LCFS foster fathers give six boys a forever family through adoption

  • Tyler celebrates his adoption day and new forever family after spending 5 years in foster care.

    Tyler celebrates his adoption day and new forever family after spending 5 years in foster care. Courtesy of Jesse Rodriguez-Hammond

 
 
Updated 11/12/2021 11:05 AM

On any given day, more than 122,000 foster children are eligible for adoption and they will wait, on average, four years for an adoptive family. Ideally, the goal of foster care is to reunite children with their families through the proper supports, but that isn't always possible.

Approximately 20,000 youth "age out" of the U.S. foster care system every year, and a majority of those are left without a family's emotional and financial support to help them succeed in life. No matter their age, infant to teenager, every child deserves a forever home where they can receive unconditional love and support.

 

This November during National Adoption Month, it is important to celebrate all the children who found a forever family through adoption.

Families like Jesse and Roberto Rodriguez-Hammond.

In 2016, Jesse and Roberto made the decision to become licensed foster parents with Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois.

"There was a lot we didn't know when we started the process, but we learned so much from the PRIDE training and our LCFS licensing worker Kelly," Roberto shared.

Jesse and Roberto focused their foster care journey on helping teens in care. Later in the year, a then 16-year-old boy named Angel was placed in their home. Angel had spent his entire life in the foster care system, but seemed to find his place in the Rodriguez-Hammond's home.

"After being with us for a while, Angel opened up and said, 'I don't want to be by myself, I want to be adopted,'" shared Roberto.

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So seven days before Angel's 18th birthday, Jesse and Roberto officially adopted him.

Now five years after becoming foster parents, Jesse and Roberto's family is made up of six boys adopted out of foster care: Angel, 21; Jonathan, 16; Lee, 16; Alex, 15; Kyle, 14; and Tyler, 11. Their youngest, Tyler, just had his adoption finalized in October of this year.

Jesse explained that, "LCFS has always been here to support us through this journey. We learned they play a very important role transitioning children either back to families or from foster care to adoption."

For Jesse and Roberto, their foster care journey has come to an end, but they still plan to be advocates for children in the system and help support other foster parents. "It's bittersweet to not be foster parents anymore, but we still plan to affect change just in different ways," said Jesse.

While they may no longer be foster parents, they will forever be parents to the six boys they adopted. So their journey as a family continues.

"We want them to fulfill their dreams, whatever dreams they have," shared Jesse and Roberto. "And we want them to know that they always have a home. If the worst comes up, they always have a place to go."

To learn more about adoption or foster care, contact LCFS at 1-800-363-LCFS (5237) or visit www.lcfs.org/foster.

Lutheran Children and Family Services of Illinois is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the well-being of people across the state by protecting children, strengthening families and building futures for those who have experienced trauma. After more than 148 years, it has grown into the second-largest community-based child welfare agency in Illinois with programs including foster care, adoption, counseling and preventative services. LCFS has regional sites in Chicago, Belleville, Decatur, Joliet, Kankakee, Mt. Vernon, Oak Brook, Quincy and Springfield. For more information, visit www.lcfs.org.

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