IDAHO FALLS, Id - Tristen began his Wednesday's Child adventure at Spencer Riding Stables with an introduction to a one-week old filly named Elana. Elana's mother died just after Elana was born. Another mare with an older foal took over Elana's care and feeding. As we watched, the mare approached her adopted filly. She invited the baby to nurse, even as her other foal lay contentedly napping. It was a tender moment that was not lost on Tristen. He has had many caregivers over the years, but not the close, nurturing relationship he needs from a parent. Tristen is ready for a mom and a dad who will stand by him as a valued member of their family. This is the message he asked us to give to potential families:
"Hi, I'm Tristen. Some of the things I'd like adoptive families to know about me are the things I'm interested in--being outside and camping, hunting and fishing. I love cooking, too. I would like to get involved in culinary arts and be a chef. My nana and my mom taught me how to cook and I've loved it ever since. I like to help with barbequing especially.
I'm learning independent living skills and that's something I enjoy. I look forward to being on my own someday, but right now I need a family--a mom and a dad who will be there to support me and who enjoy doing things together. It's been hard being without a family and having so many changes all the time. An adoptive family would be more structured and would be there with me more often. I look forward to things being more normal; wearing the clothes I choose and having all my things in my room. I look forward to being outside more and being able to hang out with friends.
I get my sense of humor from my nana. We don't just tell jokes. Not like ones that we practice or anything. We hear something and then just say something funny about it. Like one-liners or come-backs. I would like a family that laughs at my jokes and could try to tell me jokes when I'm down.
I really like animals and I like to help with them. I would love to live in a family that has animals.
My favorite books are fantasy books; I like any kind of fantasy. I'll find one that sounds good and read it until I'm done.
When I hear teenagers sometime complain about their parents and what they won't let them do, it annoys me. At least they have parents and they get to be with them all the time. I really want a family that is caring and patient--ones that don't get annoyed easily. There are certain times I want to be alone and other times when I really need to hang out with my family. When I mess up, I need them to be patient with me--give me some time alone to think about it and then come back together to talk about it."
Tristen's caseworker says she has known Tristen for about a year. She finds him caring and personable with a great sense of humor. For example, Tristen saw a bug hit the windshield of her car and said, "That took guts!"
His caseworker describes the following needs she hopes to fill when a family is selected for him:
People who will support him as he addresses loss issues. He's been in foster care for three years. He's had many caregivers come and go and he hasn't been able to live with his birth family. That's his most compelling need; to make sense of that loss and move forward.
Folks who are realistic about the developmental stage of separation that occurs in the teen years and will be able to help Tristen prepare gradually for independence.
A family that has structure -- very clear rules and boundaries, is loving and accepting and handles stress with patience and humor.
A family that understands how identity in a teenager's development is influenced by adults and peers. If he has parents who support continued contact with extended family and siblings, he will be able to rely on the continuity of relationships.
Tristen is "a very normal, good kid." He wants to live in the Idaho Falls area, ideally, near the grandmother who raised him. He is also OK with having a family that will help him stay connected through visits and frequent types of communication. Tristen has a lot of loyalty and love for his family. Won't you invite him to be nourished heart and soul as your adopted son?
Tristen's adoption team will consider placing him as a legal risk foster child in a licensed southern Idaho family. Tristen's birth family is supportive of the legal process that would allow him to be permanently adopted. A completed Idaho home study and current foster care license would be most desirable, although all options will be considered for the closest matching family.
To find out more about Tristen, email the Idaho CareLine or call 1-800-926-2588. In Idaho you can dial 2-1-1. You may be asked to provide this reference number: 30492.