Falling in love in their mid-thirties was the first of many dreams come true for Frances and Bill. With robust careers as social scientists, realizing the dream of family meant creating a different path. From the time they met, Frances and Bill agreed that they would build a family through adoption. As planners, in 2015, the couple found just the right family home with a school system they believed would provide their future children with the best possible education and options.
Frances and Bill did their homework. They sought out Paths for Families for the blanket of support resources we offer families. By 2018, the Burden-Pate family was prepared to grow.
Adopting from foster care meant that the couple would be matched with children who desired parents like them. They had a vision of who would thrive in their home, but knew they had a lot to learn and that their children would come from a rich past that would need to be embraced for their overall well-being. They were open to all that their future children had to offer and knew that the adjustment could be steep. These thoughts were affirmed through Paths for Families’ 30-hour training for parents adopting from foster care as well as hearing firsthand from others at the Parent Support Group in which they were connected to other prospective and current parents.
After completing their home study, each weekend they poured over information about children needing parents. Through the Parent Support Group, Frances and Bill were told that they would know their family at first sight, but they didn’t believe it could be that simple. As social scientists, they were skeptical. Yet when Frances and Bill saw a listing of three siblings, they knew they had found their family. Something about the description of the kids and the fact that there were three of them spoke to their heart.
Frances and Bill immediately reached out to their Paths for Families social worker who sent the home study to the worker responsible for finding parents for this sibling group. It was then that they learned about a fourth sibling who was sixteen and had actually taken himself out of consideration for adoption because he was worried that nobody would want to adopt four siblings—especially with an older teen. Frances and Bill immediately applied to adopt all four kids and were selected within twenty-four hours to meet them and learn more. Clearly, all went well and they even adopted the family dog, Rubble, from the foster parents when they learned of their kids’ strong bond with the dog.
As the family has grown together, the children have been encouraged to explore their personal paths as they build their future alongside their parents. This is so important for children who have spent time in foster care, where youth often have no say in their lives. Now, these four teens are discovering their unique and diverse interests— aviation, automotive technology, art and tattooing, music, STEM, and any other calling they develop.
Since coming together as a family, the Burden-Pate-Bickels have come such a long way. Bill and Frances have taken to heart the notion of supporting the past, present, and future of their children. At every stage, they have had the robust services of Paths for Families. This family is like so many others we serve: dedicated to building strong futures and growing together. It’s an honor to work with families like the Burden-Pate-Bickels and provide support to every child, every family, every step of the way.