Adoption Awareness: Sam’s Story {Part 2}

by GfG on November 15, 2013 · 2 comments

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November is Adoption Awareness month, so every week I will share an adoption story.  Today, the second part of Sam’s beautiful story!  {Part 1 here}

That fall, I stayed home and got a little more time with Philip, our fourth foster child. He moved back in with his dad after Christmas that year after a week and we worked together with him for a smooth transition.  Amazing.

We had peace. It was unbelievable. This boy that I had loved like my son for almost a year left and… I was okay with it. Yes, we loved him and missed him like crazy, but it was right.

God was moving.  We were being stretched, challenged, and encouraged. Each placement was more difficult and longer, but each with a conclusion that we accepted.

So with no job for me and no foster children, we let our social worker know that we were now open to younger placements. Two weeks later, we got a call about a baby girl that was to be born mid-January. Her brothers and sister had already been in foster care for five months, and she was to be placed immediately after birth.

Three days after she was born, Christina* came home from the hospital to us.

Christina was the easiest. Baby. Ever. I know, I know, not fair. I’m not sure why He gave us the chillest baby in the world, but He did.  She ate like a champ, slept like a champ, and and had awake time like a champ.

It was an awesome season.

Christina’s long term plan was reunification with parents or moving with relatives. We were told that there were a lot of relatives open to taking the kids, but because they were all out of state and there were four kids involved, the process would be long.

Christina’s brothers, Caleb* and Curtis*, were in another foster home for the entirety of the school year, but as the situation dragged on, a better placement was needed.  Emily*, the sister, was in a perfectly matched foster home.

Jason and I mentioned that we could take them. It would just be for the summer, as they were getting closer to finalizing relative caregivers for all four siblings. We wanted to keep the siblings together as much as possible.

They had a weekend visit with us in May and then moved in once school ended. Caleb was six and Curtis was four.  Christina, at 6 months old, came back into our room.

The summer was incredible. No school to worry about, just lots of playing and laughter and water and dirt and ice cream and sweatiness. Sure, they had to get used to our structure and we had to get used to their level of energy, but it was a great summer growing together.

The state mandated visits were another story,  typical of many foster care situations, it seems.  We worked so hard to create boundaries, discipline, healthy eating habits for the boys… all this went out the window with every visit.

As the summer progressed, it was clear that  I needed to go back to work during the school year.

Out of the blue- ha, God is always at work- I got a call offering me the position that I had turned down the year before!

It was a perfect fit  and had great pay. As the director of a multi-site after school program, the boys would join me at the program after school and Christina would need care only a few hours a week. I took the position.

School was mostly uneventful.

When Christina turned 1 in January,  we decided to move ourselves to the basement, the boys to the master bedroom where we had been, and Christina to the second bedroom.

christina WEB

 

Soon after moving into the basement, Jason changed shifts at work and started the night shift, so moving to the basement turned out to be a blessing, as it was very easy to sleep in a windowless dungeon.

Additionally, living in our condo gave us incredible neighbors, incredible yard space (albeit shared) for the kids, and the perfect cul-de-sac for bike riding.

Throughout the school year, our social worker kept assuring us that headway was being made with relatives of the children. There were a lot of relatives out of state that were interested in taking the four children.

However, the longer it took, reports came back that they weren’t suitable for one reason or another. Still, the maternal grandparents had been approved and were awaiting a final okay.

This couple did not have a great relationship with the bio-mom, but mostly because of the bio-dad. They truly loved the four children, though they hadn’t seen them in a very long time (and had never met Christina) since they lived 1500 miles away.

In the middle of the spring, they contacted the social worker and withdrew their names from consideration. Out. Of. The. Blue. (ha, again!)

They said that they felt that the children were in good places and that if moved, their bio parents would be too easily involved, not in the best interest of the children. This may be the most selfless decision I have ever been a part of in my life.

Their social worker called us and explained the situation.  She said that their new goal was our adoption.  Just like that.

After this couple removed themselves from consideration, our social worker explained that starting from square one with the one or two other relatives who had most recently come out of the woodwork (and have never met the children) would take entirely too long since the kids had been in foster care for almost two years, and of course would not be in the best interest of the children.

We were ecstatic!

Prior to this period, we had been praying. Hard. Our friends had been praying. Our pastor had been praying. Although we had always prayed for our previous foster children, we had never prayed for them to stay, as we knew that we were just a temporary home.

With these three, it was different. I’m not sure at what point our prayers changed, but they did, and there were times I pleaded and begged for the children to stay with us.

snow WEB

Christina had been with us for 15 months and Caleb and Curtis had lived with us for almost a year. They didn’t know any of the drama behind the scenes. All along, they knew they were livin

g with us because we were a safe place for them, and they were reassured at every bio-family visit that they would be going back to their bio-parents eventually.

While social worker’s goals had changed, nothing changed in our children’s minds.

Court dates were set for the summer for termination of parental rights. We were subpoenaed to attend to testify against the parents – a terrifying idea. Ultimately, we fled the state.

Okay, not really, but we planned a vacation to  the beach.  We would not be around for the trial, so our social worker allowed us to take this trip, asking us to come home early to catch the last day of the trial in case we were needed to testify.

We told our friends to pray. We later found out that many people we didn’t even know were praying for us.

The social worker mentioned that there was the possibility the bio parents could give up their rights before the trial, but doubted that would happen.

We went to the beach. We relaxed.  We put the drama out of our minds.  On the beach- while I was gazing at the ocean and making toy car tracks in the sand-I got a message on my phone that I needed to call the court.

I was connected into the conference room where many attorneys, the AAG, and the bio parents were meeting so I could answer questions about an agreement for parental rights being given up voluntarily.

I was floored. Again.

Standing on a crowded beach in a towel, I answered questions about the bio mom writing letters and about sending photos in the future.  Without anything being resolved, the conversation ended.

I was left to wonder WHAT IN THE WORLD JUST HAPPENED.  I returned to Jason, Christina, Caleb, and Curtis, enjoying the beach, oblivious.

Or not enjoying. Christina was tired and the boys were itchy. Just keeping it real.

A few hours later, I got the call. Bio parents had given up their rights. Just like that. Attorneys and the social worker had agreed to a few more transitional visits during the rest of the summer, but once school started again in the fall, no more visits and the adoption of the children was imminent.

OUR adoption. OUR children.

The prayer warriors knew. God knew. And hints God left us all along the way let us know later.

Like the feeling that they would be ours.

Like the way the boys called us “mom” and “dad” from the second day they lived with us.

Like when they were told we would be adopting them and there would be no more visits, they were relieved.

Several months later, on October 30, 2013, with little fanfare, it became official. Christina, Caleb, and Curtis were ours. And gained a new last name.

family 2 WEB

Throughout the process, we got to know Emily’s foster family.  The kids saw each other once or twice a week at mandated visits.  Emily’s foster family adopted her on the day we adopted our three. Her family’s story is also riddled with God’s sovereignty.

Our two families get together often.  It’s wonderful.

So  many things seemed ordained by God, even the littlest. His timing has proven perfect over and over and over again. He answers prayer in incredible ways.

We made a LOT of leaps, mostly financial and work related.We believed that we were being led by God and knew that He works for the good of those who love Him. He equipped us at every step, giving us peace (and help!) in situations that we never expected.

We are so grateful.  Our family is precious.

What strikes you most about Sam’s story? 

*Names changed to protect the children.

 

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