November is National Adoption Awareness Month. In the spirit of bringing awareness to adoption, our agency mission and the successes of families we serve — we are filling our blog with guest stories throughout this month. Chrysalis House, Inc. believes in the power of sharing experiences and in learning from the stories of others. We present this series, realizing the words might be the insight that an adoptive family, adoptee or birthparent is searching the internet for!
Our sincerest thanks to the families who have put their lives into words. We are still accepting submissions through the month of November! Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please enjoy the story of a family’s: Fost/Adoption. In the event you wish to discuss our Fost/Adopt program, please contact the office at 559.229.9862.
On Becoming A Family of Five
Several years ago, my husband and I made the choice to adopt. After much research we decided upon an international adoption, mainly due to my fears regarding a domestic one. I had seen far too many bad movies and read too many heartbreaking articles concerning adoptive children being legally removed from their new homes to be comfortable with that option…
Having chosen a country and an out of state adoption agency with ties there, we then began our search for a local agency to perform our home study. With a recommendation to try Chrysalis House we made the decision to attend an informational meeting they were soon hosting.
The first two families to speak discussed their foreign and domestic adoptions. The third family had recently adopted three siblings from Shasta County through the foster/adopt program. They spoke so highly of their experience, both with the foster/ adopt program and Chrysalis House, that my husband and I decided to go with Chrysalis as our agency and to look into the foster/adopt program. After talking to others who successfully adopted children from the program, many from Shasta County, we chose to pursue this option instead of an international adoption. We also decided to adopt a sibling pair instead of a single child. After taking a few months to remodel our home, we began to seriously pursue the adoption.
The process was completed in early February when Stephanie, our social worker, performed our Home Study. Although I had been dreading this part of the process she made it so easy and comfortable for us. I will never forget the conversation we had with her when she finished the study. We were sitting at the dining room table when she asked if we would ever considered adopting three siblings. My husband and I looked at each other and shared one of those silent moments of communication that sometimes occur between spouses then we turned to Stephanie and said, “yes.” It just seemed so natural and right.
We spent the next week looking through the profiles giddy with the thought of finding “our” children. We read the overview of 3 children we found to be adorable and let Stephanie know we were interested in them. Two days later we attended a family fair outside of San Francisco where we spoke to the sibling’s social worker and found out they had already been placed. I was extremely disappointed but my husband reminded me that adoption was a process that took time. Peggy and Stephanie cautioned me not to expect it to happen overnight. One week later we were sent the profiles of three more siblings, minus photographs, and decided these children would be a good fit for our family.
Stephanie contacted their social worker in Shasta County and that weekend we made the 5 hour trip to meet them. The moment we met all five of us seemed to know it was meant to be. The kids responded to us so naturally and their foster mom and one of their social workers felt we were doing so well they should spend the night with us in our hotel.
The weekend was a huge success and we left, very reluctantly, knowing these were OUR children. Over the next two weeks we phoned them every night, e-mailed them through their wonderful foster mom and sent photos. It was the longest two weeks of our lives. When the next weekend came we made the return trip to be with our kids. When we picked them up they were ecstatic to see us and their foster mom told us they had obviously missed us. She also said she didn’t know how they would react to our leaving.
The night before we were scheduled to leave I knew I couldn’t leave them, especially since our 4 year old son had undergone outpatient surgery that morning and didn’t want me out of his sight. That evening their foster mom told me she had spoken to their social workers. She told them she felt the kids were ready to be with us and, in her opinion, were going to be harmed by our leaving. She urged me to call and talk to them as well. I did and asked if we could possibly bring them home sooner than the three months they had told us it would take. I was told they would discuss the matter with their supervisor and we could talk about it the next morning at our scheduled meeting.
The next day we arrived at the meeting hoping to be told we could bring them home by the end of March. After giving the social workers a report on our visit we asked when we would be allowed to bring them home. We were shocked to be told we could take them with us that morning. When we asked the children if they wanted to come home with us and be a forever family they screamed yes and started jumping up and down. It was one of the happiest days of our lives. On March 3rd, two weeks after meeting our three beautiful children for the first time, we brought them to our home. Eight months later their birth parent’s parental rights have been terminated and we are just waiting for the adoption to be finalized. It has been easier, and harder, than we ever expected. The process was a breeze thanks to everyone at Chrysalis House, especially Stephanie, but our adjustment as a family is an ongoing process that has its ups and downs.
We are so very grateful to the staff of Chrysalis House and our children’s social workers in Shasta County, for helping make our dream a reality. All of my fears regarding a foster adoption were baseless and the rewards have been immeasurable! Our family is happy and the bonding process is going well. Our children, Avery (7), Grant (4), and Olivia (2) are thriving and coming into their own. We couldn’t ask for more.
-Robert and Sasha
***Family Names have been changed to preserve Confidentiality.