It’s crazy that I am sitting here writing a blog about adoption. It still isn’t real to me that I am even an adoptive mother. Several years ago, I quit my full time job to be a stay-at-home mom for my 2 and 8 year old children (now 6 and 12). I wanted to be able to take care of my kids but also felt I needed to do something that helps other children. My husband and I began discussing becoming foster parents. We prayed about it, talked to other foster parents and discussed how it would affect our family. We felt that this is where God was calling us, so we started the classes and began the paperwork to become licensed. In the middle of the licensing process, our licensing worker asked if we wanted to be certified to adopt as well. We told her that we were not planning to adopt and she pretty much insisted that we fill out that adoption paperwork. She told us that if we do ever change our minds that this will make everything easier. We reluctantly agreed.
It took about 5 months to be licensed and we received our first placement within hours of being notified that we were ready to go. Two sweet little boys 2 and 3 years old were dropped off at about midnight, I fed them, bathed them and put them to bed. When I tucked them in, they kissed me and said “goodnight mom, I love you”. That moment will forever be etched in my memory. I knew from that minute that this was where I was supposed to be, this is God’s plan for us. The boys didn’t stay long but they made a lasting impression.
Our next kiddo was a 10 month old who had the most amazing mom. It was nice to partner with the bio parent to get this child back home. This is what foster care is about. She wasn’t a bad mom, she just made a bad choice. Everyone involved in the case worked as hard as they could to get this little guy back to his mom and after 5 months he was able to go home. It’s been two and a half years and she still sends me emails with pictures of him and thanking us for being there during her time of need. Moments like this are why we became foster parents, we are not here to judge or put down. Sometimes these families just need someone to show them a little grace and let them know that you are there to love them and their kiddo while they get the help they need. Next, we had another set of brothers for a short time and then a 2 day old baby girl. She was with us for only 4 days before we found out she was going to live with a family member. The day before she left, we received a call asking if we wanted to take a 4 day old baby boy that same day. I couldn’t believe they were calling. I knew there was no way I could handle a 4 day old and a 6 day old baby, even if it was only for 24 hours. I decided I would say no. When I was asked, “Do you want me to put your name in for this one?”, I said “Yes”. I’m not even sure how that came out of my mouth but I said yes, what was I thinking? Its only one day, I could do this, right? I didn’t even ask my husband… oops! I called him and said, “CPS will be there in about 30 minutes to bring over a newborn baby boy. I’ll be home soon!”
I came home and met the little man. He was adorable and very loud for a baby just a few days old! He was so loud that we never even had to use a baby monitor. He cried immediately whenever he wanted something, which, looking back, is hilarious because that is just his personality (although at the time a constantly screaming newborn isn’t funny at all)! We fell in love with him immediately, it was like he was a piece to our family that we never knew was missing.
His parents were involved in the case at the beginning, they completed visits, participated in services offered to them and we supported them and the goal of reunification. At every monthly visit with the case manager you are asked if you would be an adoptive placement for the child in your care if the case plan changes. We had said no every time we were asked until this guy came into our home. This is the first time that we felt that this is where he should be if his parents were not able to care for him. Unfortunately, his parents did not continue to participate in the services offered to them and chose to not do what they needed to get their child back, they also stopped showing up to the hearings. After 18 months in care, there was a severance trial where we were listed as the adoptive placement. The parents didn’t show up so their rights were severed that day and our adoption was set 4 months later (thank you to our licensing worker for making us fill out that form three years earlier). It was such a bittersweet time. I was heartbroken for his mom as she was losing her son, I was angry at the cycle of abuse and addiction that his parents just could not overcome, I was ecstatic that our little guy would be ours forever. There are so many emotions involved when fostering and adopting these sweet angels. Our adoption ended up being postponed and rescheduled a few months later. As of September 16, 2015, after 794 days in our home, our little man was finally ours forever – although he had been a part of our family since day one.
Adoption from foster care is such a unique experience. There are no two stories that are alike – every child has a different beginning. Some are worse than others but all are heartbreaking because they start with a child losing everything they ever knew. As foster and adoptive parents, we add love, safety and security to their stories whether it be for a short time or a lifetime. I am grateful that we were able to change the story-line for our little man and his story now ends happily ever after.
Adoption photos done by: His and Her Photo Chyanne Macaluco hisandherphotographyaz.com