(WKBN) – “I just ran in the door and hugged them. I was really happy that I found a family that I liked and that didn’t treat me like an outcast,” said Tatianna.
Tatianna is almost 16 years old and will soon be adopted into a loving family.
She has been with the Brenners for almost three years. Desiree Brenner said fostering children is something that was introduced to her at a young age. Now, her family continues to grow.
“I have five kids altogether. Two are biological, one is completely adopted, one we are working on adoption and then we have one more that we have custody of,” Brenner said.
Jaelynn and Olivia are Brenner’s biological daughters. Tatianna is in the process of being adopted. Mateo and Aleah, both 3 years old, have been with Brenner since they were babies. Mateo was adopted and the Brenners have custody of Aleah, and will eventually adopt her as well.
But, Brenner said adopting a teen is just as fulfilling.
“I myself had the misconception of, ‘I’m not taking teenagers, I can only imagine what they’ve been through.’ And then Tatianna was my first teenager and we’re adopting her,” Brenner said. “I actually kind of prefer the teenagers over the babies now. You know, they come in and you create a different bond with them… and then once they open up to you and you gain their trust, that’s a feeling that you can’t describe.”
Tatianna said before coming to the Brenners she spent some time in a residential facility with other teenagers also waiting to find a family.
“They are put off as bad kids and kids that are just always in trouble and stuff. But to a certain extent, it’s not their fault. They don’t have any training, they don’t have a support group and that’s what they need, they need to be loved,” she said.
That’s exactly what Tatianna feels she is getting now.
“I like that I can always talk to my mom and she’s always there. Like, I don’t have to worry about her not coming home at night and stuff like that, she’s just always there,” she said.
Tatianna has four siblings, a mom, a dad and a couple of pets.
She said she hopes other teens can find the same love she has found.
“There are so many kids that are in need of a good family, and if you think that you’re able to give these kids what they need, that’s amazing and I think you should do it,” she said.
Once children in foster care reach the age of 10, the likelihood of them being adopted decreases. Many children often age out of the system, never finding a home.
“I think the biggest misconception is, you think these kids are terrible kids and they’re truly not, they’re truly, truly not. They’re really good kids,” Brenner said.
Brenner says oftentimes, people think it is expensive or too difficult to go through the adoption or fostering process, but she doesn’t feel it is.
“You don’t want the agency to say, ‘Oh yeah, come on in, anyone can adopt.’ You know? So you do have to go through the background checks, you hire your attorney, but the agency actually pays for that, you don’t pay out of pocket for that. And then all the court fees and stuff are covered too, through the agency. The agency really makes it very, very accommodating,” she said.
Financial support is often provided to families adopting through foster care and through Children Services. In some cases, it may not cost anything.
You also do not need to be married to be able to adopt. According to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, 28% of adoptive children are in single-parent households.
Tatianna said anyone looking to adopt should consider giving a home to a teen in need.
“They say that it’s pointless because they’re already almost grown and stuff like that, but it’s really not. They need a family just as much as the little ones need one,” she said.
Anyone interested in adoption or fostering can contact Trumbull county Children Services at (330) 372-2010 or Mahoning County Children Services at (330) 941-8888.