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Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015

Finally a family

imageVivian Alicea and her fiancée Eric Glimmann were foster parents while simultaneously running their home daycare center in Suffolk County, Long Island for ten years before later adopting their two daughters.  Their home was always filled with children, laughing, napping, playing– but they had wanted to raise children of their own for a long time.

The Glimmanns' adoption story began with the switch to Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth to pursue foster parenting after leaving another agency.

A common ground

With guidance from social workers at Berkshire, they welcomed a teenage girl into their home. The foster parents were supportive of their newest family member, who was coping with adjusting to her new environment. The next year and a half was not without its difficulties, but Berkshire was available whenever they needed help.

 “When we had bad moments, we called Berkshire and they were here in a heartbeat,” said Alicea. “They weren’t looking to just put her in a different home–they found solutions. They found a common ground where we could grow.”

Nearby, two little girls were being placed in a group home after living with four different foster families, until a forever home could be found for them. They stayed for nine months in the group home, much longer than the average three month stay. The girls watched other children come and go, while they were left behind. image

Alicea and Glimmann had hoped through years of foster parenting that they would someday be able to adopt their own children. Two years later, they were meeting with Nassau Department of Social Services, as it was decided if they would become the adoptive parents of two sisters currently living in a group home nearby.

When someone mentioned the names, “Jasmine and Jocelyn,” it was their first glimpse of the children who would soon become the biggest part of their lives.

“I almost cried–my nieces’ names are Jasmine and Jocelyn,” said Alicea. “I thought, there’s no way I’m walking out of this room without them becoming my children.”

“It’s routine, and it’s perfect.”

The Glimmanns fostered the girls for two years before their adoption was finalized, as they were still adjusting to their new family and surroundings. The Glimmanns watched their daughters’ personalities take shape while they  waited for the day when they would officially become a family.

“They didn’t have that confidence, that sense of security that they have now,” said Alicea. “Now they’re so confident and strong in who they are. This isn’t something you saw two years ago.”

imageThe Glimmanns officially adopted their daughters on Monday, November 23, 2015, National Adoption Day. “We have family flying in from Texas, Manhattan, and Florida to support us and welcome the girls to the family,” said Alicea.

The girls are still learning the extent of their new, big family, and experience each day of their childhood in the way they deserve. “It’s regular life, it’s routine, and it’s perfect,” said Alicea. “It’s like it was just meant to be. Berkshire put our family together, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.” 

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