TESTIMONIALS, QUALIFICATIONS, & OUR STORY
“I have known Amanda for many years as a foster parent. Amanda was our favorite caseworker, she was knowledgeable about the system, cared deeply for the children in our home, and worked tirelessly to make sure the children received the services they needed. Amanda is great at communication and was always great about calling us back when we had an issue. As a foster parent this is crucial! Amanda always made us feel like we were her top priority. Her knowledge of the foster care system, the state regulations and how to navigate the many different departments is masterful and she is able to maneuver these with ease. I have nothing but confidence that Amanda will be professional, thorough, and caring in all her pursuits with Finding Forever Home Study.”
Foster Parent 11+ Years & Ministry Director
QUALIFICATIONS PURSUANT TO RCW 26.33.190/200
Amanda's personal and professional experiences have given her a unique and balanced perspective on child welfare and the positive and negative consequences of adoption.
Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitworth University in Sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice, and a Master’s in Social Work degree from Eastern Washington University. Amanda has been employed in social services capacities in private, public, and non-profit organizations and has over 15 years of experience working with children and their families. Amanda's experience working with families and children have included working with pregnant and parenting teens, single-parent families, adoptive parents, foster parents, child care centers, public schools, behavioral rehabilitation group homes, and crisis pregnancy clinics.
Amanda was previously employed as a Child Protection Services and Child and Family Welfare Services social worker for over 7 years. In that capacity she conducted hundreds of investigations, health and safety home visits, and comprehensive family assessments for the State of Washington.
Prior to Amanda's state employment she was granted a large graduate program scholarship and was selected to participate in the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program at Eastern Washington University which included a 1.5 year internship at DCYF (formerly DSHS).
Amanda has attended over 200 hours of training including, but not limited to, trainings related to: domestic violence, mental health, substance abuse, child development, suicidality, crisis intervention, motivational interviewing, household safety, sexual abuse, physical abuse, negligent treatment/maltreatment, safe sleep, period of purple crying, infant care, disproportionality, poverty, safety versus risk, interviews and collateral contacts, and cultural competency. Amanda also completed a 40-hour course certifying her to be a forensic interviewer. Amanda has over 5 years of experience conducting forensic interviews.
Amanda has testified effectively in numerous criminal and civil trials both in person and through declaration. Amanda has testified as an expert in child safety and child welfare in numerous family law and dependency cases to include findings of fact and trials related to the termination of parental rights.
OUR FINDING FOREVER STORY
(Amanda seated with her father and siblings)
Although unforeseen at the time, life experiences have also equipped Amanda to be an adoption social worker. Amanda's life experience equipped her with a personal understanding of the emotional impact the adoption process can have on all participants.
Growing up Amanda experienced the impact of separation from half-siblings when they went into foster care. She soon found joy again when she was able to reunify with them thanks to her single father who became a licensed foster parent so he could get placement of his ex-wife’s children (Amanda's biological half-siblings).
At the time of her siblings’ initial placement into foster care, ex-spouses were not considered relative or kinship caregivers. After a difficult battle for placement of Amanda’s half-siblings, her father reached out to state legislatures advocating to expand the legal definition of a relative caregiver and the law was eventually changed.
Amanda’s childhood offered her the rare ability to truly empathize with adopted children and understand the inevitable mixed feelings that surround adoption.
When Amanda was only a teenager, she testified and provided an opinion for the court during the trial to terminate the parent child relationship between her biological mother and half-siblings. From personal experience she understands that even in cases when the child has a negative or non-existent relationship with the birth parent; they are likely to have interpersonal struggles resulting from the adoption.
Amanda knows adopted children may struggle in areas such as identity recognition, fear of rejection, feelings of inadequacy, and they may experience prolonged feelings of grief and loss. This is true even if the child advocated for the adoption arrangement.
Despite the grief and loss associated with the termination process; Amanda and her siblings “found forever” through her father’s adoption of her siblings.
Later on in life, Amanda experienced the fear associated with an unplanned pregnancy and briefly contemplated placing her daughter up for adoption. Going through the emotional journey of contemplating adoption provided Amanda with some insight related to what birth mothers face when making the selfless decision to relinquish their parental rights and consent to adoption.
After a lot of prayer and careful consideration Amanda decided to embark on the adventure of being a single parent and started graduate school when her daughter was just 6-weeks old.
Although Amanda did not relinquish her rights to her daughter at birth, after nine years of her daughter’s life, Amanda did end up consenting to her daughter being adopted...by her step-father, Amanda's husband.
Leading up to the adoption day Amanda experienced the stress of the relinquishment and home study process, but it was all worth it in the end when the adoption day finally came.
With adoption so interwoven into Amanda's personal story, Amanda knew she had to act when she heard of the need for a private home study agency in her community. Out of a desire to make adoption more attainable for families and children like hers, Amanda started Finding Forever Home Studies LLC.
AMANDA WITH HER HUSBAND AND CHILDREN
(on daughter's adoption day)