"Becoming a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am happy to once again be a part of National Adoption Day. We were matched with our daughter through the U.S. foster care system, and my goal is to share information about the more than 120,000 foster care children in this country who are waiting for a family."
-Nia Vardalos, writer & actress, 2010 National Adoption Day Spokesperson
The very best place for a child to be is in a family. Unfortunately, there are many children who are cannot safely live with their parents. When relatives and kin are unable to provide a temporary home for these children, foster parents become the temporary family for them. Sometimes children will never be able to return home and live safely with their parent.s Adoptive parents become the permanent family for many of these children.
-AZ DES website
123,000 U.S. children are in foster care, waiting to be adopted. They have been removed from their homes as victims of child abuse, neglect or abandonment and are left without a family.
-Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption website
In Arizona, as of September 2009, over 10,000 children were placed in out-of-home care as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment.
-AZ DES website
Our journey through adoption was not easy. But, not many things in life that are worthwhile come easy.
After years of being unable to conceive, Andrew and I decided to pursue foster adoption. We began to jump through the proverbial hoops. Along the way we encountered countless, ignorant questions and comments. Here were the most common:
Q: Won't it be hard if a child placed in your home goes back to their parents?
A: Um, duh. It's a chance we were willing to take.
Q; What if you get a child with special needs?
A: What if the child you give birth to has special needs?
Q; Why don't you just have your own child?
A: Thanks. I hadn't thought of trying that.
So, there we were trying to navigate the bureaucracy of obtaining foster care licensing getting to smile, nod, and answer dumb questions. Then trouble began.
Just after finishing our required classes and most of the paperwork involved, the agency we were using lost their funding. We were left to find another agency with which to continue the process. Add to this the emotional vulnerability I had already experienced in wanting a child, I gave up. We packed up our home study and piles of paperwork and took a step back to regroup.
About 6 months later, after processing our personal thoughts and what we now know as some signs from God, we got back on the horse, so to speak. Our foster care license was issued on January 24, 2008. Less than a month later, we were sitting in the CPS office holding David for the first time.
It took 19 months and 1 week to adopt that boy. It was a long and frustrating process. Mostly because we had to sit idly by waiting for the government to decide the birth parents were not fit.
The call from CPS to pick-up David was the only one we ever got. He was placed in our home just 3 weeks after being licensed. Had we ever conceived a child, we would not have David. Had we gotten licensed sooner, he may have never been ours. There is no denying that this was God's plan. There was no denying that this was meant to be.
It was a few months after the adoption that I was asked by a friend if I would ever do it again. My answer that night was no. My answer now is yes. We are no longer foster care licensed, and we now have our hands full with our active toddler, but I don't think we are done yet. God has already used us in a powerful way. He answered the spoken prayers we had for child to love, and He answered the unspoken prayers of a baby that needed a family. We will continue to raise our little boy to be a God-loving young man. We'll see what God has in store for us next. So far, it's been an interesting ride. Buckle-up!