We are Jen and Heather Keisler Fornes and we are so excited to begin this journey. Because we are looking for the perfect fit for our family, we are open to up to two children of any ethnicity, race, or gender. Ideally we are looking for a child who is developmentally on track, or with mild to moderate delays. While we are tentatively looking at children under 10, if we found the right kid, we would be open to an older child as well.
If we find ourselves with a child from another ethnicity/race, we will identify resources and community groups to help us honor the child's background, as we believe those connections are critical.
We are hoping that contact with the biological family is possible and believe that openness is ideal if it is safe for the child/children. We would be open to any contact that case workers, CASA's, etc. think will be appropriate.
Both of us work as Operations Managers. Jen is with a local regional government overseeing parks and Heather is with a roller derby league. Both employers are flexible with schedules and are excited to meet the kid(s) that join the family!
Heather takes aerial/circus classes, knits, bakes, and is trying to teach herself embroidery with mixed success. She also enjoys hiking, reading, shopping, and pretending to be good at arts and crafts.
Jen loves to cook, roast coffee, go hiking, play video games, and watch cartoons.
Both of us love to hang out with our pets (Carl the labrador, Serendipity, Smudge, and Mia the cats, Duck, Duck and Goose the ducks, and FuFu the bunny). We also love to travel locally and outside the country. Our next big trip (hopefully with our new addition!) will be to Peru to climb Machu Picchu! We also love to host family and friends for casual evenings of food, crafts, movies, and games as well as for big holidays. We LOVE to decorate for Halloween and Christmas, especially. When we're not doing that, we like to go to the zoo, plays, dance performances, circus shows and more! We love to experience new things and go new places.
In addition to all of that, we volunteer every week collecting produce for the local senior center and we're excited to share that community building with a new family member.
Home and Community
We live in a 2100sqft ranch home built in the 1950's. It has 4 bedrooms, two baths, and a great open floor plan ideal for hosting friends and family. The house has a huge front yard that is great for yard games as well as growing vegetables.
Most of our neighbors are fantastic retirees and families with younger kids. Our cul de sac butts up to the local elementary school and we're not far from the middle school or high school. Our elementary school was awarded the most diverse school in Portland and we have heard nothing but good things about the teachers there.
Outside of our residential community, we have a large network of friends and family excited to offer love, support, and babysitting! Many of our friends have experienced adopting, being adopted, or working in fields supporting adoptive families, which has been a really fun thing to learn as we have gone through this journey.
Heather is lucky enough to work from home, and when she can't, most of her meetings are kid friendly. In the event they weren't appropriate (or were just too boring), Jen works about 10 minutes from home and has a flexible schedule and supportive employer. Barring either of our availability for some reason, we plan on having friends assist with child care.
Near our house, we have multiple parks, community centers with pools and gyms, and we're pretty close to the Columbia Gorge (great hiking and beautiful scenery) and the Oregon coast as well as all of the amazing activities, food, and culture of Portland itself.
We are both really loyal - once we commit to someone or something, we are all in, no matter what. Since we've been together since 2007, we are confident in our relationship and ready to add in the next family member.
Jen has had more experience with kids, as she had a little brother who was 10 years her junior and was a nanny for 3 children for a while. She also volunteered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She has a natural way with kids who tend to like her immediately and typically want to listen to her.
Heather has less experience with kids, but has done a variety of babysitting jobs from her teens onward and currently oversees roller derby summer camps with 60+ kids ranging fro 7-12 years old and loves it. She especially loves the kids who are sassy and opinionated!
We have attended the foundations training for adopting from foster care and we really loved it. We felt it had great information and a ton of follow up resources. Since we attended that, we've also read a variety of books including "Whole Minded Child," "No Drama Discipline," "In On It," "Connected Child," "Parenting Without Power Struggles," "Parenting from the Inside Out, "Hospitious Adoption," and are working on books around trauma informed care.
Our support team is critical to us. They range from close friends who are our "ride or die" people we've known for forever to our fantastic case worker who we've only known for a while, but know she's a great resource! We are also lucky to have a number of friends with adoption stories - either having been adopted or who have raised children from adoption. There are also a couple of our friends with biological children who are excited to offer help and friends with no children who are excited to be engaged aunts and uncles.
Throughout this journey our team has been involved as we made decisions, offering feedback, places to vent about how long the process is, and the gift of being excited about our forward progress even as we got discouraged.
Beyond our friends and family, we're lucky to be in a city with so many community resources for every possible group, sub group, and activity. We are confident that we can always find resources as needed.
Motivation to Adopt
One of the characteristics that we share is commitment. We take our time in making commitment decisions and once they are made, they are forever. Particularly when it relates to a child - or any other living being - we believe that once you say "yes," you don't go back.
We fully understand that every child coming from foster care will have challenges to overcome and that parenting, no matter what the origins, is hard. We also fully believe that it will be worth it when at the other end of the journey there is a person who is a benefit to their community.