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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A story of fost-adopt parents who just adopted

Adoption Day, Family Court, August 1, 2012

In 2008, Sarah and I decided to open our home and became foster parents. We felt compelled after learning just how many children were in the social services system where we live. Also, we knew a couple who had fostered before (and recommended it) and yet another couple who was planning on becoming foster parents around the same time as us. Personally, it was a difficult time. We had already gotten pregnant, had shared the good news with all of our friends and family, only to miscarry shortly thereafter. While this was obviously a devastating experience, it somehow also helped to propel us forward in taking the first steps.

There was quite a process involved. Social Services required us to take several parenting classes over a 6 week span. They also conducted background checks, home inspections, interviews and more.

Once our house officially became licensed, we were told to expect the placement calls to come in at any time. From our classes, we already knew that we'd likely be asked to take in several children at once (usually siblings,) but we thought we'd just decline until only 1 child was made available to us.

Our very first call came on December 26, 2008, the day after Christmas. We were asked to take in two sisters, ages 1 and 2. We were told that their placement with us was temporary and would only last for 2 months. We almost immediately said yes despite our '1 child' agreement and set off to pick up a bunch of stuff in preparation for their arrival.

Tamirah and Seyoni arrived after 6pm that evening. They were 7 months and 19 months respectively (not exactly 1 and 2 years old.) 2 months turned into 6 months and 6 months turned into almost 4 years. They've been with us ever since.

The years, while extremely rewarding, were filled with once a month visits from case workers, nurses, resource workers and law guardians. There were several court dates, trials and legal hurdles to overcome and many weekends visiting with their biological family, committing ourselves to keeping the relationship open (... but that's for another blog post for another time... lol)

As their Dad, I immediately regarded them as my own children. To me, they even resembled us and so, adoption was a no-brainer. No other option has ever occurred to me.

Until the legal decisions came, there was a lot of speculation. One month, we were told that they'd never be placed out of our home. Another month, we were told to expect the worst and that there was a chance they may not stay with us. These uncertainties were the hardest part of the process, to be honest. Would they stay with us forever? Would they be taken from us abruptly? What's best for them? If they did have to leave us, how can we make the transition as smooth as possible for them? What's taking so long?

We asked ourselves these questions often and it became very stressful on all of us. I think that asking questions and being communicative with social services (and everyone involved) helped to deal with the stress of the uncertainties. We stayed on top of the case and kept asking for updates and follow-ups to the point of exhaustion. As time passed on, we resolved to take great care of them while they were in our home and we had faith.

We were away at a family wedding in Vermont when we got the call that we were weeks away from final adoption. We just cried and hugged each other. It felt like we had come to the finish line of a long race and discovered that we won. I watched my daughters swim and play in beautiful Lake Eden that day and felt like our lives were just beginning.

With this in mind, today, August 1, 2012, we celebrate this moment with our family, friends and all of you who have always encouraged and supported our daughters and our family over the years.

Take Care and thanks for reading this,

P.S. I'm 2 days away from the birth of my son, God willing and I just feel so... humbled... and blessed.