Henry and Mark Haws of Wasatch County have been foster parents since 2015. Like many families, they faced fears about bringing teenagers into their home. They adopted their son Tyler as a Christmas gift for him and themselves. Here is their story, as told by Henry:
I would probably have to say that this experience has been rewarding, fulfilling, exciting, and enjoyable, kind of like a rollercoaster (with ups and downs).
A distant cousin and his wife were unable to have biological children, and lots of people tried to encourage them to foster and/or adopt. I remember hearing that my cousin’s wife did not want to do it, because she would never know what backgrounds or problems they could bring to her family.
I remember thinking, “Why? Why would I deny myself the joy to help a soul in need? When there are so many kids out there who need a stable home, and because of no fault of their own, they are paying for someone else’s mishaps.”
I remember Mark was asked once why we decided to adopt a teenager, and Mark’s answer was “Why not? Don’t they deserve the same treatment and care as anybody else?”
Almost half of the children in foster care in Utah are ages 12–18.
Teenagers in foster care are similar to the teens you already know: they worry about fitting in, they stress about homework, and obsess about what clothes to wear. But unlike most teens, they also worry about where they will be living a month from now. They wonder whether their parents made it to counseling. And they are unsure about making friends in a new place when they don’t know how long it will last—if at all.
“It can be hard because everyone treats you like you’re a bad kid. We’re just normal kids who want a family to love them.”
— Child in Foster Care
It’s never too late to adopt a teen when there is still a lifetime of holiday meals and major milestones to celebrate.