When Katie and Jonathan Biron decided to grow their family through adoption, Katie had no idea the choice would catalyze her to create children’s books and even change Washington State law. The couple chose to adopt through Amara, an agency that required adoptive parents to first become licensed foster parents. They went through the motions but didn’t take any foster children, staying the course to adopt. They were matched with a mom about to give birth and the meeting with her changed the direction of their family journey forever.
Up until then, Katie saw adoption as a joyful event. The moment the baby’s birth mom placed the baby in Katie’s arms, she realized her greatest joy was someone else’s greatest sorrow. The birth mom wished desperately her own mother, who was not well, could see the baby girl before she went home with the Biron’s. Katie and Jonathan reached into their humanity. Instead of sticking to the rigid rules of adoption, they offered to bring the baby, Emma, to her biological grandma.
That’s when Katie knew the traditional adoption trail was not for their family. She and Jonathan bravely tip-toed into an exploration of a different kind of open adoption. They found a far more pleasing path. While building a relationship with adoption at the center wasn’t always easy, Katie knew deep in her heart that she was doing the right thing for Emma. Her way ensured there was space for all of the important adults in Emma’s life.
A pediatric nurse by trade, Katie later regretted never fostering kids, especially when there was huge need for homes for medically fragile children. The Biron’s decided to get relicensed and care for kids with special needs. All of the events; the meeting with Emma’s birth mom, the relicensing, their experience within the system, evolved their ideas about what adoption and foster care could look like.
Maybe it’s wasn’t about “us” and “them.” Maybe instead of an adversarial relationship, parents and caregivers like the Biron’s could build a collaborative, child-centered relationship. With this belief, Katie began to facilitate visits for the family of the baby placed in their home.
Katie’s first experience with an open visit was for a medically fragile newborn. He hadn’t visited his biological family for over three weeks. The social worker hadn’t yet scheduled any visits. Believing in her heart he needed to see his mom, and vice versa, Katie gathered her gusto, and with all her children in tow, facilitated a visit with his family at a Starbucks in Target. Slowly Katie and the baby’s family built a relationship. Eventually a decision was made that the Biron’s would adopt the baby. His would be an open adoption that welcomed his family, including his mother, into their own. They now enjoy a blended family partnership and Katie’s son has the benefits of both families in his life.
Katie was convinced the traditional version and view of adoption wasn’t the best plan. She felt strongly there had to be an alternative. When she couldn’t find anything, she created it. Out of their family’s experience with two non-traditional adoptions, the Family Connections ProgramTM was born. The program utilizes the expertise of parents with lived experience navigating the child welfare system. These individuals help mentor parents whose children are currently placed in out of home care and those caring for the children to build and sustain child-centered relationships.
Political activism crept in quickly after that. Katie started talking to legislators about a better way to “do” shared parenting for children in foster care. The Family Connections Program bill had great bipartisan support and was signed into law in 2020. It was fully funded and then… COVID.
Due to the state’s emergency, the Governor vetoed necessary funding. This left DCYF (The Department of Children, Youth and Families) with a mandate to provide the Family Connection Program but without money to facilitate it. Katie mourned the developments, then dried her tears and worked with Amara to seek alternative funding sources to keep the program alive. In 2021 the pilot program was again funded by the legislature and became a permanent state program in 2022.
Like the bill, Katie’s book, The Love Tree, was born out of her family’s non-traditional adoption story. A seemingly simple school assignment required her child to create a family tree. Their family made their tree tricky. Katie wanted a way for all the important people in a child’s life to be represented. Out of that grew the Love Tree, an endearing story revisioning the family tree. Katie enjoys sharing her book and family story with schools and in classrooms. It is always fun for her to see who makes it onto kids’ love trees.
In addition to The Love Tree, Katie has plans for more children’s books. Her next book, the first in a series, will help parents talk to kids about Substance Use Disorders. She has plans for a story about attachment styles and how children grow bonds. She dreams of books that touch on really tough topics like why some people are unhoused. It’s already out there for kids to bump into and she intends to give parents safe tools to help tackle the sticky subjects.
Katie has done much in the last decade and has more in store. Ten years ago adoption seemed like such a simple path, it will be interesting to see where another ten years of Katie’s advocacy and passion lead. Katie, thank you for keeping kids safe!
For more information on non-traditional adoption options check out these great resources:
Katiebiron.com – offers workshops and classes to adoption and foster agencies
The First Legal Clinic – Snohomish – provided parent mentor and attorney to help make plans for baby’s care after birth so it’s not a traumatic removal
Amara - has done a lot of work to change their program from just foster to adopt. They’re trying to be on the prevention end of adoption and offer services to help preserve families in crisis so they don’t have to end in adoption and if they do relationships with the biological families don’t have to be completely severed.
Birth and Foster Parent Partnership – a national group with people from all different states working to build relationships between foster and biological parents so that there is continued connection and support for biological parents when kids return home.
KATIE’S BOOK STATS:
Last book read: I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
Current books: The Searcher, Tana French
Her book rec: Attached. Amir Levine, MD and Rachel Heller, MA
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
A Fighting Chance by C.D. Taylor is another installment in her “Chances Are” series and is no disappointment in the book boyfriend department. Tyler is a strong, chiseled, beautiful man just back from military service and home with his family in Texas. Tiffani finds herself in his truck after a near collision on her way back home to dispose of all remaining traces of the family she ran from years before.
The two are instantly attracted to each other but life, circumstances and an engagement keep them apart. When Tiffani's fiance is exposed as a dirty, rotten cheater, all bets are off and Tyler and Tiffani get busy all over town, and I mean all over… and in all kinds of hot, sexy ways! Though I'm not a proponent of impulsive hook-ups in my books or real-life, Taylor made the trysts more than a little enjoyable to read through and kept it clean, no domination or submission… it was the kind of sex where lovers love instead of hurt each other, it was much appreciated. And for some reason Tyler look, and sounds, a lot like Matthew Mcconaughey to me, so it was easy to see why Tiffani so easily fell for his down-home, Southern charm.
The sex is hot and the action and danger was equally paced to match. With a history like Tiffani's the trouble and reminders of a past she wished to forget found her soon after her arrival. But when the threats got personal, Tyler, like any good hero, was there to save her from danger greater than she could escape on her own.
As an advocate for love-making that transcends physical connections and unites lovers minds, souls and spirits I was a little taken aback at the immediacy of their first hook-ups but appreciated Taylor's care in writing the sex as clearly protected. I was disappointed when the condoms kept getting forgotten and the two decided to go bareback so quickly after meeting. Again, I believe in hot steamy sex where souls connect as much as bodies, but if you're hooking up in real-life keep it safe! Your life is no fiction story with a clean book boyfriend to jump, there are no guarantees in the real world so if you're hooking-up keep yourself protected!
C.D. Taylor/Taylor Dawn began writing as an item to check off her bucket list. She resides in the southernmost part of Illinois, right on the mighty Mississippi river. She enjoys the quiet country life with her husband, son and the many farm animals that make up the rest of the family. She. decided that farm life was just a little too mundane, so she started writing erotica and fantasy to liventhings up, so far so good. C.D./Taylor entered cosmetology school right out of High School and practiced the art of hair styling for 12 years. When she isn't writing, she can usually be found sitting around a table making people laugh. She has always wanted to be a standup comic. She loves pulling practical jokes, dresses up in a costume every Halloween and believes that dancing is the key to a happy life (even if you aren't a good dancer). She believes that life shouldn't be taken too seriously, we will never get out alive anyway. More than anything, she is a kid at heart, she doesn't believe in bedtimes, eating everything on her plate, or having ice cream only for dessert. Her favorite quote is by Dr. Seuss..."Why fit in, when you were born to stand out."
Life is over, at least for all but one in every ten thousand people. Sugar, a young adult fresh out of the foster system, is left alone to fend for herself. The end has come, and it's not zombies she needs to fear, it's her own body. Sugar suffers from diabetes and without insulin, though she survived the plague that killed most of the world's population, she will still die.
Sugar Scars chronicles Sugar's quest to first find insulin to survive and then, when the realization hits that it will inevitably expire, to find a way to replicate pre-plague production. Along her journey Sugar finds support and disappointment from other survivors. Some willing to sacrifice much to help her and others, dealing with their own issues, resist assisting her quest.
Though the story is largely plot driven and full of action and adventure to go along with the post-apocalyptic feel, there was a good balance. The characters were believable and the romantic story lines, were good. I'm a romance girl and they hooked me. I will not spoil either the plot or Sugar's love life but I will say, I found myself flipping pages to find out what would happen next.
Not only is the story entertaining, the author touches on some real-life issues that are near and dear to my heart. I absolutely love how he handled taking care of several unsavory characters. I found myself cheering for Sugar and her resolve to do what had to be done, despite her reservations about the dirty deeds she had to do. It was one of those books where good triumphs but sometimes good isn't pretty, but oh, so necessary.
Overall I highly recommend the read, especially to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic stories, deals with diabetes on a day-to-day basis or is looking for a good, fast paced, entertaining read.
I’m an author, but this site isn’t just about promoting by books. I write about the things I care about including books, movies, math, science and foster care and adoption.
I live in Montgomery, Alabama with my wife and 5 kids (but in in my heart it will always be 6).
Find Travis online at: http://travisnorwood.com/books/
Q: Tell us about your book:
This is a story of two people that have locked away their feelings and never thought about love again. It's about two souls reaching past the lies, and heartache to find the passion again.
Q: What inspired you to write the story?
Tabitha was the assistant in The One Night Series and decided to tell me her story as I wrote the others. Once I was done with the last book I knew she wouldn't let me do anything else until she got some glory.
Q: Is this your first work of fiction? If not, please tell us a little about your first book/series.
No, my first work was The One Night Series which is now in a box-set of three books. Unexpected Chances is the first novel in The Chances Series, which will include a total of 4 books.
Q: Who is your primary audience for series?
ChickLit , and Contemporary Romance lovers who are over 18
Q: Please tell us about yourself.
Recently I just celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary with my best friend and the one that supports me no matter what. We have a son who suffers from Autism and Aspergers, but he doesn't let that keep him down or stop him in anyway. Also I just decided to go full-time as an author, which is scary but you have to take risk.
Q: Have you been writing for a long time?
I started writing when I was a child, but it wasn't until my mid 30's that I really started focusing on it. Last April I released my first book and haven't looked back since.
Q: How much time per week do you spend writing/editing your work?
Oh my a ton of hours, if I am not writing I am connecting with my readers and working on edits as I move along.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I just finished up the first round of edits for Fading Memories which is a stand alone that will be out in late August/ September. Oh and I am working on book 3 in The Chances Series Unexpected Choices.
A.M. Willard is a true believer of soul mates, and happy ever after’s. She enjoys reading, sailing, and of course writing contemporary romance with some saucy scenes. Releasing her first novella of the One Night Series on April 12, 2014 has sent her on a new journey in life. A.M.’s passion for writing started at a young age, but with the love and support from her husband of eighteen years pushed her to follow her dreams. Once she hit that first publish button, she hasn’t looked back.
Publications available from A.M. Willard include the Chances Series, Love on the Screen, and everyone’s favorite the One Night Series. She’s also had an article published in the Writer’s Monthly Review Magazine.
A.M. Willard was born and raised in the Panhandle of Florida, but resides in Savannah Ga with her husband, son, two cats, one rotten dog, and her six chickens. Yes, we said chickens…
You can connect with A.M. Willard on her website www.amwillard.com or subscribe to her newsletter for the latest releases, teasers and sale alerts; http://eepurl.com/bb-Cd1
“The pen writes what the heart desires.”
OK here it is... taaaaa daaa! Scandalous Affair is set to come out 7/7! I am beyond excited for this book BUT I want to be clear up front this is NOT part of the series I've been writing. Please do not buy this book if smut isn't your thing. There are several gratuitous sensual/sexual scenes in the story. This book is not for my sweet, conservative Christian friends. I love an appreciate your support more than words can say but I must be honest and say that this book will be far beyond your comfort zones.
What can I say? I have a reason for writing it and... let's face it, SEX sells, and I need sales! Though I didn't think I'd be here at this time in my life, I'm in a place where I need the sales to support myself and my family. For all intents and purposes, I'm a single mama and I need the money and I hope this book helps. This story is gritty and sexy and I am unapologetic. If any of my conservative Christian friends want to message me or talk to me about it, please do! I'll be happy to share my reasoning behind the book. It's a story worth telling and if there's a little sex, OK a lot of sex in it, so be it.
Truth be told, it's not that sex riddled. Compared to the erotica market, it's barely a blip. Scandalous Affair definitely has more sex scenes in it than you will find in my other novels but it is far from erotica. I wrote the scenes where the story called for them. I'm not the kind of person that thinks S&M and all that blah is necessary. I don't like it, I don't write it and I don't think anything will ever change my mind on that BUT I do like sex! I believe it's one of the greatest gifts the Good LORD gave us and I enjoy it immensely (errr I did until my current situation popped up). I am personally frustrated with the sexual repression within the church and, though this book isn't the platform to address that, it does showcase my appreciation of the sexual side of humans and again I'm unapologetic.
I was inspired to write this story by the movie "Shall We Dance" with Jennifer Lopez, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon in 2011 for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). Though it has the billionaire themes of a certain story (that shall remain nameless) published that year, I PROMISE it had nothing to do with inspiring my story. I wanted a story where the guy went with the other woman, but the other woman was by far the right choice. I also wanted to play in a world I knew nothing about. I'm a rough-around-the-edges, outdoorsy, redneck and I like it that way but I sometimes wonder (especially in 2011 when I was making minimum wage) how the other half live. I guess this was my foray into a world of wealth and riches. It's a fantasy world of unbelievable fortune, sensuality and temptation and choices, consequences and dancing.
For those it offends... when you read it, don't say I didn't warn you. For everyone else, I hope you feel the feelings I was trying to express. May my words give you a momentary reprieve from the world around you, and may you dance!
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