Mary Murphy adopted her daughter Katie through CHS after serving as her foster mom for 15 months. Her interest in fostering piqued during her time evaluating grant proposals from nonprofits at the Leon Levine Foundation. One of the grant proposals they received was from CHS, and as Mary learned more about what kids in foster care experience and the requirements to foster, she was intrigued.
Mary had just a few days to prepare for her foster daughter’s arrival and had limited information about her before meeting her. Mary knew her age. Mary knew she had lots of energy. Mary knew that she went by her middle name. Armed with these facts and a few more personal details about her birth family, Mary and Katie were together.
As the two were working to develop trust and a real connection, they also knew that there was a chance Katie could end up leaving Mary’s home in order to be reunited with her birth family, which is always the state’s goal for children in foster care. This didn’t end up happening in Katie’s particular case, and eventually her case plan shifted, and she became eligible for adoption.
When this happened, Mary didn’t hesitate to work to make their mother-daughter relationship permanent. It’s a choice Mary explains was a no-brainer. “The reality is that Katie is my daughter, and she’s been my daughter from very early on. I’m not going to give up my daughter.”
Though she loves getting to watch Katie grow, learn, and develop confidence through typical kid stuff like bike riding and swimming, Mary admits her uncommon life situation can feel isolating at times.
Other friends are just getting married, and Katie’s friend’s moms are significantly older than Mary is.
But ultimately she says, “This wasn’t the plan, but it’s better than what the plan was. It’s been the best thing ever. It’s been the hardest thing, no doubt. But it’s almost surreal. I love her so much more than I ever knew I could love someone.”