Not Our Plan: A fost/adopt story

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November was National Adoption Awareness Month, and belatedly we are presenting the Grand Finale of our guest stories. Our sincerest thanks to the families who put their lives into words in order to bring awareness to this wonderful work we do.

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.

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Since the day we got married, we’ve always wanted to have a family of our own. To have a little one, or three, to love; to pass down our family traditions; to teach him, her, or them our values, morals, and faith.

We had a plan. For many years we had “tried” with no success. Though we were happy being just the two of us, like so many others, we felt something was missing. We hoped that someday our dream of becoming parents would come true. We tried many things, including fertility treatments and even some unorthodox forms of treatments that we won’t get into here. We planned that someday, it would happen. Through tests, we found we were both able to have children, so we just kept at it. We believed God would let us get pregnant, he had to, we knew he would, and there was no way that God would not extend our family. We knew we could count on God to give us what we wanted. That was our plan.

So often, we became obsessed with trying to make our dreams come true that we forgot that the best, and most important, thing to do is to put it all in God’s hands. After all, His plan is always better. It’s the one that always comes to fruition.

So here we are, our 4th and 5th times being 29 years old (yep, going to stay 29 forever) and still no children. We were beginning to believe that God wanted us to be modern day Abraham and Sarah (see Genesis 17-21). We stopped trying. We told people we guessed it was not God’s plan for us to have children. We gave it to Him. It was out of our hands. We were hurt. We were scared. We had no idea what was coming, right around the corner, just out of sight. His plan. It ambushed us. Like a thief in the night.

One day, the husband’s sister sat us down, along with his mother and grandmother and gave us some very great, life-changing news. We learned she was pregnant and that she wanted us to adopt the child. We were thrilled and knew that this must be what God wanted us to do. We accepted. Our new plan, this time, involved God through prayer. Lots of prayer.

We attempted to figure out which forms were needed to be filled out and filed with which department. We ended up frustrated; heard the stories about how long the adoption paperwork would take to get through “the system”; began to see the red tape involved with an adoption. In August of 2013, we decided to go ahead and try an adoption agency and the best part of our brains (that would be the wife) found and brought to the OTHER part of our brains (the husband) information on several agencies. She had heard of one, in particular, that had been recommended by a close family friend and therefore we decided to contact them. That was our first time dealing with Chrysalis House, Inc., but it would not be our last.

 

Being that this was middle to late August, and the mother of our nephew was due in late September or early October, they motivated us to fast track the paperwork and made sure we had everything set for the home study report. By very early October, we had the paper work completed and the home study done. Our nephew was born just a few days later. Yay! Finally, we were parents. We were presented with “our son” immediately after he was born. We were allowed to name him, and knew just what to name him, since one of our older nephews from a different sister (-in-law) had given him a name early on in the pregnancy. We took him home the next day.

The hours became days, the days turned into weeks. The birth mother had a lot of contact with us and the baby. She was at our home just about every day since we brought him home. We saw it coming. Knew it was going to happen. Others kept telling us it would happen. But how can you even come close to being prepared for WHEN it happens? Four weeks to the day after his birth, the birth-mother had decided that she wanted him back.

Giving him back was surprisingly, both the easiest thing to do – as well as the hardest thing we’d ever done. The easiest since we saw her attachment and the heartbreak she went through to give him to us in the first place. The hardest, since it was now our hearts that were more than broken. They were shattered. Our world turned upside down. It was devastation we had never known before.

The other part of our brain (husband) was surprisingly the strong one in this time. He was the one who grew the most attached to the nephew. He was home every day of the 4 weeks with our nephew. He was the one who was there when the birth-mother decided to take him. He was the one who wanted to stop her from taking him, but knew there was nothing within his power to stop it. He let the infant go to his birth-mother, knowing that although the baby was not going to be his son, it would still be our nephew. We would still watch him grow up into a young man. Somehow that made it better, and at the same time, much worse. How could we see the baby, the one we thought would be ours, grow up in front of our eyes, and not feel hurt? Not experience the same pain of him being taken from us all over again, every single time we would see him as he got older? Knowing what we went through to keep him, and still lost him? Even to this day, it brings tears to our eyes thinking about it. Our other part of our brain (husband) was the one who gave our sister (-in-law) the forgiveness first. Although she never asked for it, (or at least not at the time) he forgave her and asked God to help him to follow through with the forgiveness. It was the day after his sister (-in-law) made her decision to keep the baby. A lot of people couldn’t believe that he had forgiven her so quickly, so completely. But after he forgave her, he did just that. He kept in contact with her, on the phone, via text message, on one of those social networking websites, and in person, once or twice. His heartbreak was complete, and so was his forgiveness. It took a little bit longer (but not too much longer), for his BETTER half to give that same forgiveness, but once she was there, we knew we were ready to attempt adoption one more time. We knew what it was to go through the worst & we were stronger for it. But we also knew one more chance at adoption meant one more chance at breaking our hearts. We prayed.

About 2½ months went by before we were ready to journey forward with another attempt. This time it was not going to be a relative adoption. We contacted our social worker from Chrysalis House, Inc. and we went over the types of adoptions we could do. Less than a week later, we received a call about a newborn who was needing a home. By the time we contacted them back, another family had been chosen for the newborn. Another couple of days passed and we received information that a placement worker from another county had requested more information on us. Our complete documentation was sent to the placement worker by C.H.I. and we crossed our fingers. The next day our social worker contacted us and asked if we wanted to meet with the child. We, of course, said yes and scheduled an appointment for one week later. That was one of the longest weeks in the history of the world….or for us, anyway.

We were instructed to bring a car-seat, diaper bag, etc., just in case. We made the couple-of-hours journey to meet the child. Since almost none of this adoption journey had gone our way and we’d had only heartbreak, we decided to not get our hopes up… less they be dashed, once again. Of course, how could we not have a little hope? We arrived a few minutes early and met with our social worker. Walking in together, our anticipation grew. We first met with the placement worker who was the one who had originally requested our complete information. She was seemingly pleasant and walked us through the child’s detailed, but short, history. The child was only 1 day shy of 4 months old, yet he had already been through quite a rough time. He was born prematurely and drug exposed and had some residual and noticeable side-effects, that still presented themselves from time to time. We were accepting of his special needs and vowed to love him just the same. We found out that his birth-mother was killed in a violent, intentional way and that his biological father was unknown. Of course, we were scared that if the father was “unknown,” he could eventually come and claim him before the adoption was finalized. The birth-mother’s family could also file the intent-to-adopt paperwork, and potentially receive custody after placement. So many what-ifs were in the way… and yet we still hadn’t even met the baby.

A few more minutes went by and a couple walk in with HIM. We were presented with the baby and our two halves became just two thirds. We knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this very handsome little angel staring right at us, with a beady little grin on his large, round, perfect face, was God’s gift to us. For even though we had our doubts, God did not.

From what we had heard, we would likely have to meet with the child approximately 3 times before we would be able to take him home to live with us. We were expecting that and it came as a shock, even though we knew it was a possibility, when the foster parents who brought him in to us said goodbyes to him and left the room.

We have stayed friends with this family throughout the adoption and they’ve told us that when they dropped him off that day, they knew by how we looked at him and him at us, that we were meant for each other. Both of our families accepted him wholeheartedly, as if he was ours, biologically. He does, after all, look 100% like his new mommy and acts 100% like his new daddy. Many times, people have gone so far to say that even though he looks like mommy, he has his daddy’s genes.

Now, I could say the story ends there, but as with all adoptions, the story is still in the beginning. This was one of the longest 6 months we’d have to endure. Early into the placement, the birth-mother’s parents had filed paperwork stating their intention of adopting him. Our hearts sank and we ALMOST wanted to sever the bond that had formed. But the bond was, of course, too strong and it wasn’t his fault anyway. We couldn’t have broken it if we wanted it. We were completely his. The next few weeks went by and we were told that his grandparents had withdrew their petition. Wow. We don’t know why they did it, but they did. The bond was too strong to let him go, but we had prayed that if the day came where we would, that He would give us the strength, because at that time, we could not see being able to. Our love of this child, our son, was too strong.

Several more months went by, and the 6 month mark came along, and we waved to it as it went by. We were dreary of the waiting and filled with anticipation of the finalization hearing in front of the judge. What if the judge says no? What if the father found out and filed before he was legally, and permanently, ours? What if…? What if…? Once again…We had our doubts, again. Of course we trusted in God, for He knows His plan. But we aren’t God and don’t “know” with complete certainty what His plan had in store for us. We felt that our son was ours forever, and we did put our trust in Him. Even with our trust in God’s hands, we still had the recent pain of loss from the year before, and it tore at us.

The hearing day came, and the “husband” ended up being ill. He got up several times during the night to hug the porcelain throne. We originally thought it was from him being nervous or just stress, but it ended up being a bug that several others in our families had been sharing. We still packed what was required and made the couple-of-hours journey, once again, to the same area that we first met our son, even passing by the same building. We were scheduled to be there at 1 PM and arrived a few minutes early. Several families, both large and small, went in before us to see the judge. Most came out crying with sadness, or fear, and only one (or maybe two) with tears of joy. This scared us, of course. We didn’t know their situations and we could only make up the reasons why they were crying. Were they here for the same reasons we were, but for a different child? Were any of them here for the SAME child? We were getting scared. Once our name was called, you know, an eternity later, we entered into the courtroom with all of our families in tow. We had several members from both sides of our families in our entourage. We also had our son’s county social workers and our social worker from Chrysalis House, Inc. with us.

The judge very pleasantly made the session very short and sweet. She said she didn’t get to do this very often and didn’t see a reason to not to grant the adoption. She officially supported the adoption. We thought from then on that our son, this blessed little angel, was ours. Boy were we WRONG!

It’s been a little over a month since the finalization hearing. We have found in that short period of time that he is not ours. Not by a long shot. We are HIS!

We didn’t know what God’s plan had in store for us or we would have let Him lead us much sooner. But of course, even that wasn’t part of God’s plan. God made us ready when He knew our son would need us. The previous foster parents were great, showed him the love we couldn’t show him yet due to our loss, and when all of us were ready, God brought our families together and introduced our son to us at the perfect time in all of our lives.

When our first adoption failed, we realized we needed time with just the two of us in order to heal. To allow us to get to a place that we would and could risk another adoption. We had to realize that they were NOT there for us, but we were there for them. We had to be wholeheartedly into it for them. There would be pain, but with God, we could endure. We learned how to trust Him. We thought we knew how, before our first attempt. We were ignorant.

We found that not only did we need time to heal from our loss before being able to open up and accept a new child, but the foster family, that had him from birth, was being healed through the first four months of his life from a loss of their own.

Something to add about God’s great plan, we have come to realize that we would not have even started the adoption journey without the husband’s sister providing us with the push we needed in order to get our foster care licensing done which made us eligible to adopt. Yes, we went through some of the most terrible pain we had ever imagined, but we made it through. Without that pain, we would not have been in the place where we could legally adopt our son. His placement worker would not have seen our information, and he would not have been placed with us. We would have never had known him.

In our journey, God used Chrysalis House, Inc. to help us through the process and to help us maintain our sanity. We cannot thank everyone enough who was involved with the adoption, especially God! We learned it was Not Our Plan that was the best, but God’s Plan. Within this plan, every “i” was dotted and every “t” crossed. It is perfect and complete.

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