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My Parenting Quest to Heal My Sons’ Emotional Wounds as a Single Adoptive Dad of Two
by Laterras R. Whitfield
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May 27, 2020

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My Parenting Quest to Heal My Sons’ Emotional Wounds as a Single Adoptive Dad of Two

Laterras Whitfield (Photo courtesy of Laterras Whitfield)
Laterras R. Whitfield (Photo courtesy of Tony Pettiford)

I wish you could’ve seen the curious stares I received as a single Black man in foster care licensing classes. I was an anomaly. Each session was full of white couples, an occasional minority few, but never a single Black man impassioned to deposit Godly love into the hearts of the black children in the system. 

That’s why I did it to do my best to change our Black boys.

My name is Laterras R. Whitfield, and I am a foster parent and adoptive dad of two. My unsuspected journey into becoming a foster and adoption advocate began with the removal of my nephew, LaDarrion, in 2015. My sister’s drug addiction was the catalyst that brought Child Protective Services (CPS) into our family’s affair. My nephew was seven years old and spent seven months in foster care. 

It was a Catch-22. I initially felt if I allowed CPS to place him in my home, it would enable my sister to take away any motivation for her to change. To create a “best of both worlds scenario,” I allowed temporary placement under the condition my sister and LaDarrion’s estranged father would accept me as their accountability partner. Only then, could we ensure LaDarrion’s reunification into either of their lives. They consented.

My sister’s drug addiction was the catalyst that brought CPS into our family’s affair. My nephew was seven years old and spent seven months in foster care. 

Laterras Whitfield and his sons, Armani and LaDarrion. (Photo courtesy of Tony Pettiford)
Laterras R. Whitfield and his sons, Armani and LaDarrion. (Photo courtesy of Tony Pettiford)

I remember going home full of joy, humility, and in sheer astonishment of God’s omniscience and omnipotence following my two-year journey culminated with my adoption of LaDarrion on National Adoption Day in 2017. My heart and mind came into complete alignment, and I said to myself, “I’d adopt again, but the kid would have to be sixteen.”

I’ve always heard, “be careful what you pray for,” but I never knew it applied to mere thoughts. Through a local news taping on WFAA of their weekly Wednesday’s Child episode, I was introduced to Armani Green. Wednesday’s Child is a segment that spotlights foster children who have been in care for an extended time. Parental rights have been terminated, and these children are awaiting a forever home but are considered the more challenging ones in the system. 

The CPS liaison connected Armani and I for the taping because we both shared an interest in the homeless. He wanted to feed the homeless for his spotlight, so it was a perfect match-up! During the taping, I looked at him, and at that moment, God spoke to my spirit, “That’s your son.”

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I was completely blown away. I didn’t have any intention of adopting another child until I remarried. The next day after taping, I immediately began renewing my foster care license. It’s an extensive process that I believe often discourages would-be foster and adoptive parents. However, I continued to pursue Armani’s adoption out of obedience to the Lord because Armani’s destiny was tied to it. He’s destined for greatness, and his purpose would manifest through my parental guidance. On July 8, 2019, he was placed in my home on his sixteenth birthday! 

My heart and mind came into complete alignment, and I said to myself, “I’d adopt again, but the kid would have to be sixteen.”

Laterras Whitfield and his son, Armani. (Photo courtesy of Tony Pettiford)
Laterras R. Whitfield and his son, Armani. (Photo courtesy of Tony Pettiford)

On November 23, 2019, I officially adopted Armani. The judge granted a waiver to shorten the standard waiting time requirements to permit a momentous National Adoption Day consummation. It was a full-circle experience covered by WFAA as a Wednesday’s Child update. I’m still very emotional thinking about how our union was perfectly aligned.  

Adoption is a reciprocal gift. Sure, Armani was blessed with a forever home, but I have a loving, affectionate king in the making, who has helped me grow in many areas. By being a #girldad, I never knew the experience of fathering a teen male. My daughter, LaTerria, is 24 years old, and she’s my heartbeat. I love that girl. She welcomed her new brothers with open arms.

Fathering young males with emotional trauma has been a cycle of ups and downs. I believe LaDarrion struggles to balance his relationship with his mom (my sister) and distinguish the difference between my previous role of the uncle and my current legal obligation of dad. He still calls me uncle and I’m cool with it. We attempted a hybrid moniker, “dunkle,” but that was short-lived. I’m happy to say, LaDarrion has transformed from being anti-social to the life of the party.

I have a loving, affectionate king in the making, who has helped me grow in many areas.

Armani was diagnosed with having bipolar disorder with an emphasis on depression. A loving environment has transformed him, and he’s been off medication since his official adoption. He’s thriving at his new school, has become an honor student, and fully immersed himself into becoming a YouTuber as he builds his gaming channel. 

The love of these boys has changed me forever. Because of my experience, I encourage you to open your heart and home to become involved in the lives of the precious souls in the foster care system. There are many ways to become engaged: court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer, respite care provider, foster care parent, and, ultimately, an adoptive parent. Your love can truly change the trajectory of a child’s life, and I am living proof of this. 

To learn more and stay connected with our journey, “That Adoptive Crew,” please subscribe to our YouTube Channel

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