We worked through visits, court hearings, etc. learning along the way.  Two and a half years later, there has been alot that has happened, including a return to her bio mom and back to us.  We got official approval from the judge literally today that we will get to adopt her so we will be going through this adoption process again and are so happy!

About 4 months after we had our first placement, my husband felt God was saying it's time to take another.  We had one open space left.  I mentioned to our FDS (family development specialist) we would love to keep one, to which he laughed and said "you know foster parents don't sign up to keep them".  It is not looked fondly upon when you sign up to foster parent just in hopes of adoption.  I said I knew and I trusted he would find the right kid for our family.  Our only preference was a child 2 & under with no major medical issues (we felt we wouldn't be prepared for that at this time).   Less than 48 hours later, he called sounding a little surprised on the phone and said we have a 19 month African American boy who looks to be going up for a match meeting soon!  He is an a respite (temporary) placement right now and we need to move him somewhere more permanently until he is matched.   

A match meeting means that parents rights have been terminated, they cannot locate any other relatives or even non-relatives (friends of the family) to take the child and the child's case will be placed in front of a few families that are licensed to adopt.  They then will determine which family is the best match for that child.   If we were to take him and decide we would like to adopt him, we would  have the first option to adopt!  We knew God had set this up, this little guy had to be for our family!  2 days later the tiniest little man who waddled like a duck showed up on my front door.  He was so handsome and the only word he could say was "mama"!  I couldn't believe it!  


We were pretty quickly able to start the process to adopt him.  It still took 8 months from the time he showed up to his adoption day. They first determined if us adopting him was the best option (that was quick meeting).  Then we had to have an adoption home study performed (which is slightly different than a foster home study), lots of paperwork, there was a child study to written up by the adoption specialist, and physicals by my husband and I. Once all the paperwork was complete, we had to go in for disclosure. This is a meeting where they record the adoption specialist reading everything from the child's history that they are aware of.  

It was during that disclosure meeting that we truly got to understand why this little guy was so traumatized and totally explained the behaviors he exhibited when he first came to our home.  I am sure reality was 10 times worse for him than what was explained to us in words at that meeting.  

Saul and I decided right then and there we would pray over these things and we knew God had put him in our family because this child was going to have a life filled with hope and love with not only 2 parents who really loved him, but a whole new family who did too.  These things were in his past, but they didn't define his future!  

He arrived in February and a judge made him officially Micah David Nazario on October 1st,  2012!!  Micah means "Who is like Yaweh".  We owe his adoption to God and his perfect timing.  Micah is a huge blessing to our family, a ball of energy and so much fun!   He loves his brothers and sister, anything chocolate and rides a razor like a pro.  He is still our little peanut and most people think his younger sister is older  than him, but we know one day he will catch up:)  He turns 4 in a few months and it has been a true miracle to watch this little boy change and grow. He was drug addicted at birth, weighed 2.3 lbs, severely traumatized before he arrived at our home, glued to me 24/7 for at least the first 6 months, desperate and screaming if I left him for a second, terrified to let his daddy touch him, and wouldn't make eye contact with anyone. Now he's a loving, caring, talkative, very friendly and outgoing little boy who loves his daddy sometimes more than his mommy!  That is one of the joys and struggles you miss out on when you take a child that is perfectly healthy and has no struggles.  We are glad God called us to foster first, so we could truly appreciate the change only He could bring through prayer and love in our little man.  And we have been forever changed by adoption.