By the time we started the fostering process we had been married 4 years and had lost 2 babies through miscarriage. We were involved in Children’s Ministry and working with kids all the time. Other people’s kids. We were heartbroken and wanted children in our family.
Soon after we were licensed my husband got a call on his cell phone asking if we would take a 3.5 week old baby girl. Then he called me at work and told we were going to get a little girl who needed a family. I cried…of course. How many husbands get to tell their wives they are going to be a mother?
We consulted caseworkers, case managers, Indian Child Welfare and doctors about any major decision we made for our daughter. We filed reports each week, we had home inspections each month and we filled out forms for each doctor visit and emergency room visit. We advocated for her.
She was ours, but not legally.
Three and a half years later we stood in the courthouse and vowed to take care of her and made her our own. It took all of 5 minutes. It was so quick that we even missed videoing it!
Our second foster daughter was 11 months old and came to us one late afternoon when a caseworker had to quickly find a home for her. It was the end of the day and he had been make calls searching for someone to take this little girl. She was supposed to stay a week and, well, obviously she stayed longer than that!
Her adoption went quicker, but we still had all the visits and reports like we did for our oldest girl.
One and a half years later we stood in a different courthouse in the judges’ chambers and promised to care for her no matter what.
A few things happened on the days the adoptions took place;
- We gave each girl a new name including our last name
- My husband and I were listed on their birth certificates as their mother and father – not adoptive mother or adoptive father –and with it all the rights that parenting entails
- Our girls became our heirs – they are equal heirs our biological daughters
Society looks at our family and calls 2 of our daughters our “real kids”. They ask about their “real mother and father” like we are a fake family. We look at our daughters and see our children. And I would like to point out that we do real parenting. They are our real kids and we are a real family.
Adoption means choosing someone. Adoption means accepting someone. Adoption doesn’t mean that all the pain and trauma of the past goes away.
“Children born to another woman call me mom.
The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
Many will say how lucky our daughters are to have been adopted by us. They haven’t been ‘lucky’ at all. Adoption is only necessary when a child has been or needed to be separated from her birth family;
- Death of parents
- Parents that are too young or mentally not able to care for a child
- Parents are in prison
When adoption becomes necessary there is always pain involved. That pain follows into the adoptive family; we take on the pain and trauma that the child has. It becomes a part of us and our family. We work with our daughters and with the consequences of their parent’s decisions.
Adoption is about redemption and taking the broken pieces of many lives and making something good come out despite the pain and misfortune. It means working through those trials together.
Adoption changes lives…I know our was changed. It was changed for the better.