“My childhood sweetheart and I exchanged wedding vows five years ago. We began trying for a baby after only three months. We were overjoyed to be able to fulfill our long-held desire to have a child. We told our family we were trying and were expecting to tell them a few months later that we were pregnant.
We went to the doctor after a few months turned into years and a slew of negative pregnancy tests. I tried various medications and was referred to a fertility specialist. We were both 24 years old at the time. Every step we took, the doctor would say, ‘Well, let’s wait another 6 months!’ You only have time.’ That would irritate me greatly because all I wanted to do was get pregnant and have our own child.
The next step was to conduct more in-depth tests, which would cost thousands of dollars. My husband works in the ministry, so our finances were not the best. We went home, discussed our options, and decided to stop seeing fertility doctors. We would put an end to our attempts to conceive. There were and still are thousands of babies on this planet who do not have a family. We didn’t feel compelled to proceed knowing this. God was directing our steps in a different direction.
When our friends told us about the private infant adoption agency they were using, we decided to look into it. We spoke with that agency over the phone in the summer of 2017 and learned the next steps to raise funds to adopt an infant. We were overjoyed when we told our family, friends, and church family that we were going to expand our family through adoption.
We immediately began the fundraising process. I made my own necklaces, we held an Instagram auction, and we researched grants and other fundraising options. But then one phone call brought our world to a halt.
Some friends from church called: ‘What age are you adopting?’ We assumed they just wanted to know more about what we were doing, so we said, ‘The company we’re going with does infant adoptions, why?’ The next thing they said was something we could never make up. ‘Well, I have some friends that are raising their 12-month-old grandson and are looking for an adoptive family so I told them about you. Would you want to adopt him?’
We said yes right away. We didn’t know what he looked like, where they lived if we could actually adopt him, or anything. But our yes was on the table.
Once we met these grandparents, we found out he was in the foster care system. We didn’t know anything about the system then. We had no idea of the need for loving families.
To adopt this boy, we needed to become licensed foster parents. During the process of training, paperwork, and home studies, we were able to watch this boy over weekends and develop a close bond. After three months around Christmas of 2017, Jonathan moved in with us.
We knew in the foster system, that nothing is final until it’s final, so we had to trust God through the process of unknowns. We had to trust God in allowing Jonathan to become adoptable and then allowing the Judge to grant the adoption. Just 18 months after saying yes to that phone call, we were officially able to adopt Jonathan and give him our last name.
Having Jonathan join our family was like a dream come true. He was an 18-month-old toddler who loved to snuggle, laugh, and play and every day I woke up feeling like I was in my dreams. I finally felt like I was doing what I was made to do. I was finally able to be a mom. A mom who could raise her son!
When we left the courthouse with our still family of five but with one of our sweet kids that had our own last name, Jonny and I were over the moon. We couldn’t stop smiling. We couldn’t stop hugging him. We just couldn’t believe it. After so many tears, struggles, infertility, and heartbreak, we finally had a little boy to call our own. He was ours forever. We were able to set roots and dream of the future together. I was finally able to see myself dancing with him at his wedding and meeting his first child. I could see us watching graduations and celebrating him through every achievement.
Throughout this entire process, our hearts grew for foster care. We wanted to open our home to more children even before the adoption with Jonathan was finalized because we understood the need, especially for sibling groups.
In the Fall of 2018, we told our foster care social workers we wanted to open our empty room up. She moved quickly with the paperwork. It takes a month or two to add more open beds for new children, though. Before the state even accepted our request, we got a call to see if we wanted to foster to adopt a one-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. We were so confused. We were going to foster temporary placements, not adopt permanent ones. But God had different plans.
We knew it was a yes the second she asked. Once we were officially available to accept more children, we met these two precious siblings at the DFCS office. They were in the system for 18 months and their case was being moved over toward adoption, but they didn’t have a family to adopt them.
They moved in with us on Thanksgiving 2018, just 11 months after Jonathan moved into our home. We went from having zero children to three toddlers within a year! Our lives would never be the same.
We grew to like each other over the next year. We learned from one another, trusted one another, stretched and tested one another. In our house, we had three kids who didn’t look alike but they are best friends and knew they were family.
Forward to January 2020, 13 months after our sibling set has moved in. We received a call about their younger sister. She was born and placed in care at the age of three weeks. She was already in a foster home, but they asked if we wanted her because we had her siblings.
We cried, prayed, and said our third yes. We knew taking in an infant was going to be hard with a 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and a newly 5-year-old. We knew we would be tired. We knew our world would turn upside down. But this little baby was just taken from the only woman she knew.
She was placed in a stranger’s home. At least we could bring her to her brother and sister.
So she moved in after three weeks. She became a member of our family, and our lives have never been the same since.
Raising three children from three different backgrounds and with three different traumas was difficult. It was difficult to attend therapy sessions for each child while also having multiple social workers come in and out of the home on a weekly basis.
We were in the ocean, barely above water, grabbing onto any float we could find. Trauma is difficult to overcome. It only takes time and dedication. There would be difficult days, but there would also be wonderful days. Days when we could see a bright future ahead of us.
It’s been chaotic and noisy. It’s been crazy and hectic, but it’s also been beautiful. We’ve seen our children grow and love more. We’ve seen our family come together, and we’ve seen how God has used this to help us grow.
We are still in the thick of foster care. We are on the track to adopting the two older siblings but are still wading the waters with their little sister.
Our kids got closer and closer and it was beautiful to see them love one another. It was beautiful to see them fight for one another. It was beautiful to see my white son compliment my black daughters’ skin color and tell her she has pretty brown skin. I love that they are learning that regardless of what they look like, they are still worthy and beautiful.
Foster care is a heartbreaking place to be. Foster care is only here because people get in bad places and can’t take care of their children. These kids were not mine to start. We will honor their biological families and show them where they came from. We will foster a love for the rest of their lives.”