HOLIDAY MAGIC

Foster kids get help with navigating the troubling times of high school

Dec 6, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 1:44 pm

(Photo from Bonneville International)...

(Photo from Bonneville International)

(Photo from Bonneville International)

Navigating high school can be difficult for many teenagers. It can be close to impossible for teenagers in foster care.

But Treehouse’s educational advocates are trying to turn the tide.

Doug and Laura Adamson said they “didn’t know what they didn’t know” when they became foster parents.  They knew they had love in their hearts, an empty bedroom, and the desire to help children find a stable road to the future.

They were open to helping children of any age, but they found older kids and teenagers were a perfect fit.

“There are an awful lot of foster parents who line right up to help out with the newborns and help out with the younger children, but there’s a significant need for those who are older kids, especially the teenagers,” Doug Adamson said.

More Holiday Magic from Micki Gamez: Former foster kid works to connect other foster kids with job resources

But teenagers come with extra challenges, especially when it comes to school. And that’s where Treehouse helped the couple understand those challenges and keep their 17-year-old foster child on track.

“They helped us navigate the high school,” Doug Adamson said. “They had a special person who had worked within this existing school system and an educational specialist that spoke the school district’s language.”

A plan was then tailored to keep this child on the path to success.

Donations to Treehouse help the agency provide these educational advocates, who, along with the foster family, keep the children focused on what’s possible and that they can succeed in life.

Laura Adamson said that personal advocacy was essential in their child’s development.

“The educational specialist met with him once a week,” she said. “She was a trusted person, not the caregiver, not the parent, not a teacher. She was someone he really liked, and he could confide in her if he chose to.”

Trusting that educational advocate helped this young man navigate school, both academically and socially, and kept his eyes on the future.

“He was able to apply for their driver’s (education) program, and they helped pay for the car insurance,” Laura Adamson said. “They bought him a cell phone and paid for the cell phone plan, so those were two big expenses.”

More from Heather Bosch: Holiday Magic makes a difference for children in need

Expenses that many foster parents can’t provide but are key to a child about to age out or “launch” into adulthood.

All you need to look for when considering a donation to Treehouse is success, and for Doug Adamson, this is the epitome of success.

“Their knowledge and their expertise and their desire to help this child was fantastic,” he said. “Thanks in part to them, this kid was the first in four generations to graduate from high school.”

That’s what Treehouse and loving foster parents can do, but only with your help.

Listen to KIRO Newsradio on 97.3 FM. Stream it live here.

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