Adam and Randi Akers

Spring of 2016

Military Family Finds Their Calling

When it comes to children in need of a safe place to stay, Randi Akers’ motto is “Say yes, and worry about the details later.” For her husband, a logistical engineer with the Army’s First Sustainment Brigade at Fort Riley, Kansas, that motto can occasionally be a source of consternation. After all, Captain Adam Akers’ job is all about worrying about the details. His caution, however, often serves as a useful counterweight to Randi’s “go with your gut” approach. He is the yang to her yin.

2016 Spring Foster Family Feature

That balance has worked well for the children they’ve kept in their Ogden, Kansas, home. Since February 2014, the Akers have cared for a string of young children in emergency police protective custody (PPC). It’s not uncommon for a police officer or social worker to drop off an infant or toddler at their house around 8 o’clock at night. Typically, the child remains no longer than 72 hours. Sometimes, though, that stay is extended if more long-term arrangements are delayed. Adam and Randi’s first placement, a 2-year-old boy, stayed three months.

“We took classes with Saint Francis Community Services so we could foster to adopt,” said Randi. “That was our initial plan. Then, right before we got our license, our social worker said we could also do PPC and regular foster care placements if we wanted to. So our very first case started as PPC and then became a foster placement. It’s not what we’d planned, but it was a really good experience for us.”

Since then, all the kids in their care have been PPC – except Maya.

Adam and Randi had been married just a couple years when they began discussing adoption at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, just before Adam’s transfer to Fort Riley in 2013. Eager to start a family, they considered a variety of options, but because of Randi’s background in social work, she knew of many children in foster care who needed loving parents. While still in Missouri, she contacted Saint Francis and two months after their arrival in Kansas, they started classes.

They met Maya about a year later.

2016 Spring Foster Family Feature

“One day, our case worker called and said she had a 2-year-old girl for us to meet,” said Randi. “The court was terminating the biological mother’s parental rights, and the foster parents weren’t interested in adopting. We met Maya on a Saturday, and she moved in with us the next day.”

There was already a little girl in the house, 1-year-old “C”. The Akers’ fourth PPC placement, she was one of those who ended up staying longer than they first expected. Adam and Randi had hopes of also adopting her, but delays in the court put that on hold for a while.

“We didn’t think we’d have her long at all,” said Adam. “Initially, it seemed the biological parents would get her back, but it didn’t work out that way.”

She’d been with Adam and Randi six months when Maya moved in, and the girls bonded right away.

“They’re total opposites, so sometimes that creates sister issues,” said Randi. “Maya is a social butterfly; “C” is more reserved, but they act like they’ve been together forever.”

It took about a year for them to adopt Maya, navigating paperwork, court appearances, and Adam’s periodic deployments overseas. They finalized her adoption in December, just before Adam left again for another deployment. And they hope to finalize “C’s” adoption sometime this spring, about the time Adam returns.

2016 Spring Foster Family Feature

In the meantime, Randi manages a household with two energetic little girls waiting impatiently for Daddy to come home. They Skype - a lot.

“That’s really helped,” said Randi. “They get pretty excited to see Daddy and to talk to him at work.”

And, although, Randi would happily say “yes” and worry about the details later, they’ve decided to wait to take any more PPC placements until Adam returns. He doesn’t want her to get overwhelmed. Caring for one 2-year-old, let alone a pair, is a full time job. “When Adam returns, they’ll start taking placements again-they’re certain of that. As Randi said, children in emergency care need them for that first safe place when they’re scared and don’t understand why they’re here.”

“Besides,” she added, “the girls really like the babies.”

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