A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith: The Scarlatella Family Spotlight

Tina and Anthony Scarlatella adopted from foster care with Arms Wide a decade ago. In this family spotlight, they share their journey of adopting through foster care and saying ‘yes’ even in the face of uncertainty.

Beginning the Journey

Tina and Anthony knew that adoption was the right path for them to grow their family after struggling with infertility. “There are so many kids out there that need homes, so that’s where our decision to adopt came,” they recalled. They knew that they could provide a safe, loving family for children in need, so they began their adoption journey. After completing their home study, they were eager to welcome a baby girl into their family. They also had hopes of adopting two other children in the future.

The Scarlatellas are strong in their Catholic faith and trusted that God had a plan for their family. However, they weren’t expecting to grow to a family of five right away! Soon after Tina and Anthony received their foster parent licenses, they answered a call from their case manager, who said, “We have three little angels that need a home.” Tina called Anthony and said, “You know how you wanted a girl, and then you wanted a boy, and then you wanted a girl? That’s what they are calling us for.” They didn’t know anything about them except their names, their ages, and their special medical needs. “We decided that we were going to say ‘yes’ to God,” Tina recalled.

Becoming a Family

It was a leap of faith to welcome a sibling group of three into their home. The children were three and-a-half years, two years, and seven months old when they came to Tina and Anthony. Tina remembers that the kids were so excited to see their room when they first arrived at their house. “It just felt so right,” Tina said. “The moment they entered our house, they were already in our hearts.”

The journey from foster care to adoption can be unpredictable. It can be emotionally draining to wait for the courts to determine the best path to permanency for the children – whether that is reunification with biological family or adoption. Throughout this season, the Scarlatellas leaned on their faith. “If it was the best thing for the kids to be reunited with their biological families, I wanted to be able to accept that. I could not pray for God to give me these kids,” Tina said. “The whole time I was praying, ‘God let your will be done.’” They found peace in doing everything they could to make sure the kids had what they needed, regardless of their path to permanency.

Ultimately, the court determined that adoption was the best path forward for the children. Tina recalls feeling a deep sense of responsibility as an adoptive parent. “These are someone else’s kids that I am responsible for now,” Tina said. “We have to make sure we raise them right, protect them, guide them, and give them love.”

Approaching Tough Conversations

Adopting through foster care has given Tina and Anthony opportunities to navigate difficult conversations as a family. Adoption has, at times, put strain on their marriage, and they encourage other potential adoptive families to be prepared. “Make sure your marriage is very strong and stable,” Tina advises. They also encourage couples to be united and have open conversations about parenting strategies and values. “Babies grow up to be teenagers,” Tina said. “The more united you and your spouse are, the better. Have conversations about scenarios and be completely honest with each other about how you would handle them.”

A decade after adopting, Tina and Anthony also have words of wisdom for parents navigating adoptive children’s questions about their past. They are honest with their kids about their adoption and remain positive about their birth family. “It’s not us versus them with the birth family, and when the time is right, they could meet, if that’s something everyone wants,” Tina said. She encourages other potential adoptive families to be as consistent and positive as possible when talking about their biological family, as they strive to make sure the kids know they are loved above all else.