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A cap and gown, a diploma, and a backyard graduation

At 14 years old, Sean was emotionally abused by his birth mother. After being removed from the abusive environment, Sean was placed in a group home, where he lived for several years. Sean experienced what many young men in foster care experience – a challenge finding a family willing to take in a teenage boy with trauma. He struggled in school, spent time in the juvenile justice system, and experienced mental health issues. 

 

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Pathways to Permanency: Promoting connections during times of crisis

Going about normal routines and balancing new challenges can be difficult during these uncertain times. Many organizations have been forced to restructure, furlough, or even stop providing crucial services to the community. At Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (SSYF), we have been delivering and will continue to deliver essential services to youth and families within our programs, all while focusing on the safety and well-being of all within our communities. The challenges we face during this time will provide us with invaluable tools and resources for years to come.

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Introducing Stanford Sierra Youth & Families

Stanford Youth Solutions + Sierra Forever Families is proud to announce our new identity – Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (SSYF). SSYF believes each and every child deserves the love, safety, and unconditional commitment of a family and the opportunity to develop as a healthy and productive adult.

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Stronger Together: Stanford Youth Solutions and Sierra Forever Families Merger
October 9, 2019

Two women walking together

A commitment to permanency and the empowerment of youth and families.

It is with great excitement that Sierra Forever Families (SFF) and Stanford Youth Solutions (SYS) announce the merging of the two organizations, effective July 1, 2019. SFF and SYS have complementary missions and operations and have an extensive history of collaborating to provide services and supports to youth and families.

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Adoption Myths
June 4, 2019

Father and child

Like most aspects of life related to family and children, adoption is an emotional topic. That might be why foster-care adoption is so ripe for myth-making. At Sierra Forever Families (SFF), would-be parents often approach us with ideas that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s clear up four common ones:

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A gloriously sunny spring day picnic
May 23, 2019

Family together outside

A gloriously sunny spring day, scented with the unmistakable fragrance of cotton candy, set the stage for nearly 200 parents and children to enjoy a day of fun and companionship at Sierra Forever Families’ Family Appreciation Picnic on May 4 at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin.

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California’s first-ever surgeon general prioritizes children’s health
April 30, 2019

Child holding stuffed toy

February/March of 2017, in a two-part series on how trauma affects children, this blog highlighted a 16-minute talk by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris that has been viewed on YouTube 1.8 million times.

Dr. Burke Harris, a pediatrician trained at the UC Davis School of Medicine, has been hailed as a leading voice in transforming our understanding of how children’s traumatic experiences can trigger serious physical and mental illness.

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3 Empowering Reasons to Foster/Adopt as a Single Parent
April 16, 2019

Child smiling at parent

There’s a myth out there that to adopt or care for a foster child, your family needs to resemble something out of an ancient sitcom: one mom in an apron, one dad in a business suit. This is, indeed, a myth. At Sierra Forever Families, we strongly encourage single parents to explore foster care and adoption. In fact, nearly a quarter of adoptions are by single parents.

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You Never Outgrow the Need for a Family
March 13, 2019

Smiling teenager

There’s a tongue-in-cheek poster that’s a classic fixture on the wall at some adoption agencies. It lists the advantages of giving a permanent home to a teenager. Number one is “No diapers!” Another benefit: “No toilet training.”

Clearly, these comments are meant to bring a smile to the face of prospective parents. But they also have a serious intent: to shine a light on the critical need for families to adopt older children and provide them with life-changing unconditional love, safety and support.

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Navigating the Bureaucracy of Adoption and Foster Care
March 8, 2019

Woman and child smiling together

Anyone who has ever waited for their number to be called at the DMV knows that bureaucracy can be crazy-making. Paperwork, meetings, complex chains of command, endless acronyms (CPS? EPSDT?), communication breakdowns—all of it can make impatience flare. When a child’s future is at stake, it can be even more frustrating.

Welcome to foster care and adopting through the foster care system!

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Instant Family, Hollywood’s Portrayal of Life as a Foster/Adoptive Parent, Rings True
December 4, 2018

Promotional image for Instant Family

Luckily for Sierra Forever Families, there is a new tool in town that can help tell our story of love and compassion, second chances and the trials and tribulations of adoption. It’s a recently released movie showing at theaters near you called Instant Family. The delightful romp follows a family through the foster- to-adoption process with a clear message: all kids need and deserve parents who love them.

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Trusting the Process: How To Stay Positive While Being Patient
November 13, 2018

Family

Every time you think about it, you get excited. A wonderful child, in need of a home, running into your arms, completing your long-held wish of having the family you’ve always wanted. Now you want to make that dream into reality and you have just begun doing research on the foster to adoption process. After a couple of web searches, you start second-guessing your excitement because you keep reading that the process is intense and can take a long time.

Don’t be discouraged. We are here to support you.

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The Attachment Journey: Building trust and connection takes time
October 23, 2018

Parent holding child's hand

Congratulations! You are beaming with joy because your home is ready to be filled with more laughter and love with the addition of a new child. You have made the decision to learn more about the foster to adoption process and becoming a resource parent for our children in care.   The thought of connecting with a new child is exciting but getting used to the time it takes to build that lasting bond can be a little bit challenging. Don’t worry. You have the starting foundation of love, and that sprinkled with patience and flexibility, make for a great resource parent. Our families learn there is so much you can do to help spark that healthy trust between you and your new child.

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After eight homes, the ninth one was the lucky charm!
August 23, 2018

Children playing soccer

Mark and Rebecca met and fell in love while working together as elementary school teachers. As they began to discuss marriage and a life together, Rebecca made it clear to Mark that even though she loved children, she did not see the necessity in having a child when so many children already exist who need loving families. Mark felt a strong urge to be a parent. Thanks to sympathetic adults and a resilient spirit, he had survived a chaotic, neglectful childhood. He wanted to pay it forward. After much discussion, they married with the eventual goal of providing a loving home to children through adoption.

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First Steps of Adoption
August 2, 2018

Siblings smiling together

You have been thinking about this for a while. You have a successful career, a great home, and are now ready to start a family or grow the one you have through adoption. You either know someone who has gone through the process or you have always wondered whether adoption is a right fit for your family. Don’t worry. You are not alone.

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The Honeymoon is Over
July 26, 2018

Father and son playing

Our son first came to live with us as a foster child in the Fall of 2015, at the age of six. In the Fall of 2016, we adopted him. As they say, the honeymoon is over. I couldn’t find the origin of that idiom but it refers to the easy time someone has after a new, and often exciting event occurs. A new job, getting married, bringing home a new child…

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Wonder Firsts: Priceless
July 12, 2018

Girl with dolphin

The definition of wonder is the feeling of awe, surprise, or admiration—to marvel. We here at the Wonder Program ask that our Guides (mentors) create the feeling of wonder for their Explorers (foster youth mentee) by exposing them to “firsts”. A first could be experiencing something like riding a bike, fishing, or a roller coaster for the first time.