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Arlington family inspired to adopt from foster care

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Charlett Talbot, a 9-year-old girl with a gentle smile, is in a wheelchair and cannot speak due to severe cerebral palsy, but her six siblings don’t seem to mind as the seven of them navigate precious space in the modest living room of their parents’ Arlington home.

“Hey Charlett, do you want to play Ring Around the Rosie?” asked Lydia Talbot, her sister.

During a break in the action, her older brother, who was providing musical accompaniment by plucking away on the piano, has another idea.

“Mom, can I pick up Charlett and spin her around like dad does?” Gordon Talbot asked.

Several rounds of hide-and-seek later, and after listening on headphones to her brother’s latest musical compositions, Charlett settled into a routine of being doted on by three siblings and her adoring mom, Mary Talbot.

“This is definitely God’s plan for us. She is the most delightful human being on the planet,” Mary said. 

Her daughter’s adoption paperwork was finalized with Arlington County April 30. The inspiration to adopt came from her husband, Eric, and was made possible by the Catholic Charities Waiting Child Adoption Program, which pairs families seeking to adopt with children in the foster care system.

“One agency that I called asked for $20,000 to work with them. I don’t even have $20,000 in available cash. Other agencies wouldn’t even pick up the phone,” Mary said.

After a Google search, she called Catholic Charities.

“They told me that we can find a way so that adopting won’t cost you an arm and a leg. That’s when I thought, ‘OK. Let’s do this,’” Mary said.

The Waiting Child Program is not the same as becoming a foster parent, said Meaghan Lane, diocesan Catholic Charities pregnancy and adoption support program manager.

“Our program is not a foster care program. Within our diocese, people may have reservations about getting involved with the foster care system, but one thing that is unique about this program is that families do not have to first become foster parents to adopt a child from foster care,” Lane said. “What is especially beautiful about the Talbot’s adoption story is that it all happened locally. Charlett is from their neighborhood and continues to visit with her birth family who live very close.”

Ellie Talbot, another one of Charlett’s sisters, remembers seeing Charlett at school.

“It was crazy to have seen her and to know her then and that now she is my sister,” Ellie said.

Catholic Charities licensed the family to adopt from Arlington County and provided home study, training, matching, placement and a pledge of ongoing support after the adoption was complete. 

“The Talbots — and all families who are called to adopt special needs children from foster care — will continue to have the access to services and financial support until the child reaches adulthood. Families who work with Catholic Charities share our view that adoption is a lifelong journey and thus, we are a lifetime resource and support to them,” Lane said.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019