The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Foster children adopted into 'forever home'


November 27, 2019

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe TINA HOUGHTALING cuts a slice of cake for Colton Earle Houghtaling, 10, and Chase Joseph Houghtaling, 6, after the two boys' adoption was formalized in Gogebic County's district courtroom Tuesday.

BESSEMER - Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner will likely be extra special for a Caspian family after Gogebic County Judge Anna Talaska finalized the adoption of two brothers Tuesday afternoon - which happens to also be Adoption Day in Michigan.

Colton Earle Houghtaling, 10, and Chase Joseph Houghtaling, 6, sat in the Bessemer courtroom with their new mom, Tina Houghtaling, as the formal process was completed before the family and court staff enjoyed cake to celebrate them joining their "forever family."

"Adoptions are some of the happiest moments on the court calendar and Adoption Day, especially, is a time to celebrate with the new forever families of these great kids," Talaska told the Daily Globe. "It reminds us of the importance of those who work so tirelessly on behalf of children in foster care."

Although Houghtaling officially adopted the two half-siblings this week, she has fostered them for roughly two years.

"They've been freed for adoption for a little over a year now, so it's been a long journey," she told the Daily Globe Monday.

Houghtaling's no stranger to providing a loving family for kids who need one, having previously fostered over 40 children and adopting several - first when she lived in Upstate New York and then after she moved to the Upper Peninsula.

Still, even though she's been through the process before, she said she's glad the adoption is complete.

"People wait nine months to have a child - the two children I adopted in New York, it was five and a half years before they were adopted. It didn't seem like it was that long of a wait, but for these two, it seems like an eternity because these two have been so stressed out about it," Houghtaling said Tuesday. "This is, I think, more of a weight off my shoulders than the five-and-a-half year wait."

She said the two boys were equally excited about the momentous day.

"I mean this morning when they woke up, (they) woke up at 3 a.m.," she said. "They've called me mom for a long time, and now there's more meaning - it's final, they're not going to go back to where they were."

The adoption also simplifies life and makes it easier for the boys to live normal lives

"It's the simple things - like to have their picture taken for the paper or to be on Facebook, they can't do those things as foster children. And now they can," Houghtaling said, adding its easier to travel out of state, ride her boyfriend's four-wheeler and have pictures taken at school.

She said she started fostering kids in her early 20s as a way to have a large family.

She was initially looking to adopt, but foster care was suggested as an alternative.

"I feel it's a need, to help children. And you help families - most children do go back home," Houghtaling said, regarding foster care. "That's what foster care is, foster care is to get children to go back home - it's not for the adoption."

There is still a great need for foster families, with more than 107,000 children nationwide in the foster care, according to Gogebic court officials. Houghtaling said there is a long list of kids who aren't adopted and stay in the system - often because they are older or are part of a large sibling group when adoptive parents only want one child.

She warned anyone considering foster care there will be heartbreak, but that it's ultimately worth it.

"If you're serious about (fostering) and if you're going to cry when these kids are taken away from you - that's part of it," she said. "Fostering is to get the families back together, and that's exactly what you're there for."

She said the reward is the opportunity to show the kids a bit of love and show them what love is about and that there's another world out there for them.

"You just have to love every child," she said.


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