EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Some couples who want to start a family but can’t conceive turn to adoption. In the United States, there are several routes to adoption and the foster care system is one of them.

There are hundreds of kids in the foster care system in our area in need of a stable home environment. Adopting through the foster care system comes with support and expense reimbursement, but there is a risk.

However, for one local family, fostering-to-adoption was the answer to their dreams.

“It feels like this is what our family was meant to be,” said Melissa Kadlubowki of Scranton

Eric and Melissa Kadlubowski of Scranton are the parents of three children who they fostered before adopting in 2017, 10-year-old Ivy, 9-year-old Hazel, and 6-year-old E.J.

“Adoption was something that was always in my heart from a young child. So, I felt I wanted to follow through with the adoption,” Melissa added.

Eric and Melissa were not able to conceive their own children, so they decided to foster-to-adopt. The couple contacted Families United Network, a foster care services agency in Scranton.

After going through an extensive background check known as the home study, the couple was approved to foster the kids who at the time, were ages 4, 3, and 8 months.

“I agreed to one, she convinced me to two, then they called with three,” explained Eric Kadlubowski.

“When we go the call we were told the middle child had some developmental delays. At that point I was working in the field with adults with developmental disabilities so I had a good grasp on that, so I was like we got this, we can handle this,” Melissa continued.

There are more than 200 children in foster care in Lackawanna County. At Families United in Scranton, the goal is not to find children for families but to find families for children in the foster care system.

All children are matched with foster families for at least 6 months. Permanent placement of a child occurs if the biological parents relinquish their parental rights, and the adoption agency approves the adoptive parents.

“We are focused on making sure we take the family through the home study process, assess their capability and assist them through that process to identify what children are going to best suited for that family,” explained Elizabeth Thompson of Families United Network.

Elizabeth Thompson finalizes adoptions and helps transition foster care kids into their new homes. She says most kids in the foster care system have been through trauma and what they need most is love and attention.

“It takes a great deal of commitment, understanding, and patience and opening your heart to kids. To know that kids have been through a lot. They need to know how to be a kid again. A lot of them are forced to grow up faster than they deserve and when they’re placed in a foster home it gives them a new chance at life to be able to have a family that they need,” Thompson added.

As for the Kadlubowskis, the family they needed was formed from the first moment they came in contact with their three kids.

“They came to our house on day one as a family. We treated them as our kids we never treated them as foster kids,” Melissa explained.

If you’re considering fostering-to-adoption, do your research, choose an adoption agency, and prepare for a background check. If you’re interested in adoption here are some things to keep in mind:

  • there are 3 main paths to adoption: personal, legal, and financial
  • do your research: determine whether you’re interested in adopting a newborn or older child.
  • know your reasons for adopting and accepting your limits
  • choose an adoption agency
  • prepare for a background check also known as the home study
  • know that the goal of foster to adopt is to reunify the child with the biological parents
  • It’s important to prepare your home for a placement with items such as furniture and bedding.
  • And linking up with support groups on social media like Facebook can offer tips on what to expect with adoption.

For more information on foster-to-adoption, check out the Families United Network in Scranton.