When I think about my family heritage, I realize it started with my father and his brother when they were 12 and 7 years old and needed a foster home. Today his foster parents are my grandparents. How could I not follow in their footsteps, when I am living proof of the beauty of foster care and adoption?
Adoption was never Plan B. It was firmly planted in the Plan A part of our hearts. Of course, we didn’t know how it would look…
We started to intentionally pursue adoption. It started with interviewing agencies. All different types. Do we pursue private adoption? Foster care and adoption?
After thinking it through, we decided that both of us really wanted to do adoption through fostering — to be a good part of a broken world. Foster care is a need in our society. The need will not go away. This is our contribution to the world. To choose to walk into potential heartbreak, for the sake of the innocent who cannot choose.
The foster care staff listened to our hearts. They encouraged us. We felt confident they would be our champions in a daunting system. Their small size meant we really got to know the case workers, listen to their feedback, and work with them. The people placing children in our home would really know us. Not only did they really know their stuff, but they had a good relationship and reputation with the counties. I’m sure this has a lot to do with the great number of placement opportunities offered to us right off the bat of our certification completion!
After helping with respite care and a few different calls for foster care placements, we were placed with a newborn who was drug exposed at birth. The moment the nurse handed him to us, and started babbling about breathing rates and room temperatures, it felt right. Whether for his whole life, or for a moment, he’s ours. We kept saying, “He may only be ‘our kid’ for a time, but what a privilege to love this little one while we can.”
We are so grateful to have the staff with us in the journey, and we look forward to more of the same as our next family adventure comes around the corner. We’ve enjoyed every single one of those things that drew us to them, as well as a few of these unexpected treasures. They work hard to develop and maintain a family atmosphere within the network of families in their program. The monthly support group meetings and trainings not only help us keep up on our foster certifications, but also give us relationship-building opportunities with others who travel our same path. New families, as well as seasoned “pillars.” The families in the network lean on one another for respite care, and our case workers help us to coordinate it.
Our story continues to unfold. We love it, even in its imperfections. We saw the need. We heard the call. We responded. We’ve benefitted and we’ve been fulfilled. And somehow in it all, we’re changing the world.
Photo credit: Melissa Yocum Photography