Brother and sister Morris and Mina have been part of CaSandra’s home since July 2015 when she welcomed them as foster children. Just over a year later, their adoption was finalized, and the two joined CaSandra’s big family.
A long-time foster parent, CaSandra had originally intended to foster only girls and the rooms in her home, decked out in pink and purple, were a testament to that wish. Mina opened up to her then-foster mother: “I wish you could adopt both my brother and me, but you only take girls.” Shortly after, another of CaSandra’s foster daughters turned 18 and left care, opening a bedroom for Morris and clearing a path for the brother and sister not only to be reunited, but to become part of a new forever family.
In the time since, both Morris and Mina have become invested in DePaul post-adoption support groups, often reminding their new mother when the next meeting is coming up. Quiet and laid back by nature, the siblings are now opening up and engaging with other children, becoming more extroverted as they see strong reminders that although their situation is unique, they are not alone: families come in all shapes and sizes. CaSandra has always worked to build strong relationships with her foster and adoptive childrens’ biological families whenever possible. When working with families trying to reunite with their children, she has helped by teaching them to communicate with one another.
Morris and Mina spent their first Christmas with CaSandra’s family in Virginia. After meeting her new grandchildren, CaSandra’s mother asked her daughter how many children she wanted. To that, CaSandra said: “As many as God thinks I can handle, and Mom, I’m going to adopt all of them.”
When their adoption was finalized in September 2016, both Mina and Morris took Williams as another name, but not their only one. “I don’t want to take away from any of their heritage or from their name. We want to help add to them, not divide them,” CaSandra explains.
It’s that same spirit that has driven CaSandra to open her home and heart to so many children and so many other families who haven’t lost a home, but have instead gained another. Throughout the years, every child she’s ever offered love and belonging to knows that there’s always a home to go back to.
*This is a rewrite of a story that originally appeared in the December 2016 Expressions.