Makayla Spears joined the ACH team more than a year ago as a foster care and adoption specialist. She’s originally from Omaha, Nebraska, where she worked in a child-placing agency for two-and-a-half years before relocating to Texas with her family in 2015.
Makayla first became drawn to the field of social work through her grandmother. “She has always been involved in foster care, whether it was kinship with some of our family or traditional foster care through placing agencies,” Makayla says. “She’s taken guardianship of multiple family members of mine and adopted another child into our family. I’m also a people person. I like helping people in any way possible, but most importantly advocating for children.”
Makayla says that one of the greatest joys in her life was having her own baby, who is one year old now. She knows how much her own son means to her, and she finds it awesome to be able to be a part of helping families experience the joy of adding a child to their lives.
Her favorite part of her job is adoption day. “That’s the icing on the cake for sure,” she says. “The gratification of knowing we did it. I’m just happy to be a part of their journey.”
Makayla knows there are difficult parts of the adoption journey as well. She says the time families spend waiting to get matched with a child after being licensed can be filled with doubt and uncertainty. But she is always there to reassure the families that the right child will be matched with them.
“I’m a firm believer that timing is everything,” she adds. “And when the right child or sibling group comes along, it’ll be perfect for your family.”
She also knows that there are several misconceptions about adoption. One of the top misconceptions she sees is the idea that if a family adopts a younger child, especially a baby, the child won’t have any behaviors or diagnoses whether medical or mental health. There are several factors that could lead to problems for children and babies: it could’ve been a difficult pregnancy or birth or an emergency C section, for example.
“I think the idea that an older kid might’ve experienced more than a younger child is definitely huge myth because it’s not true,” she explains. “There are lots of older kids who probably have had little to no trauma other than coming into care. You just never know what the circumstances are. I think if you’re in it for the right reasons—wanting to open your home to any child who would be legally free—try not to focus so much on the age and be open to receiving somebody into your home. Because our older kids are just as in need of a loving forever family as our younger babies are.”
“Overall, I think adoption is a great thing,” she says. “And any family that is considering it, whether it’s a single person, a couple, no matter what the circumstances are, or the dynamics of your family, if it’s truly on your heart to open up your home and make a difference in a child’s life, I think you should definitely consider it. There’s no perfect way to form a family, and I think adoption is a perfect example of that.”
Makayla’s Top Tips for Families Considering Adoption
Be patient. “It is a process for us. And though there are no instant results all the time, we are definitely on your side working on the back end to get you matched with your children.”
Be open-minded. “If you know what would be a good match for your family, that is great. But be open-minded if you can to behaviors that you never thought you could potentially parent, ages of children that you never thought you would consider. Because babies get older, too.”
Do your research. “Although there are plenty of things in the media about the negative parts of foster care and adoption, there’s so much positive stuff, too. So do your research, and make sure it’s something really right for your family.”
Be committed. “Talk within your family and make sure it’s something you’re 100 percent committed to doing because this is a forever thing. It’s not temporary; there’s no “I changed my mind.” Once you accept that child into your home, that is your baby. So make sure you’re 100 percent committed once you start the licensing process because that commitment is going to go a long way for you and for your child who you may adopt.”