Adoptive Families Find the Beauty in Blending

Promoted byPromoted by Pine-Sol
Nov 28, 2016·
Kelly Bryant is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer covering fashion, pop culture, and parenting for a variety of national publications.

TakePart and Pine-Sol want to redefine the word “homemaker” and break down stereotypes around who is shouting, “Welcome home,” at the end of the day. Let’s shine a light on today’s modern families and the new #MakersOfHome. From a blended family with adoptive children to a single mom to a family with a special needs child, these stories show us that even as families have changed, love has not. So change our image of who is responsible for making today’s homes.

The Washingtons don’t consider themselves a traditional family, though with their five children and warm home life, onlookers might beg to differ.

“My husband and I came into our relationship each with a child, our oldest two, and then we had our eight-year-old together,” explains Shakella Washington. “Our younger two are adopted. We did not set out to adopt like most families that adopt. We actually got a call from Children and Family Services. When we originally started we were just fostering, and it led to adoption.”

The most recent statistics as reported by the Children’s Bureau reveal 107,918 kids in public foster care were waiting to be adopted in September 2014. While the number has decreased since 2006, when 135,276 children were in the foster care system, the hard truth remains: There are more children who need homes than families offering to care for them.

It’s an interesting predicament given that a national survey conducted by Harris Interactive in 2012 reported that one in five Americans adults has, at one time, considered adoption. Approximately 72 percent of that group have contemplated doing so from foster care. It begs the question, What’s stopping them? The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 was put in place by Congress to help make the foster care adoption process simpler by removing the red tape that was a turnoff for prospective families.

Washington, who works in law enforcement and was adopted as a child, has seen firsthand the consequences of being in a group home as opposed to living with a family. In 1995, to increase awareness of the social issue, President Bill Clinton declared November National Adoption Month, a boost from the National Adoption Week Ronald Reagan put into effect in 1984. National, state, and local agencies use this time to promote programs and events that raise awareness of children who need permanent families.

While the Washingtons have opened their hearts and minds, they are not blind to the complexities of raising a family of five.

“He works during the week, and I stay at home. Most days I work from the time I open my eyes until I close them,” says Shakella. “I love my children. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But if I looked at you and said I wasn’t overwhelmed, it would be a lie. Kids help out, and everybody kind of lends a hand. When I look around our home I see a family trying to make it. Just a normal family that is getting through life. I see love. I see sadness on the kids sometimes. I see them enjoying each other. I see a home. I see a home with people in it who love each other and hate each other sometimes, and that’s OK because we’re normal people.”