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.
In 2011, after several miscarriages and having participated in two Ukranian orphan hosting programs, my husband and I decided that we were ready to enter the noble world of adoption. At the time, we had 3 biological children ages 11, 9 and 5.
We chose Chrysalis House as our fost/adopt agency and began our home study process. What an exciting time of anticipation this was for our family! We complied with all of the foster regulations of having first-aid kits and extinguishers on-site, completed our class hours, chose our parameters (for us it was a Caucasian or Hispanic male, 5 or under), and poured over all of the books about adoption that would make us an instant success in parenting a hurt child (I fail to mention that I skipped a few lines in these books, because I was certain that our family was unique from all others and these wouldn’t pertain to us!) Additionally, I was just sure we would be placed within a few weeks of our home study completion….certainly the county social workers would see what a wonderful family we were!
Well, weeks turned to months as our social worker would send us bios every so often, which we would submit our home study on, and I would begin romanticizing about how each child might fit into our family. I believe this is a bit like “nesting,” for prospective adoptive mothers. I was beginning to get restless with all of the waiting. And then we received, “the call,” that we had been chosen for a young boy from a nearby county – who was being taken from a fost/adopt placement that was not working out. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. I remember the day we met him at the park. As he walked up the path with his social worker I remember quite clearly my heart dropping and thinking to myself ever so clearly, “This is not my child!” I played it off to nerves and we sat down and chatted with the social worker and the former foster parents as the kids played. According to the foster parents, the young boy had some anger issues (nothing we couldn’t fix with a little love! Yes, I’m being facetious) and the county social worker seemed eager to place (looking back I see this was a potential red flag). We headed home and for four long days I felt restless and uneasy about the placement. My husband assured me that everything would be fine. Besides, our biological kids liked him… How could I not go along with it? We decided to meet one more time at the park prior to the placement. It was during this second visit that the boy began verbalizing some startling threats…and he was only five. I called Chrysalis House upon returning home and let them know we couldn’t move forward with this match. In short, I came to realize that when county social workers say that a child has anger issues, they might not be referring to a child chucking the leftover bowl of Cheerios onto the floor. Not surprisingly, God used this experience to settle me down and to wait for Him to bring the right child to us.
Close to one year after we had begun the process, I was approached by our Children’s Ministry Director at our church. She asked where we were at with the fost/adoption and asked if we had considered the **** children, who were being brought by their foster grandma each Sunday. “Of course not,” I chuckled, “There’s five of them!” “Just pray about it,” she responded, with a big grin.
And so we did. And God placed it on our hearts that this was what He would have in store for us.
Monday morning I contacted our social worker at Chrysalis house and told her what I knew about the children who were ages 2 to 10 (which wasn’t much information – because foster care has strict rules about privacy). Megan searched the system to no avail. Two weeks passed and our social worker, Kara, called me excitedly, “We found them! They just came up in the system!”
County social workers can be very protective of “their kids,” and rightly so. Kara recognized this and tread lightly as we underwent submitting our home study, proving that we were capable of caring for this many children, and the like. We encountered many roadblocks, but were encouraged and supported by Chrysalis House the entire way (even if they thought we were nutty). The county required that we do a three-month transition time with the children. At the time I saw it as a “cruel & unusual punishment,” but it truly was a perfect plan for allowing the foster kids to get used to the idea of a new home and for us to recover after the long weekends.
It has been two years since the children’s placement in our home and one year since we finalized their adoption. Gone are the days of three therapy sessions a week, standoffs in the bathroom because someone wouldn’t brush their teeth, hours of sitting at the dinner table because another would not eat what was made, or a single child crying fifteen times every day and “stalking” me because they are sure I was going to leave them like everyone else had. (and admittedly, I came to realize that those issues I so arrogantly read about — DID actually pertain me!)
We are not the parents we used to be. We have had to learn to set boundaries and stand behind our words (yes still means yes, but no, no longer means maybe). We have chosen to homeschool the children and we have seen a tremendous improvement in behaviors. The children in our family have blended beautifully and get along quite well. Our adopted children continue to learn how to engage in healthy relationships, regulate their behaviors, work hard and make good personal choices.
We are immensely humbled that God would think that we were worthy of raising eight children. Some days we fail miserably as parents. I have seen sides of myself that I did not know existed prior to adoption: Embarrassing, immature, prideful, and angry sides. Thankfully there is refinement and grace for all of us. We now recognize our home as our missions field and each day we are doing the Lord’s work. And it is hard work. I never imagined I’d have to drive an institution type van, invite people into my dusty floored home, or tell my children to stop calling me Mom because I’d heard it too many times that day. But honestly, the blessings are immeasurable and we know that as long as we are in God’s will, he can make good of all things! (even my poor mommy moments). We wouldn’t change our journey for anything.
For those looking to move forward in adoption I highly recommend reaching out now and getting involved in a support group. City Without Orphans offers many additional resources in the valley, in addition to those classes offered through Chrysalis House. If you are in a marriage, analyze it honestly – is it solid? Marriages often crumble under the pressures of adoption. If you are a believer, guard your bible time. It will be taken from you. Seek respite and renewal. Having something to look forward to and then allowing yourself to be refreshed – is critical to proper parenting. Every adoption journey is unique and yours will be no different. Many blessings!