Nicole Larabell always found learning about family dynamics interesting. Coupled with her keen sense of helping others, Nicole joined the Forever Families team five years ago hoping to make a positive impact on children’s lives. She began her career as an Adoption Specialist immediately after completing her college studies. Nicole has been recently promoted to Adoption Supervisor where she oversees all of Forever Families’ State Ward Adoptions.
This past September, Nicole was the recipient of the first ever Adoption Professional Excellence Award by Michigan Department of Health & Human Services. She was among approximately 40 candidates nominated by various agencies and organizations throughout the state. The honor was announced during the “2016 Adoption Conference – Adoption: A Lifelong Journey” in Traverse City where all adoption professionals throughout Michigan gather to learn, share resources and gain better professional insight.
“I was so surprised when my name was called,” said Nicole. “We are serving families and making huge decisions for children that will affect the rest of their lives. Often the people who work in child welfare don’t receive much recognition, so it was nice to be awarded such an honor and acknowledgement by fellow peers.”
“The work I do definitely has its challenges, but is immensely rewarding as well. I love creating that permanent family, finding that stable, loving home environment for children in need. Each case is so unique, and I’ve learned over the years that flexibility and patience is key, as well as the need to adapt to various situations and willingness to learn from each case,” said Nicole.
Since her tenure with Forever Families, Nicole has completed 43 state ward adoptions. Much of her success has been her ability to build strong relationships with the children and families, as well as fellow colleagues throughout the state. “Things are constantly evolving. This job has presented some real world problems. It has only made me more aware of what our world needs and learned many life lessons over these past years. I have to leave my personal biases at the door and understand to never judge a book by its cover. Every day is different. Every family is different. But, I think this has only made me a more grounded person and see the world from a unique perspective. Ultimately, I will do what is needed to best serve the families and continue to hold the needs of the children who need adoptive homes above all else.”
It is with great pride to have a Forever Families team member recognized for such hard work and dedication. “Nicole is an excellent example of what an adoption professional should strive to become,” said Executive Director Denise Weiss. “We are proud to have her as part of our team and look forward to her future leadership within our agency.”