- Who We Are
What We Do
- Helping Children
- Strengthening Families
- Building Community
- Get Involved
When PCHAS Maternity Services adoption specialist Erika Erickson first started college, she thought she wanted to major in education. It wasn’t until she learned more about the at-risk students that her heart changed from being a teacher to becoming a social worker.
“After learning more about the resources available for at-risk children in schools, I realized I had more of a heart for that kind of thing. It was a better fit for me and I wanted to work with kids in more of a helping capacity rather than teaching capacity,” Erika said.
She switched her major and graduated with a degree in social work, confident that this change was right for her. Next, Erika went to Grand Valley State University in Michigan to get her Master’s in Social Work.
She gained experience in the field working at the Salvation Army and at a residential program where she mentored kids.
“This program was for kids that had been removed from their families, but they had a lot of big emotional and behavioral challenges,” Erika explained.
Though Erika was faced with many challenges when working with at-risk children, she knew that she had chosen the right career path.
After graduating, Erika and her husband talked about moving out of Michigan but didn’t know where their next journey would be. So when her husband got a job offer in Houston, she started applying for jobs in Texas — the first one being at PCHAS.
“Right before we left Michigan I applied to work for PCHAS. We were driving down to Texas to move into our new home and I got a call from Michelle (Foster Care and Adoption program director) and she wanted me to come in for a job interview,” Erika said.
She didn’t expect to have an interview with PCHAS so quickly, but she was excited to start fresh in Texas. The following Monday, Erika interviewed for the position and instantly knew this was where she wanted to be.
“I started off here as a foster care case manager and did that for two and a half years and I really did love that job. I have lots of love and a big heart for the foster care program. Later I transitioned into my current job (adoption specialist) and I’m so happy I did,” Erika said.
Over the past six and a half years, Erika has had many adoptive placements, but one in particular stays with her, reminding her why she chose this field of work to begin with.
“One case that will always be special to me is a sibling group that I placed for adoption. There were a lot of emotional ups and downs, but it was worth it to witness them find permanency in a loving home," Erika said. “Knowing that they’re going to have challenges along the way, it was beautiful to see them in a home that was 100% committed to them, no matter what.”
Erika expresses that there are challenges that can come when working with birth moms and adoptive families, but she feels blessed to be able to be a part of these families’ stories. Being a source of safety and support for the birth moms and other members of the adoption triad is something she would not change for the world.
In honor of National Social Worker Month, PCHAS is spotlighting some of our amazing social workers.
Pregnant? Considering adoption? We’re here to help. For more information regarding Maternity Services/Voluntary Adoption, connect with a Maternity and Adoption Specialist or call 800-888-1904.