"We Were a Team"
Destiny, who is now 19 years old, has reunified with her son, Jayden. She graduated from High School and is co-parenting with the help and support of her mom. Destiny is preparing to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), learning of the love and support of her family while staying in touch with the Allens - her second family.
“Becca and Bill fostered my little guy and they fostered me," stated Destiny, referencing Becca and Bill Allen. But they played an even greater role in Destiny's life. "They are my family," she said.
Destiny expresses a depth of gratitude for Becca and Bill. She said that Becca was an advocate for her at ACR meetings, helping her to articulate her thoughts and worries, and advocated for her to get the services and supports she needed. Destiny explained that Becca also aligned with her mom, Jayden’s grandmother.
“We were a team," Destiny said.
The team approach started in a hospital waiting area.
Bill Allen, a foster parent from New Haven, remembers sitting in the pediatric hospital waiting room, holding his wife Becca’s hand, patiently waiting to meet the hospital staff and the DCF worker. “Did you ever think we would be here at our age, in a hospital, waiting for a baby," Becca asked Bill. They were waiting for Jayden to be discharged.
Shortly after, Becca noticed a youth backpack on the floor that the birth mom had left behind, learning in that moment that the mother of this baby was young herself. When the Allens returned home with their foster child, they told their daughter, Maddy, that the baby’s mom was her age. Maddy’s compassionate heart spoke volumes of wise maturity. “Mom, this baby’s mother needs a mother too, she needs you," she stated, and so the story began.
Becca and Bill fostered Jayden, an infant, and they also began fostering Jayden’s family, too. “As soon as I met Jayden’s Mom, Destiny, I just loved her. I asked if I could have her cell number. We began texting, Facetiming and sharing photographs. I didn’t want her to miss a second of Jayden.”
Within a short time, Becca learned that Destiny was taking the bus home from visits, so she provided her rides. "It was a chance for me to get to know her better too," Becca said. Destiny expressed her admiration for her supportive new family. "Becca’s vibe from that first time we met made me feel like everything was going to be OK. I never felt angry or bitter, I just knew she was there to help me.”
Asked to envision herself speaking to a group of birth moms who are on a similar journey, Destiny emphatically stated clear advice. “Don’t you ever give up. Set a goal for yourself and stay focused. Welcome partnering from the foster family and accept all the support that is given to you. Think of yourself as a bodyguard for that baby of yours. You have work to do."
Destiny, Jayden and Becca recently spent time together at a beach. Through tears, looking towards the ocean line where Becca was playing in the sand with Jayden, Destiny shared, “I have a bond with Becca that will never be broken. She took care of my son for me when I couldn’t, and she loved him like her very own. She was my voice when I didn’t have a voice. Becca and Bill fostered my little guy and they fostered me. They are my family."