All adoption journeys are unique, we know we are little biased but we think our adoption journey is the best of all:
We knew early in our marriage that if we were not able to conceive naturally we would adopt. Originally the plan was international but as you will see, that spiraled into something much bigger.
In 2012 we faced reality, 4 major surgeries, stage 4 endometriosis, and a total hysterectomy confirmed our fears: I would never conceive a baby. We were disappointed but excited about the new adventure ahead of us. Truthfully, we didn’t really care how God gave us a family, we just wanted a family.
From the beginning my wise, big hearted, and fiscally responsible husband suggested foster care. Adoption is expensive, foster to adopt expenses are paid for by the state. I immediately and adamantly refused. I was afraid. Afraid of strange kids in my home, afraid of the messy lives I would see, afraid of being powerless (just keeping it real here). But most of all, I was afraid of falling in love. Because you see, foster care = heartbreak for everyone involved. I did not think I could handle it.
So we jumped into international adoption but realized quickly that the cost would be steep, and not just financially. We learned that most countries require a considerable amount of time spent in their country before you are allowed to bring your child home. We were, at the time, working long hours, nights, and weekends to make ends meet. Even if we were able to save enough money for the adoption, we would not be able to take that much time off of work. Besides, we could not agree on a country, so we took a step back.
Once again, my husband gently pushed foster care. Once again, I refused.
So, we found a private, domestic, adoption agency. And, we got excited. Everything seemed to be falling into place. The agency was perfect, focused on open adoptions, counseling young women, and the Word of God. The finances came through, the money we had saved, generous donations from family and friends, and grants received gave us just enough. I had a new job in a school district with resources to child care, leave, and support. We were ready.
We waited. And waited. And waited. Two years. Not a single match. No one picked us.
And then it happened.
I met a fierce, tiny, and broken little girl. She had been placed with a friend at our school and her classroom was down the hall from my office. She was the perfect embodiment of all of my fears of foster kids and the foster system. But, she was the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. And God began to change my heart.
Then, two other little girls came into our lives. Our close friends were involved in respite care for foster families and had taken in two little girls. We got to know them, love them, and spend time with them. I had a face. Well, three faces. It turns out, I needed a face of a foster child to face my fears of becoming a foster parent. I was not spared the messiness of their foster to adopt journey (all three are now adopted). But I was given the courage to finally agree, and we signed up for foster classes.
God used those girls to get me through those first brutal weeks of foster classes. We completed the endless classes, home visits, and paperwork and received our first placement. Two 3 year olds, a little boy and a little girl.
It was tough. Immediately we knew we were simply an emergency placement and would not have the children long. They were severely neglected, the youngest 2 out of 5 kids in their family (the older three were in a shelter). They were non-verbal, and had various developmental needs.
I know they will never remember me. They were only with us for 30 days. It was heartbreaking to pour everything I had into them that month because I knew they would never remember it. Was I really making a difference? Or, just spinning my wheels?
I have to believe I made a difference, even if they do not remember it. We were able to enroll them in preschool were they were being evaluated for additional help. We corrected their major dental issues, and got glasses for the little girl who could barely see. We worked on potty training and even had them saying a few words before they left. For that month they were safe, happy, and loved. When they arrived at our house, they had one backpack that the investigator told us not to bring into the house until we knew it was clean of bugs. When they left, they had a trunk load of clothes, toys, and books.
After they left, something crazy happened. We received a call from our adoption agency. We had remained active with the agency after receiving our foster license and had even reached out for a few matches but we seemed to be at an impasse.
We had a match. A young woman had been contemplating adoption and in researching the agency ran across our picture and profile. She picked us and asked if we would meet with her. They had already been counseling her for some time and felt it would be a good time for us to meet.
We were so nervous but knew God’s hand was in it. We had a great first meeting with the young lady and her mother. Exchanged phone numbers and became fast friends. She was 6 months along at the time so we had plenty of time to get to know her. We had visits and spoke daily. We made plans to be there when she would be induced so that I could be in the room when our son was born. We came the day before, checked into our hotel room, signed all the legal papers with the attorney, wrote a big fat check, and waited to hear what time we needed to come to the hospital.
Three days later we drove home with an empty car seat and broken hearts. She decided to parent.
I wrestled with so many emotions in the following weeks including,
- Confusion: God orchestrated this, why didn’t it work out?
- Betrayal: I considered her my friend
- Anger: Ummm…not fair, God
- Sorrow: This was probably my only chance of having a baby
In the end I realized:
- God knew she would decide to parent, so
- This was about her not her baby.
I could only pray that in those three short months I was able to fulfill my purpose by loving on her unconditionally and showing her how much God loves her too.
And then, for the first time, I gave up my dream of being a Mom.
“God, if it is your desire that I take care of other people’s kids through fostering, and never have a family of my own, then I will do it.”
Less than a month later, we were back on the list, waiting for our next foster placement when I got the email about 5 kids needing an adoptive home. There were no pictures, just a short description of each written by their current foster family who loved them very much but felt God had another family in mind for adoption. My husband surely thought I was nuts when I called him but he agreed to meet with their caseworker the next day to see if we might be a good fit for the kids. We knew it was a legal-risk placement (meaning nothing is final until the judge signs the adoption decree) but we felt that we were destined to be a part of these kids’ lives and we hoped that it would be as their parents.
We didn’t hear anything for a month after that first meeting with the case worker. We were sure the current foster family had decided to keep them. Finally we got a call and were asked to provide respite for the kids so that we could get to know them. I got to met with their foster mom (who is now grandma) and for the first time got to see pictures of them and hear stories of each of their awesome little personalities. I’m sure I didn’t sleep at all that first night they stayed with us, I was so excited, and completely flabbergasted at this strange turn of events.
They moved in a few weeks later (after completing the school year at their current school). We’ve had lots of highs and lows, victories and challenges, successes and failures. Our adoption was finalized in 2017 and though we’ve only been together a little over 3 years, we know our family was meant to be. It just took a bit of a journey for us to come together.
And that is how we became the Zero2Five Family. Our hope and prayer is that God will use our family to encourage others involved or interested in foster care and adoption. Maybe our family can be the face you need to have the courage to dive in too.
Thank you for reading,