DENVER (Nov. 1, 2023) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is recognizing four adoptive families from across the state in celebration of National Adoption Month in November. CDHS hopes these stories will encourage more Coloradans to consider adoption from foster care.
“These four families are providing lasting connections and support for the children and youth they have adopted,” said Minna Castillo, CDHS’s interim deputy executive director of Community Partnerships. “Some of these families were related to those they adopted, and some weren’t — but all of them are dedicated to maintaining adoptees’ connections to their biological families.”
In 2022, 718 Colorado children and youth were adopted from foster care. Currently, there are 395 Colorado children and youth waiting to be adopted. Most children and youth who are adopted from foster care are adopted by their foster parents or a family member.
“We know that people are curious about foster care and adoption and want to know more about the process,” said Mollie Bradlee, interim director of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families. “By sharing their stories in our public awareness campaign, these families will help us inspire others to support children and youth in foster care.”
Every Colorado community needs foster parents, especially families who are willing to care for children with complex behavioral and mental health needs, sibling groups and children whose first language is not English. Foster parents must be at least 21 years old and be able to provide a safe, loving and stable family environment. There are no limitations based on income, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Below are stories from the families CDHS is honoring this month.
Dan Bollinger, Grand Junction
After wanting to become a parent for many years, Dan, a middle school social studies teacher, started down the path to becoming a foster parent two years ago. Shortly after Dan became certified, Colton, who had just turned 10, came to live with him in Grand Junction. Dan was able to create a close connection with Colton and help him feel safe enough to communicate about his struggles and needs. Colton was eventually able to express himself by writing about his experiences in school. Colton and Dan have adopted two puppies together and they enjoy traveling, playing sports and going to the trampoline park. They both enjoy music and Colton is learning guitar, bass, piano and trumpet. This summer, a month before his 12th birthday, Colton’s adoption was finalized. Colton has maintained his connections with his biological grandparents, aunts and siblings.
Eric James and Teddy McCullough, Denver
Eric and Teddy had been married for a few years when they decided to pursue adoption from foster care. They knew they wanted to adopt an older youth who wanted to have life-long permanency. They met their son Gabe in May of 2022 and his adoption was finalized in January of 2023, shortly after his 18th birthday. Gabe is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Teddy is a member of Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. Eric and Teddy saw the importance of Gabe participating in tribal events with his siblings and other extended family, and they fully supported him maintaining these relationships by encouraging phone calls and providing him transportation for family time. Gabe graduated from high school in May, and in the summer he moved out to live with friends. Although he is on his own now, he is not far from Eric and Teddy, who will continue to provide support to him for the rest of his life.
Susan Sanders, Denver
One Wednesday afternoon, while she was watching CBS Colorado’s “Wednesday's Child” segment — which features foster children who are waiting to be adopted — Susan was shocked to see her great grandson My'Kail featured. She immediately reached out to My’Kail’s caseworker to discuss arrangements for him to be placed in her home. After My’Kail moved in with Susan, she was committed to not giving up on him, even through challenges. She gave him the unconditional love he needed after he had moved around in foster care for four years. Susan got My’Kail involved in her neighborhood and faith communities, found male role models to mentor him, and got him involved in football, summer camp and other activities. Susan legally adopted My’Kail in September, shortly before his 12th birthday.
Kim Sosa, Pueblo
Kim had just retired in January of 2019 when she learned that her daughter Kendra’s two younger sons were involved in the child welfare system. Kim had already adopted Kendra’s oldest daughter — the boys’ sister — and they were living in California. They immediately moved back to Pueblo, and Kim later sold her home in California so she could care for her grandsons. The youngest boy was hospitalized several times and continues to have high medical needs. Kendra has now been clean and sober for four years and has regained custody of her two sons, who are 6 and 7 years old. She and Kim now live together and co-parent the children. Kim is a member of the CDHS Family Voice Council and is a fierce advocate for children in the child welfare system, as well as kinship caregivers.
The Colorado Department of Human Services’ CO4Kids campaign encourages all Coloradans to strengthen families and communities. For information about how to become a foster or adoptive parent, visit CO4Kids.org.