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Tomball couple highlight need for foster, adoptive families

November 23, 2018

Jennifer Perez always wanted to be a mom.

While she and her husband Mace tried to start their own family, they decided open their home to children in need and become foster parents.

“I love children and I get attached to children right away,” she said.

For them, the plan was to first have their own child and then adopt another child.

Jennifer said that while she gets attached to the children who come through her door, the pain of saying goodbye to many of them as they return to their families, or are adopted by new parents means that they are doing the right thing in caring for them.

Mace said that while he’s less of a kid person, when he and Jennifer hear the names of the children who are in need of foster care, they find it hard to turn them down.

“For us, there’d be more pain in saying no than in saying yes,” he said.

After undergoing training with Buckner Foster Care and Adoption, the Tomball couple received a call to foster a young boy whose little brother was ill and receiving treatment in the hospital.

Jennifer said she wasn’t sure about taking in both boys as she shopped for supplies for a toddler. She also had to consider sleep schedules, meals and playtime for them.

Ultimately, she and Mace decided to take them both in.

“It was a big learning curve,” she said.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, more than 17,000 children were in foster care state-wide in October.

Bucker is one private agency that partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to connect children to foster or adoptive families.

Since 1995, National Adoption Month in November has sought to raise awareness of children in foster care needing permanent homes with families.

“The need is so great. Whether you’re going through the foster care system or domestic infant adoption or international adoption, there are so many children out there who are in need of a safe, loving home,” said Mace.

Since becoming a foster home, the Perez family have taken in about dozen children before three-year-old Bernard entered their home in July 2016 with the possibility of being adopted.

While Jennifer and Mace originally wanted to have their own child first, they knew they wanted him to be a part of the family.

“It was a no-brainer when we got the call to foster Bernard,” Jennifer said.

After caring for him for seven months, Bernard officially became a Perez in February 2017.

Now at five years old, Bernard is an energetic kindergartner who greets everyone at school with a hello and a high-five.

“He was always a people person. Over the last year, he’s become this larger-than-life personality,” Jennifer said.

Since becoming part of the family, Bernard has also become a big brother after Jennifer gave birth to his new sister, Haven in September.

“He’s a great big brother,” Jennifer said.

For more information on National Adoption Month, visit www.childwelfare.gov.

mayra.cruz@chron.com

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