This is the second part of our Adoption Story. Read part one here.
The twins were placed into our care as foster babies with the intent to return them to their biological mother. We spent the next 12 months doing weekly visit with the girls biological mom.
I will be honest with you. It was hard. Hard to not know if the judge would order them to return to bio mom at a hearing without warning. Hard to hand over babies that I was up with all night comforting, feeding, changing, and cleaning to another woman. To know that I was being scrutinized and judged, but expected to not scrutinize and judge.
This is the hard part of foster care. You don’t know. You can’t predict. You can’t do anything to change the outcome of the situation.
All you can do is love the children in your arms for the moments they are there.
I was frustrated at the system. Heartbroken for their family. And scared beyond reason when I let my thoughts over take me.
Fortunately, my husband was a rock. He would always tell me he was confident that these girls were supposed to be in our home and we were supposed to say yes. He reminded me that no one was going to love these girls as much as I was right now and give them the best chance at life.
Just before the girls turned 1 year old a final hearing was called to determine rights. At that hearing both mom and dad signed off their parental rights and the twins case was changed to intent for adoption.
During the year of visits with the twins biological mom we met their older brother. He was just 6 weeks younger than my biological son, Jordan. He was in foster care as well, but placed with biological relatives at the time. I spent quite a bit of time observing him during biological visits and interacting. He was desperate for attention and very, very active.
When our new adoption case worker came to our home she asked if we would be interested in keeping the siblings together and if we would like to expand our home to be licensed to adopt not just the girls, but their brother too; we did not hesitate with our answer. It was a yes.
Just a few days after saying we were willing to adopt all three children, Justin moved into our home.
That day I became a mom to 7 year old, 4 year old, a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and two 1 year olds in my house!
Let the chaos BEGIN!
and so it did!
Justin turned 3 just a few days after moving in with us. He had several delays in development, had no schedule or routine, spoke very few words, walked mostly on his toes, and was no where close to being potty trained.
I describe the first few months as a family of 8 as Parenting – Level 100.
My days were spent chasing after the twins who were very mobile at this point, teaching simple motor skills to Justin, entertaining Jordan & Justin, getting Jimmy to preschool and Jayden to 1st grade.
To be honest, those days are a blur. I am pretty sure this is where my addiction to coffee took on a new level.
Although I would love to tell you that everything went smoothly and our adoptions were done in just a few months, it actually took another year before we got the phone call that the judge had officially signed the adoption papers.
Detroit was so overwhelmed with foster care and adoption cases, you have to specifically get on a waiting list in order to have an official adoption ceremony in a courtroom. This can add several more weeks of delay to the finalized adoption and we decided that we didn’t need a ceremony. We needed to just be a family.
We chose not to celebrate a “Gotcha Day” for our family. This was a personal decision. Not that I wasn’t beyond elated, relieved, and crying happy tears when we found out our adoption was final, but it was also brokenness and knowledge that our children would forever have a story of hope and heartbreak.
We have a very open conversation in our family about adoption. Some of our children grew in my tummy and some of them had a “tummy” mommy. They know that they are loved and that they belong.
There is obviously more to their stories. More to the two years spent fostering & then adopting. And there is more now. Long-term effects from trauma that we have to overcome and learn to cope with.
Our story is not “typical.” I know that most foster parents do not adopt their first placements. I know of fewer families who have adopted twins. I know of many families that spent years dealing with the system before finally having permanency with adoption or going to biological family.
I hear over and over that I am a saint, or “I don’t know how you do it” or “I could never foster, I would be too scared.”
I am definitely NOT a saint.
I did it by choosing each day to love those babies as much as I could that day.
And I was scared every day that my heart would break.
Was it worth it?
Yes. It was.
If you have been thinking of becoming a foster parent or adopting from foster care you can download my free resource. I have also written about the first steps we took to become foster parents.
Maybe you don’t feel like you can risk your heart. Or maybe your spouse is not on board with adoption. Or perhaps the timing is not right for your family. But you still want to do something?
Can I encourage you to support the foster families & adoptive families in your community? We NEED you! We need extra support and love. Find out 10 ways you can support a foster family HERE.
What questions do you have about Foster Care and Adoption?