In June 2021, KPMG's Federal Audit Business Unit Partner-in-Charge Andrew Lewis shared his family's experiences with foster care, and introduced us to “Marie,” one of several children they had welcomed into their home since 2018. As Andrew explains, he and his wife, Kirsten, had become foster parents “to serve as a temporary resource for children in need.” But life had other plans for their family, which includes their biological children, Sam and Nicole.
On November 30th – the last day of National Adoption Month – Marie—whose real name is Brooklyn—officially became Brooklyn Lewis, their adopted daughter. “We didn’t expect to add to our family permanently, but we’re so proud to be her ‘forever family,’” said Andrew.
An ardent advocate for foster care and adoption, Andrew is also the driving force behind KPMG’s Foster Care and Adoptive Parent Network, which he established in early 2021 as a way to help the firm’s foster and adoptive parents and their families to connect with and support each other.
Like Andrew, Will Jones, an Audit senior manager in KPMG’s Department of Professional Practice, is an adoptive parent with a passion for finding others to connect through adoption and foster care. “Not only have I received guidance and support for navigating through unique difficulties as part of the adoption process, but I’ve also had the opportunity to give guidance and support to others seeking to adopt," said Will.
Will and his wife, Abby, had talked about adoption early on in their relationship, before they were married. But like most young couples, they thought they’d start their family through pregnancy. “After a few unsuccessful years, it dawned on us that we had always planned on adopting, so why not start our family that way?” They had been married about four years when a family friend told them about an adoption agency, and they were on their way.
They took custody of their first adopted child, Matthew, when he was two days old. “Abby and I fell in love with parenthood and quickly started the process to adopt another child,” Will recalls. But before they were able to adopt again, their biological son, Thomas, was born. They resumed the adoption process when Thomas was just nine months old, and after a few months were chosen to adopt their daughter, Katie. “Our family was complete, or so we thought,” says Will. “About a year and a half later, we were told that Katie’s birth mom was expecting another baby, and we were placed with Emily a few months later.” Today, Matthew is 9, Thomas is 8, Katie is 6 and Emily is 5.
Giving—and receiving—a precious gift
Those who are considering foster care or adoption as a way to start or expand their family must be ready to “put the child’s needs ahead of your own,” advises Andrew. “You may experience pain or loss, such as when a child is in your home for several months but is then reunited with their birth family. But providing consistency, structure, love and emotional support to the child are the most important things you can give them during their period of need.” And patience is essential to the process, he adds. “Don’t expect a quick outcome. The process can take a long time, but that ensures that everything that’s needed to protect the child and provide for their safety is appropriately considered.”
Will echoes that advice. “There are risks and challenges associated with adopting, but all of it better prepares you for the challenges you’ll face as a parent. My wife and I faced heartbreak during the adoption process. I won’t sugarcoat the pain we felt during those times, but we had to trust that those were just roadblocks leading us to our children.” He’s grateful for the support he received from the firm, and especially Risk Management Partner Steve Hicks and Audit Partner Nick Brown, as well as family, friends and colleagues as he and his family continued to move forward.
Andrew and Will agree that the impact that fostering and adoption has had on their families is immeasurable. “It’s a win/win for the adoptive parents, the birth parents and the child,” says Will. “Adoption has meant the world to me, and I’m so blessed to have been able to grow my family this way.”
If you’re a foster or adoptive parent, or are considering or interested in becoming one, reach out to KPMG’s Foster Care and Adoptive Parent Network.
Did you know?
For the 16th consecutive year, KPMG has been recognized as one of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces in the U.S. The annual ranking highlights organizations with robust adoption- and foster-care-related benefits, including the amount of financial assistance and paid leave offered to families who adopt. At KPMG, these benefits include reimbursement of up to $35,000 of eligible adoption/surrogacy-related expenses and up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.