Fost Adopt : Foster Care Awareness Month – three boys!
I am thrilled to have another adoptive family share their story in honor of Foster Care Awareness Month! The mom telling this story is a dear friend, I know her foster to adopt story inside and out, but I still cried reading it written out! If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know we are an adoptive family and I just love a good adoption story. Thank you sweet friend for taking the time (seriously, not sure where you found the time!) to share your inspiring adoption story – it is such a beautiful testimony and encouragement to those considering adoption! Full disclosure, this will very likely talk you into adoption; this also works well if you are sold on the idea but you know someone who is on the fence (feel free to forward).
With no further delay, here is Mama L with a story too lovely to be enjoyed without tissue………..
In 2003 my husband and I attended our first-ever marriage retreat and it was life-changing. He had recently finished school and I had FINALLY finished school and was in the process of getting my resume out there. Our plan was to both work—He was a business coach at the time and I was going to find my dream job as a graphic designer. God had different plans for us. After attending that marriage retreat, we both left with a different plan. God spoke to both of us separately, but we came away with the same message. We decided I would stay home. Our daughter was entering Jr High at the time and we felt it best that I stay home to be there for her. At the same retreat we learned of an adoption workshop they were going to be hosting locally. We talked about going, but didn’t give it much thought.
We received an email reminder for the workshop and at the last minute decided to go; also a life-changer. There were several speakers who shared their real-life testimonies about their adoptive families. Different adoption agencies had booths set up and shared information on different types of adoption (International, private-domestic, open-domestic, fos-adopt and foster care). They offered break-out sessions and my husband and I decided to split up for the first session andthen attend the fos-adopt second session together.
We had talked about adoption in the past. My husband always seemed to lean toward foster care and fos-adopt and I was more closed-off to the idea. I had my heart set on an infant and like so many, believed the only way to achieve that was through private or international adoption. I was also afraid to take on/in another child with special needs. Our oldest daughter has special needs and I felt it would be more than I could handle. For some reason, I was under the impression that all children that come from the foster care system have special needs. This probably sounds terrible, but it is how I felt at the time. I also had other common misconceptions and fears that I almost always hear today from people who are considering adoption. I don’t know where this misinformation comes from. One of the other biggest fears is that children will be placed with you and then taken away. This is a possibility in some circumstances, but you would know the risk before-hand. In most cases, this is very unlikely. It is hard for me to believe that I felt the way I did back then. I feel so differently now, but I am keeping it real and honest.
Hope 4 Kids is the agency that had the break-out session on foster care and fos-adopt. As they were providing an abundance of new information, and a lot of my fears and misconceptions were subsiding, they casually brought up a little boy. They didn’t mention his name, only that he was three years old and needed an adoptive home. God spoke to my heart. More loudly than I can ever remember. Felt more like a punch in the gut. After the session ended I waited to speak to Peggy (One of the the founders of Hope 4 Kids). It was lunch time and my husband went ahead to get our box lunches and I waited for what seems like a long time. There were several people in line ahead of me wanting to speak to her as well. I was nervous and anxious, but I was
determined to talk to her. There were times while waiting that I almost gave up. Several thoughts entered my mind; “this is taking
forever” “maybe I’ll catch her later” “I should go eat lunch while I can”. I am so thankful that I listened to God and I didn’t give in. I
finally started talking with Peggy and she filled me in on what she knew about this little boy. By the end of our conversation, we had plans for her to come to our home and start a home study (which I had just learned about). The seminar was on a Saturday in May and she was at our home that following Tuesday starting our home study. She also showed me a picture of our son.
I’ve said it before, I will say it again; this workshop was life-changing. Literally. We left that adoption workshop with a completely new life direction. Not only were we starting the process of adoption, but I was determined that I was going to host similar workshops some day in the future. I felt like a spark was lit. My passion for adoption began there. We had all of this new information and real stories to relate to and best of all God speaking CLEARLY to both of us. We left there knowing we were going to adopt. I was still scared, but very sure. God had us there for a purpose. He brought us there to meet our our son….it was a divine appointment.
This Friday is our sons 14th birthday. He was placed with us on August 24th, 2004, just three months after his name was mentioned in that break-out session ten years ago. He was “officially” adopted a year later on August 24, 2005. He is a blessing. He is an incredible, amazing gift from God. He is a compassionate, kind, sensitive, funny, and creative teenager who drives me crazy on a daily basis! We can’t imagine life without him. No matter what challenges have arisen or future challenges that are likely to arise we wouldn’t trade it for anything.
In December 2007 we decided to adopt again. I called Hope 4 Kids and they mailed us everything we needed to update our home study. We received the envelope in the mail and I hadn’t even opened it when we received a phone call. There was a baby that was born prematurely and she wanted to know if we would be willing to consider a baby. A baby. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I believed the chances of adopting an infant were nearly impossible. As she gave me all of the information she had about this baby boy and I listened, I remember feeling scared and excited. He was born at 27 weeks and weighed only 2lbs 3 oz. He had a hole in his heart (PDA) and a brain bleed (IVH). Preemies also have a high risk of ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity), lung issues, digestive and intestinal issues, and numerous other complications. My heart was racing. I immediately talked with my
husband. We prayed about it. I talked with some close friends and family. Many discouraged us, including my mother who is an RN. She was terrified for me. Worried about all of the possible complications. Worried about my possible future heartbreak. Finally, I said, “Mom, Iknow he is going to be okay and even if he isn’t he is suppose to be with us”.
Hope 4 Kids sent in our old (outdated) home study with the promise that our new study was soon to follow. We rushed to finish it. When social services had their matching meeting they selected us to be hisnew parents. We had our Presentation Meeting with Social Services on March 13th. This is a meeting where they disclose all of the information they have about the child; family background, health, any issues, etc., We had made our decision way before this meeting and were so anxious to meet and hold our son. It was enough to drive me crazy! The social worker helped rush that first meeting to that Saturday the 15th.
I cannot adequately put into words how it felt to walk into the NICU and meet our son for the first time. All I can say is God is so good! He was absolutely beautiful….feeding tube and all! We got to hold him and feed him (what he could eat out of a bottle before getting too tired) and change his diaper. The next day we brought the kids to meet their new baby brother and they got to hold and love him. It was so hard to leave him. The hospital was an hour and a half away which made things difficult. We quickly figured out the only schedule that would work. I would drop off the kids at school in the morning and drive straight to the hospital. This allowed me about three hours before I had to leave to get home to pick up the kids. My husband would drive there straight from work and stay until they kicked him out at night. Every moment with him in that NICU was so precious. Holding him on my
chest and rocking him and praying for him.
The NICU nurses were so happy when we finally got there! In the short time we were there he dramatically improved. He started drinking more from the bottle and eventually, with the help of an awesome nurse, who speed up the process a bit by removing his feeding tube (forever in her debt), was allowed to come home eight days later on March 23rd,Easter Sunday . Our son is a fighter. He got through some early health challenges, but is more than okay. He is 6 years old now. He is a beautiful child inside and out. He is full of life, inquisitive, outgoing, secure, determined and intelligent. His name means Fire of the Lord and it fits him to a T.
When our “little fighter” was about 6 months old we decided to do it again. We didn’t need to do any updating and our agency began sending us profiles of available children via email. It was the first time that there wasn’t a specific child from the beginning. We had to somehow choose a child. This was very strange and difficult for my husband and I. How do you possibly choose? We decided to submit our home study to SS for several children and let God decide. Out of the three we had submitted, one was a girl and somewhere deep down I was hoping we would be selected for her. We got a phone call and, to mysurprise, were matched with another little boy. They had his matching meeting before hers and they don’t consider families for future matching meetings even if they know your home study is in for both. I have to be honest and say I was a little disappointed at first, but I had enough faith to know God’s plans are better than our plans.
Our third son was also a preemie, but born at 26 weeks and only 1 lb 10 oz. He was born 9 days after “little fighter” in the same county, but a different hospital. He had even more complications. He had BPD and ROP and was on oxygen for the first year of his life. He was also in the NICU for 2 1/2 months, but went home with his NICU nurse who became his foster mom. Shortly after going home with her, he had respiratory failure and she revived him. Thank God for her! We had a conference call for our presentation meeting with the county and besides all of the above mentioned health issues, they said he most likely had profound hearing loss, possibly had cerebral palsy, and most likely would have learning issues among other possible problems. Like before, we had already prayed about it and had our hearts and minds set. No matter what they said we were set on yes! After two failed placements with other families who changed their minds (probably out of fear), he came home with us in June at 17 months old.
*Note from Kate* Our big kids are pretty close in age too (not quite as close as these boys, but people always mistake our two who are just under 6 months apart for being twins) – I must say, artificial twinning is kinda one of the coolest bonuses of adoption, in my opinion, I think these two would agree too!**
Seriously you guys, how handsome are these two?!
Two little fighters became instant twins. From the day they met there is a bond that cannot be broken and is definitely no mistake. These two are a match made in Heaven. Completely different personalities, but complimentary to one another. Our third son is our love bug. He is so sweet, loving, and kind. He has a smile that lights up the planet and dimples to die for! He had a rough start, but has overcome everything. He is 6 years old now and is in Kindergarten with his brother and is doing great. He can hear and see fine. He does not have CP. He is in regular Ed and has completely overcome his respiratory issues. He can run, laugh and play. He can antagonize his brothers and sister. He can dance and sing and turn any household item into a musical instrument. He is a blessing!
The first four years were especially challenging. Four kids, instant twin boys at 17 months, health issues, numerous surgeries and doctor visits, sleep apnea issues, breathing treatments, speech and language therapy in a special day program, the list goes on and on. All I can say is I would not trade any of it. I love our family. We are all so different, but that is what is so beautiful! I am so grateful for my family. I am so grateful for my husband/their father who shares the same heart for our children. I am so grateful to their birth moms forhaving them and giving them a chance at life and to Hope 4 Kids for all they did to bring us together! I am so thankful that we did not give into fear and took a step in obedience and have been blessed beyond measure because of it. More than anything, I am thankful to God who’s plan was so much better than my plan.
Thank you again friend for sharing your Adoption Story!! If you have an adoption story that you think will inspire our readers I sure would love for you to contact me!