Millie Holloman’s photos of the people involved in Vera Wren’s adoption went viral when she posted them to social media.
Perhaps it was because he never had a permanent foster family.
Or maybe it was because his sister was placed with a family whose
own children they both knew while he remained in the group
home. Whatever the reason, throughout the process he
couldn’t help but think, “What about me?”
Teenagers taken into care are notoriously
difficult to place with foster families
because they come with a lot of emo-tional
baggage peppered with the
normal growing pains of develop-ment
and hormones. Moore says
this is why teenagers often end up
in group homes.
Reunification within 12 months
is the department of social service’s
goal for children removed from their
birth families. Even though it took lon-ger
in Montgomery’s case, the outcome
Montgomery knew he wasn’t a perfect child.
But in hindsight he recognizes the important contri-butions
of all the foster parents, especially the male figures
who taught him many things he wasn’t getting at home, where he grew
up without knowing his father.
They helped set him on a course that ended with a college
degree. Montgomery recently graduated from the University of
North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in physical education.
He is headed to Kuwait to be a PE teacher at the boys’ campus of
an elementary school. He plans to stay there for a couple of years,
and then pursue a master’s degree in psychology.
“I learned different life lessons that have helped me today,” he says.
When family reunification isn’t possible, fostering is
about permanency, which can lead to adoption.
But Sarah Chamberlain, a former foster care
social worker in western North Carolina’s
Watauga County, says it can be a chal-lenge
to settle a child with one family.
“Behavioral issues may result in
a child having multiple foster par-ents,”
She also says this is why social
workers look for a relative before
seeking foster parents.
Mary Cato, the 32-year-old
owner of Chubby Cheeks Child Care
in Wilmington, was adopted at 2 months
old. She’s biracial and was the only child of
color adopted into an all-white family. She was
the result of an extra-marital affair and struggles
with the fact that her birth mom was 27 at the time, yet
gave her up for adoption.
She says her adoptive mom was very negative about her birth
family, which put a strain on their relationship. Throughout her
life, she felt being adopted was very isolating and says she became a
people pleaser who struggled with rejection.
“I just wanted to feel loved and wanted,” she says.
PHOTO BY JOY PROUTY
PHOTOS BY MILLIE HOLLOMAN PHOTOGRAPHY