Remarkable Family Shares Foster Adoption Journey

Meet Keikilani Jackson and her family of eight.

Denalee Chapman June 28, 2016

Keikilani Jackson and her family are remarkable. Not just in that they are a blended family of biological and adopted children, but also that they have been able to:

  1. Identify where they fit in the foster adoption world.
  2. Determine how and where they can best help.
  3. Know their capabilities and limits.
  4. Act on what they know.
  5. Support others in doing the same.

In her blog, All My Good Things, Keikilani shares what she’s learned, offers tips, suggestions and even recipes, and advocates for foster parenting and adoption. This is done in an honest, down-to-earth way that is easy to understand and feels welcoming.

A Mission of Love
1. A Mission of Love

Keikilani fell in love with children when she was a teenager. “I found their love of life invigorating and joyous,” she says. When she and her husband worked at a mission church, their love for children grew, as did their compassion. They lived in a neighborhood where many children were on the streets until well after dark, not wanting to go home to no food and parents who were hungover. They began to act as unofficial foster parents: Providing food and clothes, buying school supplies and more.

Surprisingly Affordable
2. Surprisingly Affordable

The Jacksons hoped that someday they would adopt. But for so long it was just a hope. They knew adoption was costly, and just hoped that they could eventually work it out. It came as a complete surprise when Keikilani’s friend shared her adoption through foster care experience and she learned how very affordable it is. “I had no idea that getting a foster care license and adopting from foster care would cost so little! Within one month of that conversation, we were at an orientation for foster care and adoption. It was thrilling to find out that unlike overseas adoption, we could help the kids in my very own city and I wouldn't have to take out a loan to do it! My friend also told me that her caseworker was basically begging for new foster families. Especially families willing to take in sibling groups.”

3. Choices

When beginning the foster care experience, for some it is hard to know who and how you can best help. Keikilani’s experience is a good model for all: “We talked extensively before our license was open about the children we felt we would be able to help and bring into our family. Realistically, we are not equipped for certain situations. Some of these children have had major trauma and some have severe medical needs, they need a good home, and they need us to be honest about our family’s limitations. I actually said no to the first 3 calls we received asking for us to take children. One call we received was for another set of twins. They had suffered much trauma. And we knew that our home would not be the healing environment they would need. So even though my heart broke for them, I said no. It is hard to make a decision on these calls within sometimes 15 minutes about hearing the situation. It is so important to know ahead of time what you should say no to. And stick with those decisions no matter how much your heart breaks.”

Choosing to Adopt
4. Choosing to Adopt

When the call came, asking the Jacksons if they could care for a set of newborn twin girls, they knew it would be a good fit. They picked up the babies from the NICU and began their official foster parent experience. When parental rights were terminated, they began the process of adopting the girls AND their older sibling, who had been in foster care for two years.

Family of Eight
5. Family of Eight

Now, a family of eight – three biological children and three adopted children, the Jackson household is fun and crazy and loving. “Right now we are in our final stages of adoption. Our children are thriving in a consistent home environment! We love being a large crazy family. It is a lot of work, but so much fun. My children will never have a lack of playmate options. We spend as much time as possible playing outside and letting the kids explore the world. Our family is full and complete. But we are not done advocating for the children in the foster care system.”

6. Advocating

Part of advocating includes sharing their personal stories. “Our situation is not the normal story of foster care. I have learned that there is no "normal" storyline you can predict or follow when working through the foster care system. Even the experienced social workers' predictions are often inaccurate, because every situation and family is different. That is probably the hardest thing to wrap your head around. There is no deadline or date that cannot be changed, moved, or ignored. We had originally planned on doing straight adoption, but our area was desperate for families. After four calls from our agency asking for our help in taking children in foster care we knew we couldn't say no any more to fostering first. It was a risk to love children who may be going home in a few weeks or several months. But these babies needed us to take that risk.”

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at

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