A foster to adopt story.
Every little girl's dream is to grow up and be a mom. Mine wasn’t any different. After 10 years of trying to conceive and 10 years of negative pregnancy tests, it was time to do something different. We weren’t getting any younger. The fertility consultation offered tests to be ran, pokes, prods, and about a 33% chance of results. That meant a 77% chance that it wouldn’t work! I didn’t see why I would put myself through that for a 77% chance of nothing.
My husband Jared and I discussed our options and we both felt a calling to become foster parents. We both felt very led to help local kids rather than adopting domestically through an agency or adopting Internationally. Our hopes were to adopt a child who was in need of a forever family.
I walked in to the local DFS office and requested to fill out paperwork to become a foster parent. They took my name and number and said someone would get back with us. After about a week, we got a call that a case worker would like to come to our house, talk with us, and bring out some paperwork.
Becoming a foster parent was a lot of work. It takes a personal commitment to complete and stay motivated in the process. Background checks, fingerprinting, physicals, paperwork, home inspections, 9 weeks of 3 hour classes 30 minutes away from home, more paperwork, more home inspections, countless do’s and don’ts.
I often prayed, “God, is this really MY calling?”
Monday, May 11, 2015 we finally, after 4 months, got the call that we officially would become foster parents. Our case worker said she’d be out the next day for us to sign the final paperwork, it’d take about 5 minutes, we’d sign and she’d be on her way.
When fostering you, your life, and your house are an open book. You get really used to appointments and people being in & out often. It becomes your new norm.
About 1 hour later, the phone rings. It’s our case worker...again. She wants to know if I have a minute to talk. She has a 6 month old baby boy and wants to know if we are ready to start our journey.
A BABY?! WHAT?! After asking several questions, I ask her to give me 30 minutes. I need to pray. I need to call Jared. Deep in my soul, I knew I was going to say yes, I just needed to make sure it was right.
15 minutes later, I called her back. “We’ll take him.”
She says, “I’ll bring him with me tomorrow when I bring your license, have a good night!”.
Is this for real?! I don’t have ANYTHING for a baby! First call is to my sister. She immediately meets me at Walmart. I don’t know what a baby needs other than the essentials, but what if I need something more? Next I called my friend Jaime, I needed a baby bed and I knew she had one that she wasn’t using. I traded an elliptical, that rarely got used for much more than a glorified laundry basket, for the baby bed. I also needed a car seat and knew my friend Tana would probably have one, and she did. Our Monday night was crazy!
WE WERE GETTING A BABY! God was answering my 10+ years of prayer!
Tuesday May 12, 2015 is the day that forever changed my life. I woke up with the most excited nervous feeling. Our case worker would be arriving around 3:30pm. It seemed like it took days for 3:30 to come. Then, after hours of pacing, cleaning already clean things, pacing some more... she pulls in. I didn't know if I should throw up, cry, or smile. Most people have 40 weeks to prepare for a baby, we had 24 hours (which when you're a Foster Parent is a long time!).
I walked outside to meet her. She hands him to me and I instantly fell in love. I brought him in and gave him to Jared as I helped her get his bags out of the car. The smile on Jared's face was priceless. We signed a paper, she went over a few things, and then it was just us and him.
The fear this baby must have felt. Another new place. Another set of strangers. But he didn't show it. He was immediately smiling as much as we were.
What would our family think! We had to tell them we got a baby, but not to get attached because we didn't know how long we would get to take care of him. That night we went to my brother Noah's 8th grade graduation and the look on my family's face was priceless. After the graduation we went to dinner with my sister Amanda, her husband Paul, and their son Parker. We then went to share the news with Russell & Joan, Jared’s grandparents. Jared walks in holding him and they got so excited! We visited a while and headed home.
Over 10 years waiting and finally it’s just us and a baby. We played and took a bath. He loved the water. Now for... bed time. This baby had a history of not sleeping. I was so nervous. I rocked him to sleep and the first night at our house he slept all night!
I remember waking up and checking on him several times that first night!
The weeks and months that followed brought visits with his caseworker, quarterly court dates, FST Meetings, scheduled visits with bio-mom. As time went on we could see Termination of Parental Rights was a possibility. That means we could seek adoption soon after.
A Termination of Parental Rights Hearing was scheduled for February 3, 2016. Before a foster adoption can become official we had to run an “ad” in the paper to basically see if anyone came forth to claim our little guy before he could be adopted. We also had to make sure he was living with us 6+ months, and attend another series of classes, called Spaulding classes, before we were eligible to be adoptive candidates for him.
Our Adoption Hearing was scheduled for August 3, 2016. The longest 6 months of my life, but no one came forth, no one filed against us, and so on August 3, 2016 the Judge saw fit for “Mighty” to become our son forever.
Our case wasn’t your average foster adopt case. Our wait time from start to finish was faster than the average foster adoption, but bio mom only did 4 out of 79 possible visits. No bio dad to fight for rights. After meeting with us and seeing the love we had for this little boy the bio aunt stepped down from the case with her approval. She still checks in occasionally, and we welcome that connection.
While Fostering to Adopt isn’t for everyone. I’m forever grateful that God called us to it, and only He knows what lies ahead in our future!