Family Stories about Adoption


Each adoption journey is unique and because of that, adoptive families continue to share their experiences. Even though it would be years before the date of our first child’s adoption, I like to think of our experience beginning on November 16, 1980, the day of our marriage. My husband, Lonnie, and I loved children and always expected to have a family. We had Shaun, my four year-old stepson, on holidays and during the summer, and we enjoyed our special time with him. We knew that if and when God wanted us to have a child, we would.

Fourteen years passed. During those years, we were fortunate to have children in our lives since our nephews and nieces spent time with us. We spoiled them and enjoyed their sounds of laughter and the funny things they said. Intermittently, we discussed domestic adoptions and even sent for information on international adoptions. We didn’t follow through with this due to the financial costs involved. At one point, I called the local DCBS office for information on foster care adoption, but we didn’t get a response. Again, we thought that must not be the plan for us, and we didn’t pursue it. We relied on our faith, and shared the prayer that God would send us a child.

Months later, in 1994, a miracle happened. We got the opportunity to bring a five month-old baby boy into our home! Josh came into our lives, and we were never the same again. We were ecstatic and thought everything he did was wonderful. It would be early in 1995 before we finalized Josh’s independent adoption, and the joy that we felt on that day is difficult to put into words. The plan had always been adoption with Josh, but until the judge ruled, we were nervous that something would happen to jeopardize it. We finally knew that Josh had been meant to be a part of our family all along, and that it had been worth the years of waiting. The fourteen years that Lonnie and I had spent alone together had strengthened our marriage, and enabled us to mature and get to know each other well. We were now ready to parent!

As Josh grew and developed from a baby into a toddler, we loved every minute of it. We discussed adoption in front of Josh, and he became familiar with the term. Even though he probably didn’t understand, he was proud to tell everyone that he was “adopted”. Josh had playtime with friends, but it was obvious that, as an only child, he was lonely.

In 2000, we made the decision to contact our local DCBS office again. We were interested in adoption, and had heard that it might be easier to adopt, if we first fostered. As we began our MAPP classes, we were nervous. We feared “getting attached” to a child, and having to send the child back to its family. The information that we gained in those ten weeks was tremendous. We agreed that any parent would benefit from the ten weeks of MAPP classes! We completed our training at the end of the year, and anxiously waited for our first placement. During our approval process, there were some regional staff changes, resulting in a delay. Josh was excited to think he would soon have someone in the home to play with. We were excited at the thought of having another child in our lives.

We got our first foster placement in 2001. He was Ian, a five month-old baby boy! He was wonderful and we had the pleasure of loving and caring for him for fourteen months. During those months, we also had several placements of sibling groups. Each group spent several months with us, and we had positive experiences with all of them. We like to think that while we taught them certain skills, we also learned from them. We missed them when they left, but were able to accept the moves.

In early 2002, I was working full-time and we were still fostering our first baby. We got a call on a sibling group from another county, and Lonnie drove over to pick them up. The group consisted of Christian, a seven year-old boy, Maggie, a three year-old girl, Levi, a two year-old boy, and Rebekah, a fifteen month-old girl. That brought our family total to six! The new children brought a lot of different challenges to our home, and we enjoyed all of them. We hoped that this would be an opportunity for adoption, but we knew that the children would be returned to the birth family, if at all possible. Later that year, our first foster child, Ian, left, and it was really difficult for all of us. All of the children loved him, and considered him to be a part of the family. Even today, the kids still play with “pretending Ian”. We are all still heartbroken.

Our next dream came true in December of 2004. The adoption of Christian, Maggie, Levi, and Rebekah became final. We were all so very happy, and felt even with the void left from Ian having left, that our family was finally complete! We became advocates for them in the school system and wanted to ensure that our kids were given every opportunity. We loved experiencing everything from family meals to Florida vacations with the children, and felt extremely blessed.

Our home was still listed as a foster family, even though we were, with five children, technically “full”. We did have another placement during this time, a teenage girl named Gretchen. She was with our family for nine months, before being placed with a family member. We still get phone calls from her. I became involved with the Foster Parent CQI Team, the Foster Adoptive Parent Association, and began working for Foster Adoptive Parent Training Support Network. We had a very busy and fulfilling life. Lonnie, a singer/songwriter, wrote a song called “What About Me?” for the Network and DCBS to use as an adoption recruitment tool. The song and subsequent DVD are now used across the state and has helped recruit some adoptive parents.

In 2006, I heard of two brothers, ages eleven and twelve, who were living in separate foster homes. T.P.R. for the boys was getting close, and there was concern that it would be difficult to keep them together. I discussed this situation with Lonnie and we asked for more information on them. We met Matthew and Jacob and knew that we could give them a home. Matt and Jacob brought a new set of challenges to us, due to their ages. However, every one of us loved them, and felt that they were meant to be in our family. Their adoption was finalized in 2007. As our whole family filed into the courtroom for the adoption, the judge asked, “Which of these children are yours, and which are adopted?” I immediately responded, “All of these children are ours, and they have all been adopted.” We now had seven children at home, and our family was definitely complete. Or so we thought…

Over the last year, we had done respite for an eight year-old, Jordan. He lived with a foster family that we knew, and that family was not interested in adopting him. We all loved Jordan, and when we learned of his upcoming T.P.R., we knew what we had to do. Jordan moved in with us, and we celebrated his adoption in December of 2007. Currently, we are very happy with our eight children. We truly enjoy them, and love spending time with them. Is our family now complete? We are reluctant to say “Yes”. God may have other plans for us. Rebekah is now six years-old, and often says, “God sent me to you”.

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