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 hope to fill 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 seeking & accepting submissions through the month of November! Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Below, 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. ****************************************************************
My husband and I took quite awhile to get through the home study process, about 2 years from start to finish because of having to work around my husband’s military deployments and having to start over and renew things …once or twice. Needless to say, we were very eager to finally get our little one (who we’d been wondering about and visualizing for all this time) once we finally did get our home study done.
We had been in the waiting/matching stage for about six months, looking at profiles and waiting to hear back with our fingers crossed, but none of them were meant to be with us. We had been feeling like we were so ready and wondering what the Universe was waiting for, but it turned out to be the perfect timing. We got an email via Ashley, from a social worker in Santa Cruz County who had seen our home study and was interested in us for a little 6 year old girl who needed to be re-homed from her current foster family, whom were relatives. We were asked whether we wanted to submit for her and make a fairly quick decision.
We got very little information on her (first name, ethnicity, no health or developmental issues), but from what we saw we didn’t have any concerns with her, so we said we wanted to submit. We heard back from the social worker that there was one other family she was looking at, and that she wanted to meet with both of us in a few weeks. We had never gotten as far as being asked to attend a disclosure before, so we were hopeful that we had a good chance of being chosen for this girl, but tried not to get too excited as we waited for this meeting. (Although I do recall us saying to each other on the way there “Let’s go get us a kid!”).
We met with the social worker and her CASA worker and learned as much about this girl as they were able to tell us. L was 6, removed from her birth parents for neglect reasons, and had been in a couple of foster homes over the last two years. The current home was meant to be permanent, but just wasn’t working out. The social worker made it very clear that she didn’t want to move her again, so if we said yes, we had to be serious about it. She also shared that she had ruled out the other family we had heard she was considering, and that made us sit up and say “wait, does that mean that if we want her, we get her?” We were in a shocked state from that point -until it had finally happened!
From everything the social worker told us, she seemed perfect for us and there were no issues she told us about that made us have any doubts about her. She made us think it over for 24 hours before we gave a definite answer, but of course we said yes– she was everything we’d been hoping for! We didn’t tell anyone at that point, because we wanted to meet her first so we had more to tell our family. In one week a meeting was set for a meeting at a park. We were so nervous and excited as we saw her climb out of her Aunt and Uncle’s car and we locked eyes for the first time.
She was so adorable and it was love at first sight! At that point she didn’t know that she was going to be leaving her current home or that we were going to be her parents, so we were introduced as friends of the social worker by our first names. She seemed to warm up to us though and she made us run all over the park with her – she had so much energy! With the foster parents we arranged to come a few days later to spend a little time with her alone (we worked on her homework with her and took her to Burger King for dinner after). Our next step was to spend the weekend in their town with her, which was a 2 hour drive away from where we lived. We had a mid-week visit with her after that, then we brought her to our house for the weekend, then another mid-week visit before we got to bring her home for good.
It was about 3 weeks from the time we knew we were matched with her – until she came home with us, which were incredibly crazy and busy (between working, getting her room ready for her, and getting to know her)! We were so thrilled to finally bring her home with us for good in late October. Over the next few months we discovered what it was like to hit the ground running as brand new parents with a 6 year old, and discovering all the ways we needed to nurture her unique needs as a result of her past. It was definitely a learning process, and still is. We had the holidays together (We loved seeing the look on her face on Christmas morning and tried to establish family traditions as well as honoring some of her own from past Christmases she remembered).
There had been some question of whether we would be able to finalize the adoption at exactly 6 months as her birth parents were appealing their rights being terminated, but come April of the next year, the legal process for the appeal concluded and we were asked to come up and sign all the paperwork for finalization to be submitted in May. It was looking like there wasn’t going to be an open court date in May, but we got a last minute opening on May 30th.
On that day we all got dressed up and dragged some close friends and family along, and we had a touching, personal ceremony conducted by the judge who had been overseeing her case all along, and L became legally and forever part of our family! It was an amazing day and we took a picnic to the beach with everyone, after the ceremony.
We are all so thrilled and we love her with all of our hearts. We are a very happy family!