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Meet the Sears family from Colorado!

I knew I was loved when I finally felt safe.

When Steven and Karlie Sears applied to become foster parents, they indicated their openness to children of various ages, ethnicities, and abilities.  Karlie writes, “We are all equals and we are all children of God. Every child deserves to feel loved and feel safe.”

Starting when their son Kyson was age 4, the Sears have welcomed a number of foster children into their home.  A well-rounded boy with many interests, Kyson has been a helpful foster brother. 

The family decided to pursue adoption when told that their three foster daughters, all biological siblings, were not likely to return to their birth family. Twins Ava and Avery had been with the Sears over two years - since age 5; and baby sister Jaycee since age 3 months.  Their adoptions occurred two years later. 

The adoption process presented several obstacles, such as delays due to multiple changes of caseworkers. In addition, the TPR (Termination of Parental Rights) appeals process was extremely drawn out. “This exacerbated their trauma and left them feeling uncertain about their future.”

With that uncertainty behind them now, the sisters are increasingly able to enjoy the niceties of family life. They relish simple activities like riding bikes, climbing on monkey bars, and coloring with chalk. Favorite family activities include boating, biking, snowboarding, and going on vacations. Karlie and Steven rely upon shared work and shared fun to create a family atmosphere in which all feel connected, loved and valued.

Asked when they first felt they were “home” with their new family, one twin responded, "I knew I was loved when I finally felt safe."

The four Sears children all have unique personalities and interests. Kyson, age 9, loves to build with Legos, play sports, and go on adventures with his sisters. Goal-oriented Ava, now age 8, is very caring of others. Sweet and shy twin sister Avery loves to play piano. Charming and sassy Jayce, age 3, brings much laughter to the family as she strives to keep up with her older siblings. 

The Sears family has found post-adoption services useful.  On-going family counseling helps Steven and Karlie to understand the causes of certain behaviors and to learn strategies to help their daughters be successful.  The greatest challenge has been finding providers who can offer the correct services for their children’s unique needs. The Sears have encountered very long waitlists and few providers willing to accept Medicaid. 

Asked what improvements policy makers could undertake, Steven and Karlie suggest mandatory training to aid caseworkers in making decisions and becoming trauma informed.

When others comment on how fortunate their girls are, Karlie is quick to point out, “It is we who are lucky to have been blessed with such amazing kids in our life!”