Adding children to your life from foster care can be a challenging but rewarding thing to do. There are always adjustments and tough days.
Changing your life to change someone else’s.
So typically you think that you will get married and have babies and go to work everyday and life is awesome. Well, if that is your life, you got it made! Mine didn’t work out quite that easy. My life before my husband was pretty crazy. I was a single mom and I worked crazy hours and I had always wanted a big family, but somewhere in my thirties I gave up. I just figured that was not the plan that God had for me. Ok God, so what is the plan?
Then I met my husband. We both had a kid from previous relationships. Ok cool, one more kid. Then things started to get a bit crazier! My husband knew that his daughters half brother had been put into foster care when he was born. We hadn’t been together for very long when we decided that he needed a good home. We began the process to become foster parents. Oh the paperwork and training seemed to never end! But we made it through, all while planning a wedding! While going through the process, we were worried we wouldn’t be approved, but we knew that the family that Wyatt was with wanted to adopt him. However, we got to choose first since we had the sibling. So we discussed having our own baby. I remember saying to him, what if we have our own baby, and we get him? He shrugged and said that would be cool! Whoa!! Did we just go from having two kids to having four? How did that happen? So in March we were approved and we welcomed Wyatt to our home at nine months old and the day before the pandemic!
My daughter is a preteen, his daughter was two, so both were sleeping through the night, so getting up in the middle of the night to feed a baby was huge for me because I hadn’t done it in over ten years. My husband adjusted easier since it hadn’t been that long ago for him. But what an amazing baby! Oh did our hearts fill with joy! His laugh could melt the coldest of hearts! I did struggle with knowing that someone didn’t care enough for him to stop doing drugs long enough to love him. I prayed and prayed to be able to let that go. I am doing better with that and have come to realize that the parents are obviously going through a tremendous valley that I know nothing about and have never experienced. I have never been addicted to drugs and alcohol so I can not judge the actions of those who have and I can therefor not judge those that are going through something that I haven’t been through.
So the rights of Wyatt’s parents had been terminated before we got him so we luckily didn’t have to go through all of the stuff that you usually would. Parenting visits, court hearings, meetings with social workers, blah blah blah! Thankfully he was almost ours. We then began the adoption process.
Most of the time when you take in a foster baby or kid, there is a lot of stuff going on. The movie “Instant Family” does an amazing job of describing the process of taking in a foster kid and the whole process. Going through parent visits and helping the kids navigate the feelings of abandonment and many other things that they have had to deal with that as adults, we haven’t even experienced yet. We got lucky and didn’t have to go through that stuff. However, it still makes me wonder how to explain all of this to him one day. You can love a child as much as you want, but how do you tell them that the people who were supposed to have the basic instinct to love him, just didn’t! I pray about that every day too!
Around Easter, we found out another little surprise. In December we would be welcoming Baby Shawn. I became a big fan of curbside orders. Not because I was afraid of COVID, but because it saves so much time, and actually money too! No unnecessary purchases. So with a 12 year old, 3, and 18 month old and being pregnant, and since basically nothing was open anyway we stayed home all the time and shopped curbside.
Each day we fell more in love with our baby Wyatt. He began to develop a personality and he started to crawl faster than the speed of light! I knew that when he began to walk, we were in trouble! He is such a funny kid! Since I stayed home with them, he became quite the mama’s boy. I was worried that we would be in for a rough ride when Shawn came in December. But while I was in the hospital Wyatt and Dad got some bonding time in and all was well!
Adoption is an amazing thing to do. However, adopting through foster care is even more amazing. Bonds are formed in the rough times of going through the reunification process with the parents and it is heart breaking, not only for the child, but for the foster parents as well. It is awful when you see the child go through these things and you want to protect them. But watching the children grow through the process and heal is more rewarding than anyone can ever imagine!