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Meet The Carter Family!

Carter Family

Lillienne (Lilli) is a delightful 6-year-old who has never met an animal she didn’t like or a child she didn’t want to befriend. Her proud mother, Erin Carter, describes Lilli as “independent, curious, and loving.” Lilli’s interests center around dolls, fashion, dancing, and music. Lillienne came to Erin’s home as a foster placement at age 2, and nearly two years later her birth mother voluntarily relinquished her parental rights. Lillienne’s adoption occurred just before her 5th birthday. Although their immediate family consists of just the two of them, this mother and daughter enjoy camaraderie with extended family and
close friends. Lilli has three biological half-brothers that she and Erin visit often. Erin has three siblings, as well as three nieces and nephews, so Lilli has lots of loving aunts, uncles, and cousins around. One of Lilli’s brothers is being adopted by Erin’s best friends (also Lilli’s godparents), who are already experienced adoptive parents themselves. Erin is appreciative of post-adoption services. “The primary service we utilized after Lilli’s adoption was attachment therapy, which we had been involved with since she came into care. It was especially helpful for Lilli to have someone familiar and trusted from her ‘foster care life’ after the adoption.”

If Erin could offer one suggestion for improvement to policy makers, it would be to “focus on how to best provide permanency and stability ‘in child time,’ rather than getting bogged down in paperwork and vague interpretations of policies that can result in the child’s needs actually being overlooked.” Additionally, Erin notes the importance of treating foster parents as valuable members of the case management team.  Additionally, Erin notes the importance of treating foster parents as valuable members of the case management team. “Engage foster parents in the family reunification process when possible. Encouraging foster parents to build relationships with the biological parents can provide additional support for the families and advocacy for the children.” When asked what advice she would offer prospective foster and adoptive parents, Erin didn’t hesitate: “Introducing a foster child into your home can be a huge adjustment for everyone – and you will need a stronger, bigger ‘village’ of support than you think. Ask for help when you need it, and be patient – with yourself and the children in your home. Fostering and adopting may be the hardest thing you ever do as a family, but it can also be the most important thing. Being committed to these children whose lives have been turned upside down takes a lot of work, but you have the opportunity to make a significant impact.” She also notes that “having a good sense of humor and not taking things personally” can help when facing the everyday challenges of parenthood.

Indiana - There are 4,778 children in foster care in Indiana waiting to be adopted.

“A good sense of humor can help.”