"That's my son"
Kally Moquet, a Middletown resident, first became involved with the Department when she was five years old and spent many years in foster care. She described that time in her life as uncertain, not feeling comfortable or free to be herself.
She is now an adoptive parent to an adolescent boy - making a difference in a child's life, just like someone make a difference in hers.
Growing up, Kally masked her feelings behind her beautiful smile and bright personality until an adult colleague where she worked at BJ’s Wholesale Store, took what she explained as a “deep dive." This co-worker noticed that Kally, who had just turned 16 years old, seemed to be hurting inside and the two got to know one another. Soon after, this woman became a kinship foster parent for Kally. “She is still in my life to this very day," explained Kally. “She will always be, family."
Kally attributes her childhood in foster care to a deeply rooted desire to make a difference for other kids, to own her own home and fill those bedrooms with foster children.
Kally attended college and had internships in the Middletown Office and Central Office, learning soon that she wanted to begin her career with the Department. She became a Social Worker in the New Britain DCF Office and received her Master of Social Work degree while working full time. Kally worked for the Department for four years before leaving to follow other career goals. Working with kids, especially teens, has been her passion. Kally is currently a school social worker, pursuing a law degree at Springfield College. “I hope to impact change at all levels of the social welfare system," she explained.
Kally became a foster parent to Zander when he was 14 years old. She remembers with fondness the day he walked into her home, their first grocery store shopping trip and those early days figuring one another out. “Since he walked through that door, he was my son. I was committed to giving him the support he needed and all the things that took me so long to have," she explained.
When asked to talk about Zander, Kally immediately lit up with so much pride and joy. She explained him to be kind, compassionate, empathetic, smart, quirky and a survivor. Zander survived childhood cancer at the young age of 2 years old when he was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor. She believes his illness made him that much more of a fighter, his story gave him strength.
Kally can’t imagine not having Zander in her life.
Kally encourages others to foster a teen, reassuring anyone who is thinking of making that call to do so, promising them that there is support and a need and, there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
Kally remembers asking Zander if he wanted her to adopt him. His response was “ummm, yah," as if it was assumed. “I’m not going anywhere," Zander said.
“The bond between the two strengthened," explained Alison Sroka, Zander’s DCF Social Worker. "Gone was the foster parent/foster child role the family started as and in came the mother/son role. Truly amazing to see that bond grown and strengthen.”
Kally never imaged that she would adopt the child of her first foster care placement, but it was meant to be. She felt that he needed her and because of her own experiences as a teen in care, she knew his struggle. “I knew what he needed from me and I met him where he was at," she said.
Their mutual love and respect are evident as is Zander’s appreciation for Kally. “Zander has come out of his shell and has demonstrated that he loves and cares for Kally. Kally's love and support encouraged him to show his emotions and form healthy relationships. He will finally have the safety and stability he has been looking for his entire life," according to Ms. Sroka.
Zander said that Kally keeps him on track, exposes him to so many opportunities and new experiences and is unconditionally supportive.
Zander was adopted on Friday, November 19th, one of the 52 children adopted in CT on National Adoption Day. The hearing was attended by many including one very special person - Giovanna Francisco - Kally's foster mother who cared for her as an adolescent.
Once the judge finalized the adoption, Kally turned to Zander and said “Well, hello Mr. Moquet."