Elizabeth family honored for National Adoption Month

Duffy family fosters 35 children in 5 years

Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 11/11/21

November is National Adoption Month, a time to highlight adoption success stories and encourage adoption from foster care. To celebrate this month, the Christie and Maggie Duffy family of Elizabeth …

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Elizabeth family honored for National Adoption Month

Duffy family fosters 35 children in 5 years

Posted

November is National Adoption Month, a time to highlight adoption success stories and encourage adoption from foster care. To celebrate this month, the Christie and Maggie Duffy family of Elizabeth was honored in a virtual awards ceremony by the Colorado Department of Human Services for their dedication to working with Colorado's foster system.

One foster/adoptive family from each Colorado county was nominated for the annual award and five were honored as foster/adoptive families of the year, including Elbert County's Duffy family. The award thanks families for their hard work in fostering and adopting Colorado kids, and is also intended to promote fostering and retain foster parents throughout the state.

After becoming foster parents five years ago, Christie and Maggie decided to pursue adoption in order to keep sibling groups together. In addition to caring for more than 35 children and youths in foster care over the years, they have adopted eight children younger than age 7 and continue to care for young people in foster care.

In addition to having a house full of children, Christie and Maggie provide a home to five dogs — including a trained service dog — and many farm animals. Christie and Maggie say the presence of animals is therapeutic for the children.

Christie and Maggie Duffy moved to Elbert County in January 2016, deciding that the rural lifestyle would be best for their future family.

“All of the kids came with some sort of trauma, like homelessness or domestic violence,” said Christie Duffy. “The rural life is so therapeutic. We feel that it is so great and rewarding for the kids.”

Christie answered questions about her family's experience with fostering and adoption in a Nov. 8 interview with the Elbert County News:

What made you decide to be foster/adoptive parents?

We actually got married in April 2016. We had talked about possibly of having biological children but because of the move to Colorado, job transfer, and the recent loss of my dad, I was afraid.

We kind of looked at each other at the end of the day and decided that fostering and adopting was our best option. We figured we could start with fostering and get our feet wet before jumping into adopting. We could learn how to be parents without fear of “what if I'm not good at this”?

We had so much support from people to teach us how to do this whole thing. We fostered 20 to 25 foster kids during our first two years!

Why did you choose to adopt siblings?

We moved to Elbert County so we would have more space to foster siblings. We learned that sometimes the foster system would actually separate siblings. We had four siblings put with us.

We now have three sets of siblings now. Eight of them have been formally adopted. We have made it our duty to provide for them. If we get calls and they need our support with a placement, we will be there. Our thought is “see a need, fill a need.” We knew that if we fostered siblings and they could stay together, why not do that? We made it our purpose.

What are some of the highlights of fostering and adopting?

Our favorite highlight that we love is watching the kids overcome their adversity. We have a kiddo that we were told was never going to walk. Well, he's walking. We were told he was never going to talk. Well, he's talking.

All of our kids have special needs. They've either been exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero, have experienced domestic abuse, and generally have various traumas. We love when they finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Graduating from various therapies, be it occupational, verbal, emotional, etc. It is so exciting!

What are the challenges you've faced with fostering?

Our biggest challenge was when biological families found out that their kids were with an LGBTQ+ family. There are also a lot of people out here who don't have a lot of experience with LGBTQ+ families, especially with various services. It's hard to find support in a small, rural, conservative place.

What advice do you have for potential foster/adoptive parents?

I recommend finding a good support system. Find people that know what the system is like. Find an agency who will support you and fits your needs. If you are an LGBTQ+ couple, find a good fit for you. If you are looking to go from foster to adoption, or not, there are agencies for you.

Below are Colorado adoption and fostering statistics:

Adoption from foster care in Colorado

• Since January 2021, 551 Colorado children and youths in foster care have been adopted.

• Currently there are 436 Colorado children and youths who are waiting for a family/adoption.

• There are 3,878 children and youths in foster care or another type of out-of-home placement.

• Colorado has 2,559 certified foster and kinship (relatives, friends, neighbors, etc.) families.

To read the state's CO4Kids blog about the Duffy family and their foster and adoption experience, visit tinyurl.com/duffyfamily.

For an FAQ on Colorado adoption, visit tinyurl.com/adopt-foster-faq.

To follow the Duffy family on social media, you can find them on both Instagram and TikTok as TheDuffyDozen.

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