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The subject of adoption has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. Several family members joined our family through adoption. I could not imagine my life without any of them!
This past Friday was 13 years since Keith officially became our son and made our forever family complete. I can’t believe how the years have flown by! It’s very hard to remember a time before that silly, blue-eyed little boy came into our lives. He’s no longer that little boy, but a 6-foot-tall young man, about to finish his high school career. He still has blue eyes, and he’s still a little goofy, but we love him so much and wouldn’t change him in any way.
This past week, Chris’ sister and her family officially adopted their middle daughter, after a LONG 3-year process. Her older sister joined their family in June 10 years ago. They also have an 8-year-old by birth, and we are super excited that their forever family is complete!
Chris and I decided early on that we would grow our family through adoption. During my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension. The doctor put me on bedrest with our oldest about 3 weeks before she was due, and she only came 12 days early.
The second time around, I was taken off work in early April and put on bedrest by the end of the month. Then, I was admitted to the hospital 3 different times before being induced at 36 weeks in early June.
After having so much trouble during both pregnancies, we decided that we would adopt our next child. We both had friends who had adopted children out of foster care that gave us tons of info about it. We had 2 sweet girls, and we had already done the “baby” thing, so adopting through foster care seemed like a great way to grow our family.
We got in touch with the Cabinet for Families and Children to find out when the next local certification classes would be. The certification took 10 weeks of classes, letters of recommendation, and several home visits. After we were certified to adopt, our family file went into the database. Social workers could start matching us up with children who were available for adoption. We would then look at the child’s file to see if they might be a good match for our family.
We spent several months looking at children’s files that were sent to us as a possible fit. Since we already had girls, we decided that we would like a boy, and we were willing to take a sibling group. We were sent several files that were not a good match for our little family. Having 2 young kids, we had to consider more than just ourselves when finding a match for our family.
Finally, after we thought we would never find a good match, we got the call! Our social worker had a little boy, that would be “perfect” for our family. “He even looks like you guys!” she told Chris.
I met her after work to get a copy of his file. She was so excited, pulling out the file to show me the pics of this blonde haired, blue eyed 4-year-old boy. He was adorable, and definitely looked like us. Chris and I looked over his file, then called our social worker back to start the next step.
We had a meeting scheduled the next week. Several social workers were there, and we spoke with Keith’s foster family via speaker phone. Everyone agreed to begin visits over the weekend.
That Saturday, we met Keith and his foster mom at a playground near their home. We spent a few hours playing and getting to know both of them. It was a fun afternoon! The next week was his fifth birthday, and we were invited to bring the girls to their house and celebrate with them. That was the first time they met their new brother.
We began visits to our home the next weekend when Keith’s foster dad brought him for a day visit. After that, every Wednesday and Friday, Chris would drive to get Keith after his half day kindergarten was over. I would take him to meet his foster family either that Wednesday or Sunday night.
Some visits were fantastic, and some visits were harder than others. We had to make some adjustments to our routines and discipline practices. However, after only a few visits, we knew that Keith was the missing piece to our family. He moved in over Thanksgiving, petitioned the courts in January, and his adoption was final in April of 2006.
Parenting is never easy, even in the best of circumstances. Parenting a person who has dealt with early childhood trauma is an entirely different ballgame. Even so, the rewards that this child can bring to your family might far outweigh any negatives that you may have to deal with over the years. If you are willing to take the time and give the energy that adoption requires, you might just find your family more complete than you could ever imagine possible!
My family chose to adopt out of foster care. We have never regretted our decision, but this type of adoption is not the best fit for everyone. There are many, many different avenues in which to adopt a child, and all are an excellent way to add to your family. In my next post, I will share the many ways a person might adopt, along with the benefits, difficulties, and possible costs of each type.
If your life has been affected by adoption, please shoot me an email or comment below. I would love to hear from you!
Until next time,