What's New

What's New

Meet The Coffey Family from Florida

Having someone in my life who loves me so much means the world to me.

Derek is a quiet, compassionate 15-year-old who likes to be around animals. And that is a good thing, because his new mom Carrie works in veterinary medicine. Derek and Carrie came together just a year ago to form a family. Derek had been living in foster care the previous two years.

Carrie’s journey to motherhood followed a long and circuitous route.  During her five years of teaching, the presence of a few foster children in her classes raised her awareness of the needs of this population. Later, after changing careers and realizing how much she missed having children in her life, Carrie became a foster parent herself. But when she entered graduate school, she was no longer able to accept foster placements.

Several years later, Carrie was again “ready to open my home and heart.” While she was re-taking the foster parent classes, caseworkers identified a young man whom they believed would be a ‘good match.’ Carrie recalls, “Derek’s caseworker introduced us over lunch one afternoon. It was an awkward ‘meet and greet,’ but I could tell right away that Derek was an empathetic, kind young man.  After several more meetings, and then some weekend visits, Derek moved in permanently, just in time to enjoy Christmas with his new family.

Asked about obstacles they are overcoming, Carrie writes, “Merging two very different personalities and interests has been challenging.” Derek loves to read, draw, watch scary movies, and hang out with his friends at the mall. Carrie prefers to be outdoors enjoying nature. The two find ways to compromise so that every weekend each of them is able to participate in some of the activities the other one enjoys.   

The two have also been working diligently to get Derek caught up on a lot of the academics that he had missed while in foster care. Carrie reports, “He has made amazing progress and really come a long way in a very short time.” Derek appreciates his mom’s full support of his identity as a transgender youth, something that was not met with acceptance in his previous home. 

The Coffeys are pleased with the post adoption services available to them. Derek receives mental health counseling, medication management, and group therapy through Tykes and Teens. Carrie appreciates “an amazing support system of friends, co-workers, neighbors, and attentive teachers who have all come forward and offered help when needed.”

Carrie Coffey respectfully asks members of Congress to allocate more funding to child welfare agencies, in order to increase competency and decrease the “burn-out rate.”  She attributes some of the instability in her son’s life to “overworked caseworkers.”  .

Derek’s first task when he joined the Coffey household last December was helping Carrie to put up Christmas lights. When they decorate for the holidays again this year, mother and son will do so while celebrating their first anniversary as a family. Reflecting on the events of the past year, appreciative Derek writes, “Being adopted has meant a lot to me! I have a loving mom who cares for me dearly, even when I make a mistake or get in trouble. Just having someone in my life who loves me so much means the world to me.”