ASCI Presents: A Lived Experience Story ft. Bethany Kades

Each month, A Second Chance, Inc. shares the voices of our kinship families through Q&A-style discussions. We are an agency that strives to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment to children in the care of relatives or close family friends—formally called kinship care. Our goal is to truly understand our kinship families by listening to the irreplaceable insights that the lived experience of caregivers, birth parents, and children can offer to make the narrative authentic and programming more meaningful. This month we had the pleasure of speaking with transracial and international adoptee, Bethany Kades, Administrative Assistant at ASCI.

Bethany Kades: My journey has been an evolving journey being an adoptee, transracially and internationally. I was adopted from the Philippines at the age of 5, along with my sister. We came to Connecticut in 1988. I guess you could say I just was going along with the flow of things in life. I don’t have much recollection of when, what, and how it all happened and went down in the Philippines. But I grew up with a loving family. My adoptive mom is Irish, and my adoptive dad was of European descent. We had a loving family in a small town in the southern part of Connecticut. It was predominantly Caucasian with a small number of Filipinos. So, it was basically just myself, my sister, and a classmate. I had a good upbringing with great parents. They got us involved with a lot of activities. It wasn’t until maybe 10 years ago, that I started questioning, wondering about my biological family. Being an adoptee, for me at least, is always an evolving journey. So, I always wondered. I always felt different in a way growing up in a small town in Connecticut, but didn’t really understand why until I was older, like college-age. That’s where I stood in the sociological aspect and wanted to learn more. Within my journey, I have connected with the Filipino communities in our New England region. Whether through group gatherings, festivals and creating new friendships with other Filipinos and Filipinas, I have been able to understand the resilience, beauty, and friendliness of my roots within the Philippines.

BK: I always believe that children should stay within their biological structure, with their families if possible, if it’s a safe home. As they say, “it takes a village to raise a family.” So, I believe it always starts with helping the families that need assistance with their children. If we focus on the family that needs food for their children, or clothing, or anything necessary to raise their child, there shouldn’t be a focus on taking the children away from their families. There should be a focus of strengthening the family in a way that they can access resources, so that the children can stay with them. I always believed because of my experience, even though it was a good upbringing, that there was still trauma behind my separation from my biological family. I feel like my family in the Philippines could have used help rather than us being taken away. I always stand on a strong belief that we should start with helping families and their children rather than putting a child with strangers right off the bat.

When I found ASCI, I wanted to go into a field that was more aligned with my beliefs. I just felt that this agency was the right fit. So, because my culture was taken away, I strongly believe in keeping ties with the biological roots and culture with children. I didn’t get to grow up in the culture like I would have, or I should have. ASCI is aligned very strongly with my beliefs in keeping a child in their culture, with their biological family. Whoever can keep a child and help them in knowing their ancestry is what I am geared toward.

BK: In order for people to understand who they are and where they stand in their lives, their journey, and what they believe in, it all starts with the home. I’m a very strong believer of that as I’m married with two children. As I raised them, I always heard that it starts with the home. I truly believe that. As I grow into my own identity and look at my own children, I realize how important it is for them to know their heritage, to know where they come from because my children are Latino and Filipino. It’s amazing how enriching it can be to know your own bloodline in that way. So, kinship is a very important method in how to keep a child in their home or in a safe environment. A child will grow and evolve better when they know where they come from and when they know what their culture is within their families that they are connected to through blood. So, I think kinship is very important. And unfortunately, if it doesn’t work out, at least if kinship is tried first, there’s always a way to help families and their children. I think it’s something that should be encouraged more rather than mainstream adoption or putting them with strangers. Even though they may be well loving people, it does not erase the fact that they will crave their biological family in the end. Eventually those children are going to question the biological culture that they have with the family that they were taken away from. There’s always going to be moments when they’re going to wonder more about their identity if they’re more aware of themselves. So, kinship is very important. I strongly believe in keeping that at the forefront of raising a child and helping children to be with families, and within their family structure that they were born into.

BK: Never doubt yourself on who you are and what you are meant to do. Never doubt your abilities and your strength. There will be adversities throughout life and within your journey. But as long as you believe in yourself and keep educating yourself in your birth culture and reach out to people that are there for you and believe in you, you will be okay. Those are the ones that you can find strength from, that can help you grow. Nothing is impossible. It’s always possible to do what your inner voice tells you. Just believe in yourself. You belong. You are loved. You belong where you are. You are loved no matter what anyone says and no matter how you feel about yourself. If you feel down about yourself and if you feel lost in your identity, never doubt that there’s always you. There’s a strength in you that you may not know you have right now, it’s there. Believe in yourself

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

One thought on “ASCI Presents: A Lived Experience Story ft. Bethany Kades

  • We are very blessed to have Bethany on our team in NH. She always goes above and beyond. It’s a win- win for ASCI and NH families!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *