Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Her adoption reward is sixfold

CLEARWATER — When Deborah Polston first considered adoption, she wasn't bargaining on her family doubling in size.

The Tallahassee woman and her husband, Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston, had discussed adopting one — maybe, two — children.

But as the mother of four teen girls spent hours gushing over online photos of children in need of forever homes, she couldn't help noticing the large number of older children and sibling groups.

"I realized a lot of these children were perfectly normal children and they were being passed over because of their numbers," she said.

Thus began the journey that has increasingly turned Polston, a child advocate and author, into an authority on adoption and human trafficking.

In 2003, the Polstons became the proud parents of three brothers ages 10, 3 and 2.

Then, each time the boys' biologi­cal mother gave birth again and couldn't take care of the infant, the Polstons adopted him, ultimately bringing home three more brothers and doubling the size of the family to 12.

Polston shared her story Thursday with about two dozen caseworkers during an adoption training session at Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater.

"It's the hardest thing my husband and I have ever done in our lives, but it's also the most rewarding," Polston said.

"There are enough people in this state with loving hearts that can take in a child to mentor or adopt. People can do this. ... There is a way if there's a will."

The training and Polston's public talk were sponsored by Eckerd Community Alternatives and the Heart Gallery of Pinellas-Pasco, which invited Polston to share her success story as motivation for the caseworkers and insight for prospective foster and adoptive parents.

Polston said she was a child when her interest in the dependency system was sparked by an aunt who took in foster children and eventually adopted two.

Polston is the author of the Eagle Child Series, adventure stories that teach children the character traits of a true leader. She most recently wrote Victor's Dream, the story of a 15-year-old foster boy's hopes for a forever home for himself and his siblings.

Talking about her own journey, Polston smiled as she described how "chaotic" life has become in a home with six boys.

"But I wouldn't have it any other way," she said. "I can't imagine life without any of these boys."

With the first three boys, she and her husband cleared every nook and cranny of their home for bedroom and play space. As more children came, the couple had to upgrade to a larger home.

The crowd laughed as Polston explained how she created memories with her sons when, in a bid to bring the beach to them, she mistakenly ordered several tons of sand, which was dumped into their back yard.

She also delved into some of the difficult times adoptive parents might face, citing as examples several of her adopted children's difficulties with bonding and her own brief hospitalization with a severe stress-induced migraine.

"I don't like to give the Hallmark story because that's what I got when I went into this," she said. "I give the Lifetime story. There's good and there's bad, but the good far outweighs the bad."

It's understandable, Polston said, that many potential adoptive parents want toddlers or infants, especially if they're first-time parents. However, there's a growing need for forever homes for older children and sibling groups, who are more difficult to place and tend to lose hope.

Her latest goal is to save the children who age out of foster care, who might otherwise fall victim to prostitution and drugs as they struggle to survive.

If they can't be adopted, "at the very least, we need to have mentors for those kids because they hit the streets," Polston said. "They don't know how to set up bank accounts, how to find a job, how to find a place to live. "Who is their family? Who do they go home to?"

Polston encouraged the caseworkers to take advantage of multiple state programs available to help them and new adoptive parents. But she said there's always the need for more.

"We can't ask people to adopt these children with special needs and then not be there to support them," Polston said. "Otherwise we have this problem of these parents who can't deal (with special-needs issues) and these children go back into the system."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

ATLANTA — While power has been restored to the world’s busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days. Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were gro...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Authorities searching for missing Homestead boy, 13

Authorities searching for missing Homestead boy, 13

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued for a 13-year-old Homestead boy.According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, John Noble-Sinclair was last seen Sunday in the area of 300 block of Southwest 4th Avenue.He is described as a white...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

WASHINGTON — LeBron James made a statement during an NBA game with his shoes — one black, one white, with the word "equality" in capital gold letters on the back of each.Then, after the game, James made a statement about President Donald Trump, sayin...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

Deputies seek suspects who fired shots into crowded Northdale nightclub

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the suspects who fired shots inside a crowded nightclub in Northdale early Monday morning.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, deputies patrolling the area heard shooting coming...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Morning fog leads to a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Morning fog leads to a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week in Tampa Bay

Thick fog will usher in a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast The fog is especially thick along the Interstate 4 corridor in eastern Hillsborough County into Polk County, with visibilities to near zero in Lakeland ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
VA rejects system private hospitals use to save millions on shipping, Tampa company says

VA rejects system private hospitals use to save millions on shipping, Tampa company says

TAMPA — If you could pay $19.19 to ship a package instead of $227.32, wouldn’t you go for the cheaper rate?That’s the question raised by Rob Barrow and Will Sands, Marine combat veterans and businessmen from Tampa who say the Department of Veterans o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Atlanta power outage affects Tampa flights; Gruden entering Bucs’ Ring of Honor; Orca advocates push for Florida law to ban killer whale breeding; fact-checking President Trump’s words to Haitian community

The Daystarter: Atlanta power outage affects Tampa flights; Gruden entering Bucs’ Ring of Honor; Orca advocates push for Florida law to ban killer whale breeding; fact-checking President Trump’s words to Haitian community

• A warming trend will bring high temperatures around 80 and mostly sunny skies throughout the week, according to 10Weather WTSP. Overnight lows will be in the 60s with our next rain chance coming on Thursday.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• As ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

WASHINGTON — A new U.S. national security strategy plan presents China and Russia as competitors that want to realign global power in their interests, potentially threatening the United States, Trump administration officials said Sunday.President Don...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Looking back at 2017 through the eyes of editorial cartoonists

Looking back at 2017 through the eyes of editorial cartoonists

The annual Editorial Cartoon Round-Up is a thought-provoking recap of a momentous 2017. The gallery containing 32 cartoons from some of the best editorial cartoonists in the country is made available by the Washington Post News Service & Syndicat...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Advocates push orca breeding law as SeaWorld’s policy appears murky

Advocates push orca breeding law as SeaWorld’s policy appears murky

The announcement was rolled out to the world as a pledge. A promise.In March 2016 SeaWorld declared it would end killer whale breeding, making the orcas in its care in the United States and abroad its last generation to live in captivity.Later that y...
Updated: 11 hours ago