Single Mother of One Adopted 6 Children From Foster Care
Kachtick-Anders, 52, has been a single mother to her son Wyatt whom she gave birth to. Her son Wyatt has Down syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD). She is now a mother to seven children after she adopted six children from foster care. Almost all the children were born with conditions which would be overwhelming for any parent. Despite all that, Kachtick-Anders made the decision to adopt them anyway.
Kachtick-Anders, said earlier this year:
“You are not too old, too poor, or too gay to adopt... To be fair, it’s not like I’m some kind of saint. I didn’t know they would have special needs at first, they were just kids. And then after a while, it seemed like it was just meant to be. And then when I birthed a child with special needs, it just seemed more like that.”
One of the kids is 24-year-old, Clarence, whom she adopted when he was 5. He has severe mental illness and lives on the streets of Texas. There is a 20-year-old, Atrayue, living in New York who has run ins with the law. Desi, 21, has been in 13 foster homes before coming to live with Kachtick-Anders. She has a 2-year-old son that she lives with in Texas.
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Archie is the fourth child. He is 15 and autistic. Savana who is 13 is the other kid who is set to join Nauset Regional High School this fall. Much as she hasn't really made a decision on what she wants to be when she grows up (her options are a teacher, a lawyer or an architect), she is certain that she wants a college education. She is the only “typically developed” child living with her, as Kachtick-Anders puts it - despite being exposed to drugs and alcohol in the womb. The last of her adopted children is Andres, 8, who is actually Desi, Clarence and Atrayue’s nephew - child to their oldest sister. She adopted him when he was 4.
Andres also has ADHD, but he is doing well as is. “Every parent deals with something,” she said. “My somethings are just different.” When Andres joined them, Kachtick-Anders read a lot about how best to connect with the child. She even cut his food and fed him from a bottle initially.
When she started fostering in Seattle, Kachtick-Anders thought that so long as she loved the children and took them to the park to play, all would be well. However, she soon got to understand the trauma the kids endure after being moved from one foster home to the next and the kind of neglect they felt. She also learned that the ADHD may have come from exposure to drugs and alcohol in the womb.
But even with these challenges, Kachtick-Anders understood that they were still kids and once she started adopting them, she wanted more. And even after having her own son Wyatt who had Down syndrome, she still had room in her heart and her home for Andres, and she added that her house may not be full yet.
“They are funny, smart and silly. It’s fun chaos. You have to use your brain just to go to the grocery store sometimes. Sometimes it’s just comical,” she adds.
Well, if you have that much love within you, why not?
In order to prevent attachment problems, Kachtick-Anders worked hard to establish a primary care bond with the 4-year-old, cutting his food, and feeding him from a bottle in the beginning. Kachtick-Anders said she read a lot about the best way to establish a connection. Although Andres has ADHD, he is other otherwise doing well, she said.
“Every parent deals with something,” she said. “My somethings are just different.”
When Kachtick-Anders started fostering in Seattle, “I thought if you love them and take them to the park to play they will be OK,” she said.
She soon learned the trauma children face after being bounced around from one caretaker to another, and being neglected by one or more of them. Fetal alcohol syndrome and drug exposures may have led to most of her children having ADHD. The mental health and behavior problems of her older children may have come from inherited disorders, low self-esteem, drug exposure in the womb, the trauma of their early upbringing or a combination.
But whatever happened to them, they are still kids. And once she started adopting, Kachtick-Anders found she wanted more.
Even when her own son was born with Down syndrome, she still “had room” for Andres, she said. And her house may not be too full yet, she added.
“They are funny, smart and silly,” Kachtick-Anders said of her children. “It’s fun chaos. You have to use your brain just to go to the grocery store sometimes. Sometimes it’s just comical.”
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