When working with children, it isn’t unusual to hear adults say, “I would take those kids home if could.” But Communities In Schools of Northwest Michigan site coordinator Angela did just that.
When working with children, it isn’t unusual to hear adults say, “I would take those kids home if could.” But Communities In Schools of Northwest Michigan site coordinator Angela did just that for elementary school students David and Michael.
Angela joined Communities In Schools of Northwest Michigan in 2013 as an elementary school program assistant, after learning of the organization through her positive interactions with CIS staff. Angela soon transitioned into a site coordinator role, where she saw the need to build collaborative relationships not only with students, but also with parents and guardians. It was through this work that Angela saw the power of caring relationships between students and adults.
Angela worked at a CIS afterschool program where she met David and Michael. She learned of the boys’ family history and experience with neglect and the foster care system. Towards the end of the school year, Angela discovered that the boys were up for adoption. Angela hoped that they would get placed in a good home, so she followed up with their foster mom to inquire about the status of adoption. Angela learned that if the boys weren’t adopted by Christmas, the foster parents would proceed with adopting them. In that moment, Angela wondered about stepping in to care for the boys.
Already a single parent, Angela was unsure if she could become an adoptive mom. The support from Angela’s daughter, friends and family made her think, “Why wouldn’t I?” Eight months later, Angela became “Mom” to David and Michael.
As a mom, Angela had to set firm boundaries and strike a balance between site coordinator and parent. The adoption of David and Michael became a popular topic of conversation around the school, and some students even asked Angela to be their mom. She maintains the boys’ positive relationship with their foster dad, who they call “Poppa”.
As a site coordinator, Angela says, “Being a CIS coordinator is a unique position within the building because we are here to support the kids we work with…we are able to really zero in on specific kids with specific needs and be of support to them. If we weren’t in the building, who would be doing that?”