Placement Day 01.21.2014
Last month I was approached by the director of marketing for the Dave Thomas Foundation. She asked if we would share our adoption story for future Wendy's Wonderful Kids promotions in Wendy's restaurants in central Indiana. I love sharing our stories of adoption. Of course I knew I had to participate and support this incredible opportunity to encourage others in their adoption journeys.
First Overnight Visit, December 2013
In the early spring of 2013 I sat at my desk in our schoolroom one day in our rental house near Greenwood, Indiana. Our three seventh graders were working quietly on their school work while I worked at my desk. I took a break from my work and flipped through Facebook for a minute. While I was there I was compelled to click on a link to the AdoptUSKids.org website. Soon I was scrolling through a list of children eligible for adoption through foster care. I looked around me at the huge house we had been blessed with and was overcome by the knowledge that we had it within our power to do more than we were currently doing. I paused on the profile of a sibling group and thought…with just a few tweaks we could adopt again. Just need a little bigger vehicle, a couple sets of bunk beds. It was totally doable. My girls noticed I was teary and sniffing and they asked me what was wrong? I said, what would you think about adopting again?
Fast forward to the late summer that year. David and I had finished up our foster care/adoption home study. Our family had been Special Needs Adoption Program certified. David and I had already interviewed for one sibling group of three…but there were several families that were interviewing for that group. We were in ‘wait and see’ mode. I went out to the mailbox that day and had a little packet from a Wendy’sWonderful Kids recruiter. She introduced herself and congratulated us on this big decision to grow our family through adoption. She also included a number of short biographies of current WWK children and encouraged us to read through them and see if we felt any sparks. I flipped through the pages. Most of them were single adoptions. All were older children with varying medical and or behavioral issues. One page stood out to me. Two little brothers who loved Legos, Star Wars and Star Trek. As I’m telling myself there is NO WAY, I picked up my phone and called our WWK recruiter. I remember leaving her a voice mail and telling her we wanted more information about Elijah and Nate.
Emails were exchanged. Our recruiter sent me pictures and videos. In one of the videos Elijah was holding a few Legos that he had fashioned into the shape of the starship Enterprise. His foster Mom was asking what characters he liked on the shows and he said: “I love all the Captains. All the heroes.” We are huge Star Trek fans, and that kinda cemented it for me. Their WWK recruiter tried to explain to us as best she could about their challenges, medications, doctors and background. We made an appointment to meet with the boys’ team including their CASA and their case worker. We found out later that the boys had been eligible for adoption for a couple of years. They had been through eight previous foster homes and two failed pre-adoptive placements. Their challenges were many, behaviorally and educationally. David and I walked out of that meeting that day and said to each other…These boys need us. If not us, who? If not now, when? We knew the other sibling group we had interviewed for had several other families interested. The boys did not have that luxury. David and I both felt convicted this was what we were to do.
Visits were initiated pretty quickly after that. We had the boys for overnight weekend visits for 4-5 weeks and then a longer visit over several days at Christmas. Our placement date was MLK day in January 2014. We never looked back. Every month the boys’ CASA and case worker would make visits to us. Every month they would look deep into my eyes and ask me how things were going? I would tell them the truth. The challenges. The sweet moments. The homework struggles. Every month I think they were looking to see if or when we were going to cry ‘uncle’ and try to escape our commitment. I didn’t see that as an option then. I only had one goal in site: Finalization. In November of that year we finalized their adoption on National Adoption Day. November 21st, 2014. It was on that cold and drizzly day just before Thanksgiving that we officially became a family of seven.
Anniversary of D, B and HJ's placement July 1, 2017
photo courtesy of Martin Walker at http://martywalkerimages.zenfolio.com/