May is Foster Care Awareness Month. To celebrate I asked readers to share their Foster to adoption stories. Our family is formed through adoption, but we only really have two stories to tell. Our adoptions were not through the State Foster Care System, but we want to support spreading awareness for children that wait in America too! We love to remind friends, family, readers, and just about anyone that will listen that while Fost Adopt is not ‘easy’ – it is free and there are kids waiting right here! For the record – I am always down to consider adoption stories to share with our audience. Please do not hesitate to email me if you want to share your adoption story!
Here is Reader “A” (names & identifying photos withheld because the adoption is still in process). Thank you A for taking the time to share – I am sure your Fost to Adoption story will inspire others to consider fostering and or adoption for their family as well!
“I’ll never forget that moment on June 26th, when I answered the phone, “A, this is your adoption social worker. Do you have a few minutes? You have been chosen, we have a match for you.” After that it was all a whirlwind of events. I was suddenly faced with a bunch of fears when making the decision to take in this specific child, but my husband, J reminded me that this is why we did it. To provide a loving home for a child that deserves a better chance at life, regardless of his/her past.
Two and a half years prior to that phone call was when our adoption journey began. We had only been married a couple of months when this “crazy” idea popped into my head. My husband had a daughter, A, that was 3 years old when we got married and we really wanted her to have a sibling. So one day I thought, “Why don’t we adopt a 2 or 3 year old little girl so she could have a sister?” We didn’t make a lot of money so J said we couldn’t afford it, adopting a child would have to wait until later in life when he has a more established career. But I conducted some research anyways, surely not all adoptions cost thousands of dollars. While doing my research I came across some staggering (to me) statistics about children in foster care. It rocked me to the core. A month later we found ourselves at an orientation to learn about the process to obtain our foster home license and adopt. By the end of the meeting we had our application completed and signed. We had decided that we would continue to move forward until God closed a door.
It was during the approval process, while we were taking our required classes that we realized how deep the need was. The need for loving, committed families to step in and get their “hands dirty” and become foster parents. There is often a stigma associated with foster care, there can be a lot of “risks” involved when becoming a foster parent. There is the potential that you will foster a child for months or even years and that child could return home to their family. There is the potential that you bring into your home a child that is heavily abused and hurt, making your life feel like living hell as they test your limits to see how much you care and if you are committed to them. But at the end of the day, these “risks” or reasons to not become a foster parent are all selfish, it’s because you don’t want to put yourself through the struggles. But, think for a moment how much harder these struggles are on the child. How many homes will that child be tossed around in until a committed family comes along, if at all?
A couple months after we had started taking the required classes, we learned that I was pregnant. A closed door? Not at all. We weren’t adopting because we couldn’t have our own biological children, we were adopting because we felt God calling us to adopt, we were simply obeying his calling. My pregnancy did slow down some of the process as they wanted to wait to put us on the adoption list until the baby was 6 months old. In December of 2011 I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy, X. The summer after he was born we got the letter that we were officially approved for adoption and would be placed on a waiting list (we were signed up for “concurrent planning”, meaning we would foster children that are waiting for their case to become an adoption case, with the intention to adopt him/her) for 0-3 year old boy or girl. So we did what all other waiting families do, you go on with your everyday life waiting for “the phone call”.
Fast forward to April 2013, we attended some of the required classes to maintain our foster home license. In the class, we spent a lot of time focusing on children with risk factors and the many risk factors that we could potentially come into contact with. We also spent quite a bit of time talking about babies born with serious drug addictions and withdrawals. We had no idea how relevant that information would soon become to us.
Just a few weeks after attending the class we learned we were pregnant again. Another baby, should this be a closed door? Not at all. Because again, we didn’t desire to adopt because we couldn’t have our own biological children, we desired to adopt because we felt God calling us to. Then came the phone call of June 26th. I was quickly given a run down on the information of this baby girl over the phone by our social worker. I still have the scratch piece of paper that I scribbled everything down on. Our social worker told me to talk it over with J and to call him back and let him know if we wanted to move forward and schedule a complete telling with her social worker. He needed an answer quickly as he wanted the meeting scheduled for the next morning at 8am. I was fearful and apprehensive. We had a 6 year old, 18 month old and I was 3 months pregnant. Taking in a 2 month old baby girl born with a drug addiction was daunting to say the least. Closed door? Nope. I called J and he said, “Schedule the meeting.”
The next morning we met with both social workers to get all the information they had on baby girl E. Going into the meeting we prayed that God would give us clear direction in making the decision on whether or not we bring her home. At the end of the meeting I asked the social workers where she would go if we said no, they told us she would go through the traditional foster care system until a prospective adoptive family could be found for her. And that was our answer. She was going to become a part of our family. Without having seen any pictures of her or having met her, we said yes, she was going to be ours.
The next day, we went to the hospital to meet her. The very same hospital that I had given birth to our son in just 18 months prior. I’ll never forget walking into the room and seeing this chunky baby girl swaddled tightly in her swing. We wanted to take her out and hold her, the nurses were very reluctant because she was asleep and apparently that was a huge accomplishment for her. But we took her out anyways and she cuddled right into our arms. When J held her for the first time, he looked up at me and said, “We can’t say no now. She’s ours.” We brought her home just 2 days later.
Upon bringing her home and into our lives the conversations that took place with friends, family and strangers were very eye opening. The most common question we got was, “Why foster care?” to which my response was, “Why not? If there is a need right in our own back yard, we should do something to help.” So many people said, “I have always wanted to adopt, that is so wonderful. Does it feel surreal? Is it so amazing?” While it is an amazing journey, it is by no means a fairytale like so many often think. It takes a lot of work, some tears, some days of guilty feelings and many, many sleepless nights.
6 and a half months after we brought her home, I gave birth to another baby girl. They are 9 months and 1 day apart. We fostered E for 10 months until the final adoption process was in the works. We had an unusually quick and easy legal process which we were very thankful for. During the 10 months she rose above what was expected of her (given her medical history). The doctors are shocked and amazed at this chunky, happy and healthy little girl. We have been so blessed in having her in our family and are thankful everyday for the opportunity we had to give her a home.
As I was writing this, I was trying to think what I thought were the two most important things I want people to come away with after reading our story. For those of you that have “always wanted to adopt” ask yourself this, “What’s stopping me? Why have I not yet adopted a child?” And the second thing, ask yourself, “Do I have what it takes?” The last thing these hurting children need is a quitter. Just like you would commit to your biological child, you need to be ready and committed to stick it out and do whatever it takes to love and care for these children and to help their hearts be healed.”
Thank you A for sharing your story and the photo of your sweet little girl! Your story is an inspiration! If you want to share your adoption story too pretty please email me!