People always ask us why we chose to adopt. The funny thing is there is no deep reason, we just thought it was something we should do. We are able to have biological children, and we would like to have one eventually, but we knew this was something we should do first. We had love to offer, why not help a child?
We received an adoption broadcast email about a 19-month-old named Kimi and the minute I saw her picture I just knew. The child I had had always dreamed about - her angelic face, her curly hair, her smile; it was like I had dreamed her into existence and here she was on a piece of paper in front of me. We submitted our homestudy and we got the call that we were selected to be her family. She has special needs and we received the case file detailing her history, diagnoses, and prognosis. She has 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, and 16p duplication syndrome which cause her developmental delays but none of that fazed us at all, we were so excited to meet our daughter.
My husband was head over heels. She was absolutely imperfectly perfect, quirky, silly, and the best thing to ever happen to us. She is now four; she struggles with severe verbal apraxia so she can only say four baby words, including mama and dada - which is so heartwarming because she works so hard to say them. She may be verbal one day but it doesn't matter to us as she is perfect the way she is. We taught her sign language, enrolled her in deaf-education/total communication where they speak and sign everything and she excels there. She is so innocent, and absolutely hilarious. I could never imagine living one day without this child.
We looked into getting a sibling for her, and helping another child with special needs. We applied for a three-year-old boy with Shaken Baby Syndrome whom we saw on the adoption resource exchange website for our state. We expected Levi to have many delays but surprisingly, he doesn't. He is very bright and physically active. He is somewhat verbally delayed but makes huge gains daily. They adore each other and have so much fun. I feel so proud when I see her signing to him and he understands and can speak and sign back to her and they have a little conversation.
We said we were done adopting but realized life had different plans for us, we felt drawn to look at the website afamilyforeverychild.org and we came across the profile of a little girl so much like our daughter, the same age, the same sweet personality, even the same curly hair, and with very similar special needs. We know that our experience can help her excel and we were thrilled that our daughter would have a sister so much like her. We were chosen by her workers to be her mommy and daddy and she comes home for good in April, 2013. We know without a doubt that she belongs in our family and have enjoyed our visits with her immensely.
Our experiences with adoption through the foster system have been completely free, relatively easy, and have blessed our family beyond belief x 3.
Nothing has ever been more meaningful and more fulfilling to us than this and we hope to encourage others to help children in need, whether it's by being a mentor, a volunteer, a foster parent, or by becoming a mommy or daddy to a child who needs you.
Dolores, John, Kimi, Levi, and Grace, May 2013
In 1997 a speaker from the Mississippi Baptist Children’s Village came to address our church congregation on orphan ministry opportunities in our community. My wife and I had no prior knowledge and had given little thought about opening our home to help other people’s children. Our hearts were deeply touched by the stories the speaker recounted. Immediately after the service my wife and I began to consider becoming involved as an extended family to local children from the village. The children at the village are not adoptable as the purpose of the ministry was to provide a safe Christian temporary environment for children whose parents for a variety of reasons (incarceration, drug treatment, financial) could not care for their own kids. What the ministry needed was families to qualify and be trained as ‘extended families’ providing weekend, holiday and summer foster care for the children so they did not have to live 24 x 7 on campus in cottages with many other children. This ministry also allowed children to get one on one adult time and hopefully allowed us to model what a functional loving home looked like.
My wife and I were only able to have one son of our own. We always desired to have a daughter but were never able too. With this ministry we were able to help a little girl and my wife was able to have a young lady in the home (even though temporarily) that she could invest in, love on and teach her about being a lady and sometimes just having fun doing girly things. My wife and I ministered to several girls and a few boys over the next 10-12 years working with the Mississippi Baptist Children’s Village.
Once my son was grown and moved onto college. My wife and I were deciding what next and began for the first time earnestly considering adopting a daughter of our own. We thought we knew something about adoption only to quickly learn we knew little at all. We made all the usual early mistakes by thinking we could venture out on our own but made little headway. Working at the church I had missionary connections all over the world and began to make contacts and let people know that my wife and I were looking to open our home to a Latino girl. We contacted various people in Central and South American countries and were learning about international adoption but were put off on the cost and time it took. We knew we were on the high side of the adoption age and didn’t have time for a two or three year process. I am in my early 50’s but lucky for me I have a wife who is 7 years younger than me. I think because of her age we were at least considered at times.
Anyway, in the summer of 2011 we happened across a local couple that had connected with an adoption agency in a town close to ours. It was a non-profit organization that assisted families with fostering and adoption at no costs. NO COST? Hey that sounded good to us. We at least owed it to ourselves to look into it. We made an appointment with the agency and the head lady said all the right things so we signed on excited about this new opportunity. The agency said it would be no problem for them to locate a Latino girl here in the states that needed adopting.
So we began the cumbersome process of ‘getting approved’. Most anyone reading our story would have that story also. We began in late October 2011 and in March 2012 we got the final process completed. We now knew a whole lot more about adoption but still were very naive about what challenges still lay ahead. Our agency gave us the green light to ‘begin the search’. We clumsily logged thru various Internet websites teaching ourselves along the way about setting up accounts and filtering criteria that helped us narrow the search. Another important factor at this point was our decision to search for sisters. Instead of opening our home to a girl we decided to open our home to girls.
We had no idea that there would be almost a competitive challenge to being matched with the right children. Sometimes a sister group in our desired age range would show up on line and be removed the same week after as many as 80 families submitted their home study. Wow… How are they going to every match us (old people) when so many families are actively looking for the same siblings?
In the summer of 2012 we happened across the AFFEC website and like many others signed on. But this site was different. This was the first time we were able to include our home study and had some control on when and how our information was forwarded for possible matches. This site also allowed us to customize information and photos about our family and our desires to become a forever family for children needing healing, time and a lot of unconditional love. We found children on the AFFEC site that were not listed elsewhere. We also found the site contacts fast and helpful in sharing information and providing useful suggestions. We were very thankful for locating and using this helpful site.
Fast forward to August 2012. A new sister sibling group appeared online and like many before them my wife and I submitted our home study. About 10 days later our agency worker asking us to review the details on these girls and see if we still wanted to be considered as a match contacted us. Like many children they had come from a traumatic background of unfortunate abuse and neglect. But our hearts immediately were drawn to them as we knew that what these precious children needed more than anything was honest love, time to heal, a safe environment where they could flourish and achieve their dreams and goals in life. My wife and I understood more than ever that adoption was never about filling a void in our lives but about filling the void in a child’s life. Giving children a permanent home. My wife and I prayed hard about this decision and made the commitment to open our home to them if they would accept us as a match. Yes we expect that in time they will get better. Yes we will support their continued counseling. Yes we want them to heal. But we need to be their family no matter how difficult the future may be.
We offered our commitment. We went through another few weeks of questions and discussions about specific plans and situations. And then it happened. The phone call that changes many lives. We got THE CALL. We had been selected as a match for these precious girls. Are you kidding me? Us? Out of all the people that put in for these children they want us? Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus! How awesome that God would entrust us with their care, safety and future.
Then it keeps getting better. We were told we could call them on the phone. No way I can begin to tell you about the first time we heard their voice. Then it keeps getting better. Then they told us to go to their state and meet them. WOW. Last week we spent the week with OUR daughters. Unbelievable. Sadly we had to leave at the end of the week without them. But we call them most every night. We are told that within the next 30 days they should be in our home… permanently. Let the spoiling begin. We are going to love the hurt right out of these girls.-A MAP Family September 2012
Here is what happened. I clicked on his picture June 6th. The next day you had his worker was from Walla Walla Wa. and we where headed down to Dayton which is only 32 mile further. I called her up she said that she would look at our home study but may people were looking at him. A week and a half later she called and said we should meet him when we came up. We meet him the next week at a park in Dayton, with out him knowing who we were. We liked him and we told her so when we got home. She called back and arranged a time in July when we could come down and meet with him on his area. The day before we left we had a call from her and she said his foster mom was really burn out and could we take him home with us, he was to visit with us later that month for two weeks, so we did take him home with us and he has not left.
Sharon McCartney September 2012
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU to the Matching Assistance Program.
Norberto and I have been foster parents since 2007 and prior to that we were tribal placement parents for a child from the Oneida Reservation. We have always known we have wanted a large family and began working on our dream shortly after we were married.
We tried for a little over 1 year when we started infertility testing. Years of infertility treatment and no babies in site. We decided to start the process to become foster parents when we were told that Jaymie had stage 1 uterine cancer requiring a radical hysterectomy. There went our dreams to ever have our family. Through our journey we were graced with a beautiful foster baby that just over 1 year later we were able to add him to our forever family through adoption.
We continued to foster and 24 placements later, we still were not able to add to our forever family and actually went through a seemingly never ending nightmare with the foster care system. Our journey took us to our adoption agency that then told us about the interstate adoption program. It was on February 18, 2011 that we joined the Matching Assistance Program.
Through the Matching Assistance Program we got leads on well over 250 children that we inquired on. My MAP specialist was sending me searches weekly, but I was out daily searching and inquiring. We ended up inquiring on 285 children and only heard back on a hand full of those.
Some we were matched to and subsequently decided against, some we were not chosen as the best family. Unfortunately, there are many ups and downs with the adoption journey and you get out only a portion of what you pour in. Working with our adoption specialist and Jennifer and Christy, we stumbled on a sibling group of 4 from Texas. We saw them and inquired on 3/4/11 and found out we were the matching family on 4/18/11.
We waited for what seemed like forever for their files, but it wasn’t even 1 month later. We soon found ourselves reviewing the files, presentation staffing and accepting the children as a possible placement. We then had to wait for the ICPC to be completed which would allow Florida to take over the month to month case evaluation. We found out that the ICPC was approved on July the 8th we were allowed to go visit the kids. We flew out on July 13th and we were able to spend 7 full glorious days with our kiddos, and subsequently found out we were allowed to take them back with us on the plane. There have been extremely minor speed bumps, but all is going very well with our family which is now 5 kids and 2 adults.
It all seemed to take forever when we were going through it all, but when I put it in prospective, from seeing and inquiring on the children to official placement of them, it was 4 months and 19 days, a whirl wind in prospective. As much help as the Match assistance program is, it is dependent on the adoptive families willingness to put in effort.
Norberto and Jaymie
After being in the final selection process more than twice, getting very excited to meet our newest family members, and then being told we were not selected, it was hard to be positive some days. But, we kept at the process, submitting our inquiries and home study, praying (lots and lots of praying) and continued to keep a positive attitude.
We were recently selected, exactly six months after our home study was approved and after inquiring on over 250 groups of siblings. We are beyond thrilled with our match of three siblings, 2 boys and 1 girl, who were living in different foster homes until we were all matched together.
We all fell right into place as a family during our first visit and we could never have dreamed of this day finally coming. It seemed like a very long road (and sometimes a disappointing road) to get here, but when the fit was right for everyone, it was absolutely worth every moment we waited.
Our journey toward a very lively household began, as do all adoption journeys, with the home study. Our social worker from Catholic Charities was raised on a ranch. We live on a small farm and found that she understood our ways and goals. Friendship, trust and understanding flowed both ways.
Paperwork seemed to take forever, but once the home study was completed we started putting in our home study for children. We were considered, but not chosen for several sibling groups. Discouragement crept into my thinking, but not so much into my husband's thinking. We both have a very strong faith in God and knew that He was the guiding force in the process. That faith and knowledge did not keep us from discouragement and frustration, but it did keep us moving forward.
Our social worker understood both our faith and our discouragement. From the beginning, she had our permission to send our home study if she saw a child or children that we might be a good family for. She ended up sending in our home study for two little boys ages 3 and 23 months. Our social worker did not tell us she had sent the home study in until she found out we were one of two families being considered for the boys.
What a Friday morning that was! (July 16, 2010) I had worked from midnight until 8am and had just gotten home; my husband was at work when our social worker called to tell us the news. She told us the oldest boy had a kidney disease and then emailed me two pictures of the boys. (Kidney disease is actually a special need we are comfortable with as my husband had been on dialysis for 10½ years and is a living donor kidney transplant recipient.)
The weekend was spent wondering how the meeting on Monday would go and if we would be chosen. Our social worker told us that she probably would not hear until Tuesday because the adoption worker had a placement after the meeting. We heard nothing on Tuesday, but called our social worker and told her we would stop by the office on Wednesday when we were in town. She greeted us at the door with "Hi Mom and Dad" and let us know we were chosen!
After much frustration with two states and their respective paperwork, we brought the boys home on January 29, 2011. Since then, we have been through surgery with the oldest to place a peritoneal dialysis catheter, started him on peritoneal dialysis (which we do at home every night) and enjoyed every minute of getting to know our perfect boys!
Our advice is to give your social worker permission to put your home study in when they see a child or sibling group. Trust and have faith that the right child or children will be in your lives at the time they are destined to be. Don't be afraid of what you read in the preliminary social services reports about your child. Ask the medical professionals that treat the child for information and guidance.
Kristina and John
One morning in November of 2006 we opened the Register Guard and noticed a picture of a little boy under the heading of Child of the Month for the Heart Gallery of Lane County. A cute little boy named ""Austin" who was looking for a Forever Family. Thus began our journey down the road to adoption. We already had 4 kids of our own from the ages of 9 to19, but only two were still living at home and after a family discussion, with our two boys, we decided to try and adopt a little boy in the 8 year old range.
January of 2007 we began the process. We came to find out we had to take 8 parenting classes, get a background check and then a have a home study done. What we didn't know was that it would take nearly five months to get all of those things accomplished. Unfortunately, while we were going through this process, Austin the boy we saw in the register guard, had already had his committee set and we weren't able to be considered.
Austin had his forever family so we started reviewing bulletins looking for another little boy who we could open our home to. Our DHS worker sent new bulletins whenever they came out and she thought they might fit into our home. We found another little boy who we were ready to open our home to that we were selected again for committee if it came to that. Unfortunately for us but great for him, his grandparents found him in the Heart Gallery and were able to be his adoptive resource. A few months later we again found a child we thought would fit well into our home. Our home study was sent and we were selected for committee, but for whatever reason we weren't selected. This was the point when we really had to ask ourselves if riding this roller coaster of emotion was worth staying on. After talking with Christy Obie-Barrett over and over again and constantly talking with our worker, we decided it was definately worth it.
March 11th of 2008 we were selected at committee for Michael. Later that after noon we were notified we had been selected, but the joy was short lived because we were also told the decision of the committee was going to be reviewed. We then spent the next two months waiting for DHS to decide if we were going to be Michael's adoptive resource. During this time we asked ourselves many times if this was worth it and there were many occasions we were going to tell DHS to withdraw our name and give up.
We didn't give up and Michael has been with us for thirty days now and we're happy he's joined our family. Everyone is adjusting to having a 6 year old in the house again. The boys are behaving like brothers playing together one minute and arguing the next, so hopefully that's a good sign.
It's been 19 months since this journey began and now that Michaels in our home we're glad we didn't give up because he deserved to have a forever family and he needed someone to not give up on him. We are very happy to have Michael as our son and hope that someday he comes to love us as we do him.
This is really just the beginning of our journey and now the hard part begins.
Jenny and Dave H.
We found a 10-year-old boy right here in Texas! Can you believe it? I didn't want to say anything until things looked really promising, but we looked around in Texas and found Danny. Our agency from Austin contacted us around the end of November and said they wanted to talk to us about him. We met with them in January and about a week later, we had been selected as Danny's family for adoption out of three couples that were interviewed!
We were all a little blown away but the response has been awesome and the support system has been phenomenal. Danny has been at a treatment facility right here in Austin (I have been driving right by there for two years on the way to work every day) but he is under the care of the County.
We had a great first 2 hour pass here at the house. We stopped at McDonald's and got hamburgers and fries and came back to the house and ate them at the bar. Ashley, our new in-home therapist, met us here and hung out with us. She is very nice and we all like her. She helped us set up the badminton net (not an easy job while fighting off those pesky gnats).
We played badminton, horse shoes and passed the football. He loved his new bedroom and invited the dogs to jump up on his bed with him and play. He also got a new basket ball and we have a new hoop on the way. Hopefully it will get here by Saturday so we can shoot some hoops on Sunday. He is quite good and loves to "slam dunk" the ball.
On the way back to the treatment home we told him that we loved him no matter what and he smiled. He calls us every night now around 7:30 and tonight he sounded a little down, so we asked him what was wrong and he said he missed us. What a sweet and loving little boy. He will hopefully get to come home by the first of August.
He is a wonderful child and is attaching to both of us! All three of us are happy and blessed. I really wanted to thank you so much for taking up all that time with me and encouraging me and trying to help me find my son. You will never know how much you helped me through this. I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart too. If it hadn't been for you, I think I would have gone stir crazy. You gave us hope and the courage we needed to not give up and for that I will NEVER forget you.
I guess you can tell we are pretty excited. Danny's whole world has changed and so has ours. We already love him so much and are spoiling him completely rotten :-)
Thanks again Christy and keep up your great work because we see now firsthand what a difference it makes in a child's life to find a home and feel part of a forever family.
Thanks to you all for your support and love,
Tom, Todd and Danny