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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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5/5/2011 8:44:00 AM
Family Affair: Verde Valley couple adopts family of five
Angela and Michael Clonts had been planning a family for years. Today, they are the parents of five children. “To go from having no children to having four, and in another month, having five, is a drastic change, but definitely doable,” said Angela.
Angela and Michael Clonts had been planning a family for years. Today, they are the parents of five children. “To go from having no children to having four, and in another month, having five, is a drastic change, but definitely doable,” said Angela.
Angela Clonts: “I am living my dream. All my life my dream was to grow up, get married and have kids.”
Angela Clonts: “I am living my dream. All my life my dream was to grow up, get married and have kids.”
If You Go …
• What: Foster Fair

• When: Cottonwood May 7, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

• Where: ACME Pizza, 280 S. Main St

Or

• When: Camp Verde, Sat May 21, 3-5 p.m.

• Where: Valley View Restaurant, 102 Arnold St.


Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter


Most people who are thinking of adoption or becoming a foster parent imagine a young child from birth to 5 years old.

That is rarely the reality of children looking for homes.

Jennifer Devore of Catholic Charities says most are teens or siblings.

"I get requests once or twice a week from families that want to adopt children 0-to 5 years. They often already have a single child and want to adopt another or they are unable to have a child or a second child; 70-80 percent of the calls are for children in that age range. But, there are actually very few adoptable children are in that range," said Devore.

"Young children are usually part of a larger group of siblings and teens. She suggests that families try to expand their vision and look outside the box.

Some 800 Arizona teens live in group homes and don't share their holidays with a family, Devore explained.

Or, did you ever think of adopting or fostering a sibling group of as many as five children or a teen?

Foster Fairs scheduled



Catholic Charities is holding Foster Fairs in Cottonwood and Camp Verde to share information about fostering children and to allow people to meet foster families and ask questions. A Cottonwood Foster Fair is scheduled Saturday at ACME Pizza May 7, 4:30- 6:30 p.m.

A second Foster Fair will be held in Camp Verde at Valley View Restaurant, May 31, from 3-5 p.m.

Angela and Michael Clonts had been planning a family for years, but nothing had worked out. "We also had been trying to adopt and had met with several birth mothers. We came really close with a little boy but the birth mother decided to become a parent after all.

"After six years of trying, we decided to look at foster care and maybe adopting through the state."

Angela, 27, comes from a family of seven. Michael was one of two children.

"I was a little hesitant, because I didn't know how I would handle getting a foster child and then losing that child after a time," she said.



What's good for the kids?

After looking at their options, Angela and Michael made a critical decision. "Instead of thinking about us, and what we could handle and what our needs are, we turned our attention to the children, and about what would be good for them. We thought, even if we had the children for a time and then lost them, it would be good for the kids while we had them in a loving home and safe environment."

They then decided to become foster parents.

Jennifer explains that the legal process to adopt or to become a foster parent is about the same. There is a legal process, paperwork and training.

The minimum standard includes being 21 years old and able to meet your expenses. You will need a fingerprint card. There is a lot of paperwork and a 30-hour training course. There is also a home study training process.

"It's not about finding beds, but finding good fit for the family," Devore points out.

Angela says that after starting fostering classes she and Mike would have accepted a strict fostering situation, but preferred a permanent placement.



Offered a small family

They were presented with a sibling group of four. The children already had been severed from their birth parents and were looking for an adopting family. They knew they wouldn't be going home.

"We were already out of the 0-5 range. When we were presented with this group, Kaden was already 7 and would be 8. We thought about it and asked, 'do we want to go as old as that?' Especially when you don't have any kids. We decided we would."

Justice was 3, McKenzie was 2 and Nathan was 15 months.

"We got them in July and it was two weeks later that Patrick was born, another sibling."

"To go from having no children to having four, and in another month, having five, is a drastic change, but definitely doable."

People tell Angela, 'I don't know how you do it.'

"I think so many people could if they open themselves up to the idea. People underestimate themselves. The surprise is that there were so few groups of one or two. The smallest we saw were groups of three, four or five."

There were clearly some changes in their lives. Michael works in a bank, Angela worked as a dental assistant and part-time EMT.

They had to move into a three-bedroom house, hoping to get kids to foster or adopt. They also bought a mini-van before they found the children.

Angela quit her job, the day before the kids moved in.

"I am living my dream," she says. "All my life my dream was to grow up, get married and have kids."

Devore said, "We recommended Mike and Angela, because we knew they had the skills."

She says, "It is difficult for kids in foster care. In my job, I hate splitting up families."

To ensure enough seating for Saturday's Forster Fair, RSVP to Jennifer Devore at 928-634-4254, ext. 54132 or jdevore@cc-az.org.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Article comment by: Jennifer DeVore

Catholic Charities believes in thoroughly preparing families who wish to foster or adopt. That is why we are there every step of the way during the home-study process which includes training and family interviews to make the best possible match with our children who need loving homes. We educate families about the needs of children and the family’s role in the child-welfare system. Catholic Charities’ support of the children and the families we serve is ongoing and we work with child-welfare agencies throughout our service area to ensure that our children and families are supported and successful.



Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011
Article comment by: Former mother Former mother

Please educate yourself before adopting. Educate yourself on the children you are trying to help. Find out if they have RAD in any form, and their parent's background. Understand there is little support system for children with serious disorders. It is not always this beautiful picture. Educate, educate and never assume the agency is being fortright with you. Most folks go into adoption out of love, but many children are extremely broken and and need specialized help and not just love. This article is misleading.

Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011
Article comment by: wish it were easier

If only it was a little easier. We have adopted a little one right from birth and what a joy it has been , but I will tell you CPS (maybe not all) the lady we had involved (not for the actual home study but for other things) does NOT believe in adoption and wants the children to stay with the birth mothers, even if the mother is a horrible drug, thief and convict(ex), and couldn't take of a baby to save her life! So long story short she made it very difficult in the process but fortunately the judge kicked her out of the court and didn't want to hear her saying that the baby should be with the birth mother. So we did get through it but when you have CPS not believing in adoption that is crazy what are all those kids in state supposed to do, or maybe that is why there is sooooo many kids still waiting! I know there are bad people out there but when you have passed everything, then why cause problems?!!!! Hopefully that lady is not with CPS anymore!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011
Article comment by: Single Foster MOM

Fostering is wonderful and challenging and I would recommend it highly. I have been fostering for a few years and now in the process of adoption at almost 50!
The children are a gift their families the learning and a foster family is a light thru it all-


Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011
Article comment by: Musician Mom

How wonderful that these children found their forever family. We adopted twice. Our children are such a gift! Several families in our area have adopted sibling groups of 6-12 children.

Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Article comment by: JUST ME

WHAT AN AMAZING STORY:) I AM SO GLAD THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE THIS IN THE WORLD. IF I HAD THE FINANCES TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS I WOULD LOVE TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS...U GUYS ARE AWESOME

Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

What a wonderful couple . . . you have given those beautiful children an opportunity of a LIFETIME!

AND NOW, you have also touched the life of others with your story!

What a delightful story to start my day with a smile!




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