"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
Susan and Moe Stephens interviewed several adoption agencies, but something was missing. It was a certain philosophy about children and families that they were not getting from the places that they had visited. Their search ended when they came to Children's Bureau. Upon seeing an advertisement calling for adoptive parents, the couple attended an information meeting. Immediately, Susan and Moe felt comfortable and knew this was the adoption agency for them after meeting their social worker, Amy Heilman.
The couple agreed to adopt an older child and was introduced to Jamal on his 10th birthday. Jamal had been in foster care since birth and came to them with numerous issues and difficulties. The Stephens received plenty of support and resources from Children's Bureau and soon the family began to bond and trust each other.
Eight months later, the Stephens opened their home to another child. An 18-month-old girl named Clara. They affectionately call Clara their Valentine's baby because she came to them on February 13. The family grew again a month later when Susan and Moe agreed to take in Joseph, a 13-year-old boy, for one week of respite. Joseph had such a great time that he asked to be adopted by the Stephens. Since Joseph's foster mom was moving, they agreed to adopt him. A year later, Susan, who is a sixth grade teacher, befriended a little girl named Hong at school. When Hong came up for adoption, Susan immediately called Children's Bureau to start the adoption process.
Susan and Moe have officially adopted all four of the children. The family is also very comfortable in keeping communication open with the biological parents, if they so desire. Susan herself was adopted and said "a child can love two mommies it's easy."
Adoption has brought the Stephens family a new world of experience and friendships. In fact, they are still very close with the six couples that participated in adoption training with them. They continue to go to a Children's Bureau support group each month and attend special trainings offered by the agency. They have also become spokespeople for adoption and were featured on the television show, An Adoption Story.
Susan and Moe and family are currently fostering an 18-month toddler girl with the hope of adopting her in the near future!
If you are considering adoption, information meetings are held each month at several locations throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. For more information, please call toll free at (800) 730-3933 or visit Children's Bureau's Web site at www.all4kids.org.