Department of Family Services – Children, Youth and Families

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Oriane Eriksen

Adoption Snapshots - The Lawson Family

Lawson family collage graphic

Our family has grown through adoption! I know that is an obvious statement but when we first started fostering 10 years ago, I went into it thinking we were going to be there to love, nurture, and support children who were in abusive family situations. I knew we might have contact with their biological families, but initially my mind was focused more on the child coming into my home than their families. My thoughts on this have changed dramatically.

Now, when a child comes into our home, I am very anxious to meet the family, to reassure them that I will love and care for their child and that we are rooting for them. I realize that at one time many of these parents have been the scared, abused child that I am now caring for or someone whose life and choices have gotten them in a bad place. Regardless, I want the parents to know I am on their side. This change in mindset has enabled my family to develop wonderful relationships with parents, grandparents, and other family members of the kids who have been in our care. We are also able to continue to have a relationship with these adults and the kids we love so dearly once they return to their family.

We were recently presented with a chance to adopt a beautiful boy who has been with us since his birth. We adopted our son in August of 2020, and because his biological family is important to us as well, our family also gained his aunt and her family, as well as three other siblings who are with other family members. While a relationship with the parents is not really an option right now, we value the wonderful connections we have with these other family members.

Circumstances don’t always allow for the kids to stay connected to biological family, but when it can work out, it is a beautiful experience.  Knowing his family has made our life so much richer. While our son is only 18 months old now, we pray having this bond with some of his biological family will ground him, along with the love and knowledge that he is 100% a member of our family.

Connection and belonging are human needs. There are many children and youth in Virginia awaiting adoption. Learn more about Foster Care and Adoption. If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, send an email.

For media inquiries, contact Department of Family Services' Public Information Officer Amy Carlini by email, office phone 703-324-7758 or mobile phone 571-355-6672.

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