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Meet the Lopez Adoptive Family from Colorado

Voice for Adoption, Colorado, Lopez Family

"Adoption as God's love on display."

Ashlette and Eric have experienced parenthood in several formats - by giving birth, fostering, adopting, and providing “kinship care” to a relative’s child.  

Motivated by her own experiences as a child in foster care, Ashlette wanted to provide a positive impact on others in that situation. Eric was fully involved in the decision to open their home to children in need. The couple has now cared for 27 children since receiving their foster care license in 2012. Two of these have become permanent family members.

The Lopez children are Ethan, age 8, adopted at age 4 through kinship care; Eli, age 6, who was born to the Lopez’s; and Elliana, age 2, adopted at age 1. Ethan arrived to the Lopez home at age 2 and Elliana at age 5 weeks – initially as foster placements.

"Eli considers Ethan and Elliana his “forever” brother and sister."

A bit on the timid side, Ethan likes to tinker, and plans to be an engineer when he grows up. A sensitive, gifted boy, Eli considers Ethan and Elliana his “forever” brother and sister. Outgoing Elliana entertains her brothers with her singing and dancing. Ashlette and Eric are pleased with the close bond their three children share.

Sibling connections are especially important to the Lopez family in light of Ashlette’s painful separation from her sister and brothers while in foster care. She and Eric are firmly committed to assuring that Ethan never loses contact with his two older biological siblings, whom Eric’s brother has adopted. Ashlette explains, “Neither one of our families could handle all three children together in the same home because of their significant special needs. We make sure that they have continuous contact and frequent visits.”  

The Lopez’s have encountered challenges due to the children’s earlier traumas and drug exposure. Although now caught up academically, Ethan has developmental delays and disabilities. He is benefitting from physical, occupational, speech, and play therapies. Elliana’s medical needs require specialists and dietary restrictions. Ashlette and Eric are thankful for the Adoption Assistance subsidy that enables them to obtain needed treatments. The family also appreciates “Project 1.27”, a Christian ministry that offers supports such as respite care to foster and adoptive families.

When asked about the obstacles they have faced in adoption, Eric and Ashlette report difficulties in working with the child welfare system.  The couple was not notified when Eric’s cousin’s children entered state custody. They learned of the situation through another source. Ashlette recalls, “We had to fight for placement of Ethan. We appeared in court and appealed to the judge.”

Based upon their experiences, the Lopez’s offer two suggestions to policy-makers. First, please make the Federal Adoption Tax Credit refundable so families who do not earn enough to owe on their taxes may benefit. Second, please develop policy to involve foster parents on the decision-making teams.

Ashlette and Eric offer succinct advice to others considering foster care adoption. “It's a lot harder than you'd think. Learn all you can about trauma.”

Despite the challenges, the Lopez’s are delighted with their family composition. They define adoption as “God's love on display.”