Category Archives: Adoption

Reflection: March 18, 2010

Reflection:  March 18, 2010

 

Reflection: March 18, 2010.  As I sit here, in my living room, looking out my window at this amazing day that the Lord has made…..I am thinking “what is my baby doing today?” Is he healthy, is he hungry, is he playing…who is loving on him at this moment? Does he know that his forever family is constantly thinking of him and praying for him?

I hear my children laughing and I know that there is a little voice that is missing and I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. Soon…soon…I will be seeing my beautiful rainbow family running through the yard playing with friends or other families. Making my life even more chaotic than it already is and loving every moment.

Will my quiver be full, in my finite mind after this little one joins our family? Who knows. I’m ready, I’m willing and my arms will always be open to whomever God decides to place with us. As tired as I get and as frustrated as I get…this is my mission field.

This is my joy and going/doing/mending/cooking/cleaning/errands. I love it. Some women are called to be great corporate giants. I’m a giant, alright…when I snap, they move 🙂 This is my purpose. Being a wife and a mother to many. This is what my God has called me to do. Praise be to him.

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Remembering: October 2010-December 2011

The WaitingChild'sLullabye (2).png

Remembering: October 2010-December 2011.  What a beautiful and horribly difficult this season of my life was…and not just for me.  This was difficult on my husband and my children, as well.  Our journey to bringing home Jude was one of the most sanctifying events of my life, personally.
6 Years Home
This year, 2018, marks 6 years our son has been with us.  This means he has been with us one year longer than he was with his “brown mommy.”  My heart almost bursts with this knowledge.
I know this time grieves sweet Tadelech, but it brings us such joy.  My joy was caused by another mama’s pain.  It really is a double-edged sword.  I’m so thankful to her for giving him life and for loving him well.  I am so grateful that she chose to give him life a second time by sacrificing her desires to raise him to allow us to raise him.
Small Series
For the next several posts, I will be posting short snippets of our adoption story.  These are from an old blog that I had, and I want to keep the memories fresh and alive.  There are still things I cannot see/watch because it brings up so many emotions for me.
I will not share the story of my Jude, as to why he came to us, but the journey it took us to get him.  We went to Ethiopia in October 2011.  There, we officially adopted him and was granted our adoption, through this beautiful country.  We came home, and we were scheduled to go and pick him up in December 2011.
The day after we got home, we received a letter from the US Embassy.  It was a letter informing us that we COULD NOT bring him home.  It was a confusing and hard time.  I’m not here to place blame on anyone.  We have forgiven those that caused this trauma, and that will not be spoken of.  I have no desire to drag anyone’s business/name through the mud.
But God
I will tell you that it took the army of Jesus Himself to guide us throughout this process.  We chose not to take NO for an answer, and we fought hard.  Clearly, after being told that it was IMPOSSIBLE to win this fight…we WON!  God won!  He receives ALL honor and glory.  His Name is magnified, not ours.
We are so thankful for the people who came alongside us and prayed on our behalf because we were not strong enough.  Matt Keller.  I will never forget you telling me, in church, that Jude WAS coming home.  Jesus spoke through you.  FMBC Women’s Ministry, Emily Miller for organizing and doing EVERYTHING for a yard sale that yielded us $3000 in 1.5 days.  Our international adoption attorney, our new (at the time) home study agency, my mom, my family, just so many people.
Enjoy this series…it is going to be healing, after all these years to look back on God’s glory instead of the pain.

The Waiting Child’s Lullabye

The Waiting Child's Lullabye

The Waiting Child’s Lullabye is one of those poems that gets me right in the feels.

The Waiting Child’s Lullabye

KISSES IN THE WIND

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that’s how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are… what’s taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin…
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I’m doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you’ll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

— © Pamela Durkota, written for Josh

Related Posts:

The Prophecy and the Call

Wonder From the Eyes of the Typical

Wonder From the Eyes of the Typical

Wonder From the Eyes of the Typical kid has inched its way into my brain.  I use the words “typical” and “atypical” in very loose terms.  For example, I may say my “typical” child did this or that meaning my biological child.  Now, I do not want to hear that I’m pitting my biological kids against my adopted children because that is crap.  I love them all the same.

In my world, there are no “typical” kids or people.  We are all a bit screwy from time to time.  That is what makes the world an interesting place to live.  Not being all alike, it gives places flavor and personality.

My Reason

My reason for using that terminology is because of the movie “Wonder” that I watched last night.  You can find a Christian review on this film at Plugged in Online to learn more about the different content of this movie.

They used the word “typical” in the film while referencing their oldest daughter, Via.  Their youngest son, Auggie, was born with a deformity.  He, too, was a biological child.  For the most part, I enjoyed this movie, though it hurt my heart.

My Thoughts

This movie did not depict the strain that raising a medically fragile child can have on a marriage.  The ‘parents’ seemed to get along great and there didn’t seem to be underlying anger/hurt/resentment towards one another.

That, right there, is why this is a movie and not real life.

Raising children with special needs, whether that is mental, physical, life-altering, terminal, etc. has a great deal of strain on any couple.  This is whether they are married, co-parenting, etc.  It is difficult.  I know why people do not stay married.  The all-consuming nature of special needs children is just that, all-consuming.

The Typical Child

What I feel they were pretty spot-on with is the feelings of the older daughter.  The child in the shadows.  The child you just let skate on and upward with because they know not to make waves.  These children have learned to problem solve, maintain, stay calm on the outside when their insides are screaming.

Guilt sets in.

Watching this movie had me thinking about my ‘typical’ kids and what all they have seen/heard throughout the years.  The pain is unbearable at the thought that I have swooshed them under the rug because I was busy putting out fires of my ‘atypical’ kids.

My kids needs range from minor to major things.  We have dealt with everything from Dyslexia to Mild Mental Deficit.  Splash in Reactive Attachment Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Deafness, and Ataxia Telangiectasia Like Disorder.  You will have my kids in a nutshell.

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

My kids have seen SO much over the years.  I’m so blessed that they are so aware of God and follow (mostly) in His forgiving ways.  To think back, it makes me shudder to remember the looks on their faces when the violence would ensue.

I can still hear the still, small voices saying “mama stop” when I had had enough.  The fear that would splash across their faces when one child would rage for hours on end.  This child destroyed anything and anybody in the path of the tornado rage that was bearing down on us.

My kids didn’t have anyone over, it was not safe at times.  They saw me cry more times than I can count.  I have learned, over the years, to be mindful of catching my emotions before they run amuck.

Did I lose track of them, in those years?  Was there too long of a delay before I had had my belly full?  Did my other children go unnoticed because of the acts/behaviors of one or two kids?

Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear

The things my kids have heard are horrible.  The threats, the evil that has been spewed out, the anger that flows like lava…they have heard it all.  One day, in the midst of a storm (figurative not literal), I noticed my son.  God love him, he was corraling the other children to the back of the house.

What I realized, that day, was that he was moving them to safety.  He wanted to protect their little eyes and their little ears from all that was going down.  It was that moment that I took control back.

No more was I going to let Satan rule my house.  I was done, oh so done.  Everything that I was “taught” to do by the so-called foster care rules, my church, my family, friends, other caregivers, therapists, and doctors…nothing worked.

It was time that I saw the other little faces and I put a stop to the insanity that had ruled my home, mind, and heart for too long.  I began to stop seeking approval from those that did not have my family’s best interest in mind.  There were no more doctors, medications, therapists…I was done.

James 4:7

Submit to God.  Resist the devil.  He will flee.”  This was the verse that I would chant while the world raged around me.  We made tough decisions in regards to one of our children.  A decision that I tried to back out of, but my family and my physician said it was for the best.  Tough decisions are the hardest ones to make, but also are necessary for survival, sometimes.

Reflecting on our past 12 years is not all a bad thing.  I have to be mindful to capture the thoughts that are not of God and put them in the place they should be in.  He knew, from the beginning of time, the children that I would have and He has made perfect provisions for each of them.  I’m so thankful that He has guarded the hearts of our typical and our atypical kids from remembering everything.

Hang tough, fellow mamas in the trenches…God has our backs!

 

Making Peace With the Past

Making Peace With the Past

Man…those are heavy words.  Making peace with the past.  Heavy.  I have a weight that sits on my chest that I have never fully released or forgiven, for that matter.  It is something I NEVER talk about but I choose to hold this subject so close to my heart.  Infant loss through some unethical choices of others is so very hard.

Loss.

Loss of my children.

The pain of having children *ripped* out of your arms.

Pain of dealing with the choices of another.

Two Babies.

The heartache is unspeakable.  I can close my eyes and still feel my children being ripped from my arms.  I can hear them screaming for me.  The animalistic sounds that were being made, were being made by me.  It was almost like an out of body experience.

Then, a year later almost to the date, I see them again.  I stand there, with this lump in my throat.  The realization of the age that my children were taken.  They were 2 and 1.  They were only with me for a short time, they would *never* remember me.

I tentatively walk to where they are and I just stand there, staring.  I don’t want to speak because I have 2 fears.  One that they will not remember me.  The other is that they will remember me and wonder where I have been.

As I squatted down, I said “babies.”  They looked up and they saw me…they ran to me saying “mama” and hugged me.  My heart lept and sank at the same time.  That same evil woman, who took them the first time was there, and her evil continued.  She took them out of my arms again.

I could not bear it, so I left the facility where we were at.  The next year, I did not even go because I knew they would be there.  Bart went, they didn’t know him, he got pictures.  The last images I have of my children.

Etched in my brain.

Forever.

I do not know where they are.  I do not know if they are safe.  They are 12 and 14 now, I always remember.

Walker + One

Then, there was a time that I met a lovely young woman.  This young woman was pregnant.  She chose our family to adopt this little boy.  He was due in December of 2012.  We named him Walker.  Unfortunately, due to circumstances, this young lady made another choice, at an advanced stage of pregnancy.

I can close my eyes and see this little blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy.  He was due at around the same time that we were picking up Jude.  She knew that we knew that and it was all good.  We were going to have 2 new boys…one 6 and one newborn enter our lives.

We only brought home one of those boys.  The other sits on the lap of Jesus, with another child that we loved and planned for but again, due to choices…

And the Last Boy

Then one more little one that we wanted to love and care for, so deeply.  We wanted to give him a future, safety, security, and love.  The system chose to return him to an unsafe environment and now we don’t know anything.  Again, our hearts broke.

Sigh.

I have got to let this go.  Forgiveness is not about giving permission for these people to hurt our family.  It is to rid myself of the venom that the devil is happy to let stew on my stomach for 12 years.

I don’t have to tell these people I forgive them.  By forgiving them, I do not have to forget my children.  I can still love them, cherish them, and miss them.  Pray without ceasing.  Lord, help me forgive the people in these situations.  Help me to hold onto my memories, my dreams, and my ideas of what could have been. Lord, help me to pray for, bless, and love the people that have hurt us.  Most of all, Lord, help me to forgive because I must give thanks in ALL circumstances according to Your Word.

Release.

Release the memories, the pain, the negativity, and the unforgiveness.

God loves all these children more then I can comprehend.

Unforgiveness…not today, Satan.  Not today.

Today, I CHOOSE to forgive.

Related Posts:  Making Peace With the Past

Foster Care System: From a Teen’s Perspective

A Glimpse into the Power of Forgiveness

A Moment I Won’t Soon Forget

10 Ways to Help a Child in Foster Care

10 Ways to Help a Child in Foster Care

10 Ways to Help a Child in Foster Care Without Being a Foster Parent.

  • Pray

This goes without saying.  Prayer is the #1 thing to do.  Intervene for that child, that child’s family, and the foster family to Jesus.  Place them on church prayer lists, call your prayer warriors, set up a designated time to fervently pray for God’s direction on the lives of these children and families.

  • Collect new or gently used stuffed animals/toys

When you go to clean out your child’s belongings, save those that have been gently used, whether they are stuffed animals, books, or toys.  When a child is taken from their parents (not by their choice), a lot of time these children will throw whatever they can gather, quickly, and put them in a garbage bag.  Their whole little lives…..in a trash bag.  My first set of kids came with the clothes they were wearing, a bottle, and a coat.  That was it.  My second set of children had their belongings in a giant black trash bag.  Most of those things needed to be thrown away because they were disgusting.  Also, drop off some of these items at the police station.  Officers carry small items to give to children when they go on calls to help ease their fears.  Take your junk and turn it into a child’s treasure.

  • Hygiene Bags

This is a good homeschool/church activity.  Get a gallon sized ziploc baggie and fill it with make up, lotion, deodorant, man spray, a razor, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner, a brush/comb, mirror, hair ties, a mini first aid kit, fuzzy socks, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouth wash, baby wipes, or a bandana.  Tailor it for for boys and girls and label it clearly.  You have

  • Respite Care

Offer to take the child/ren for the afternoon, overnight, or a weekend.  Please ask the foster parent what the rules are because these kiddoes will not be honest with the respite care giver.  That is just part of the beast.  Be respectful of the time you have with the child and let them know that the rules at foster parent’s house is the same at your house, but you love them and want them to have a good, appropriate time at your house.

  • Fill a Duffel Bag

This is from, my sister, who has begun “Restoring Dignity” in her hometown.  This program can and SHOULD go anywhere, any town, any state, at any time.  This is an excellent church/coop/homeschool project.

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  • Donate money

Money speaks.  Money helps.

  • Be an ear for a foster mama

Listen.  Actively listen.  Do not offer to fix it, just listen.  Hug.  Bake a pie.  Offer to do her laundry.  There are so many things you can do to help out a foster mama/family.

  • CASA

Please go to the CASA PROGRAM

  • Talk before you judge the child or the foster parent(s)

Be *so* mindful of your mannerisms, eyes, mouth, thoughts….we foster mamas know when we are being judged for treating those poor, sad foster children “differently” then we treat our neuro-typical kids.  We are too hard on them.  They deserve whatever they want.  They’ve been through *so* much.  I agree with that part, but the fact is, is you do parent a foster child differently.  They have so much grief/loss on their shoulders and they can take your ounce of kindness and twist it a million ways.  They need more structure. More time.  Lots of love.  Lots of hugs, if they will allow.  Just listen.  Don’t judge.  I think that is why a lot of my experience was negative because when I tried to talk to “friends,” they judged so quickly….they stopped coming around….they wouldn’t let their kids play with my kids out of fear.  Sad.

  • Provide a meal train

When a family gets a placement, take them a meal to freeze or eat.  Set up a meal train with your church or community.

These simple acts can be a way that YOU can help with these children that have been taken into foster care because of poor choices made by their biological family.  You do not have to actually be a foster parent, or a foster to adopt family, or an adoptive family only…..you can just be a human that sees/meets a need.

Be Jesus with skin on to these children/families…..these baby’s will remember YOUR kindness.

FDA Warning for Ethiopians and Codeine (& Morphine)

Image result for FDA warning

WARNING:  Do Not use Codeine in Ethiopian Children!

Codeine is a medication that is used to relieve mild to moderate pain.  I have used it before.  Some of my children had used it (before we adopted our son).  We discontinued using this type of pain relief, after a procedure or severe illness, after my daughter began hallucinating.  It also makes me violently ill.

I would slightly hallucinate or be violently ill…

Then the alternative of taking it and it kills me because parents or doctors (our local doctors), for that matter, were not informed of the dangers of this drug when we brought our son home from Ethiopia when he was six yrs old.

This article Codeine Therapy and CYP2D6 Genotype explains this phenom to the degree that is mind-boggling to me so that I will put it in “Brandi Terms.”

When my son had surgery, at the tender age of 7, the doctors prescribed him Tylenol with Codeine for pain.  I was mentioning to the doctors that he was Ethiopian, and they did not bat an eye.  They asked me why I was telling them this.  I kindly told them about the FDA warning, and the anesthesiologist told me she had never heard of that before.

Image result for ethiopians codeine

To help with her knowledge bank, I gave her the website and the warning.  She proceeded to research it, as she looked at me like I were a crazy person.  I tried to explain that he could be an “ultrarapid” Ethiopian and by the time the meds took effect, he could be dead.

“Thirty percent of Ethiopians studied had multiple copies of the 2D6 gene (up to13) and increased enzyme activity resulting in ultrarapid metabolism.Ultra-rapid metabolism results in lower blood levels following a standard dose of any drug metabolized by this enzyme. Therefore these patients may have an inadequate response to standard dosages of ß-blockers, narcotic analgesics, or antidepressants and may require higher dosages for clinical effectiveness.”

Be Wise.  Be Aware.

Preventable Adverse Drug Reactions: A Focus on Drug Interactions

Please be aware.  Do your homework.  Ask questions.  Do not assume your doctor knows all the answers.  They are humans too.  Our doctor was shocked by her findings and very apologetic.

I understand that that seed has been passed onto other doctors at that hospital and even further from there.  It’s all about educating others to help others.  Awareness.

If your doctor hasn’t yet notified you of this, please discuss it with him/her.  Make sure this information is in your Ethiopian child’s medical file. Our doctor advised us to NEVER give use codeine for any situation/reason.

Maybe someday we can get genetic testing to see if he has the (enzyme) gene.  I plan to enter it into his file.  This is a fatal drug allergy.  Period. The end.

 

 

Confabulation The “True” Story

Confabulation The "True" Story

Confabulation The “True” Story according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary,

CONFABULATION means

1to talk informally 
2to hold a discussion 
>>>>>>3to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication<<<<<<<

A major characteristic of brain-damaged patients is the tendency to confabulate—to hide and dissemble about their damage.  —Peter R. Breggin

Now, I have stumbled upon another site called FASD FAMILIES.  Though it is geared more towards younger FASD kids, it has a ton of useful information.  One has to realize that, say there is a kid who is 16 years old, physically.  On a good day, they are developmental, emotionally, or mentally 8 yrs old.  When they are escalated, you are dealing with a 4-year-old.

No Fault of the Child

This is at no fault to the child but to the situation of why they have FASD.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome causes prenatal brain damage that they deal with for the rest of their lives.  The poor decision of a mother (or father), leads to a lifetime of struggles to their children.  This author defines confabulation, as well, and I thought it was PERFECT.

CONFABULATION: The fancy word is confabulation. Some would say it’s lying. I think it’s more like their version of the story becomes their truth because they don’t know the difference between truth and reality. Once they tell a story, they accept it as gospel.

^^^^^YES, HOLLA, PREACH IT, YOU GO, GIRL, ^^^^^

I have had a shit-tastic day with my oldest dd, 17.  Seriously, if it wasn’t one thing, it was 500 others.  The excuses flowed, the lies confabulations were on point and I fell for it.  I freaking fell for it.

These are the mistakes I made (in no particular order):
  • I asked a question, I knew the answer too.
  • I began escalating because she was escalated.
  • I’m not even in town to deal with it because I am in the hospital with another child.
  • I used too many words.
  • Other people were involved, though they were stepping in for an absent me not realizing they were jumping into quicksand.
  • We talked too long.

What an evil vicious cycle FASD is….or any of it!

FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)

FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)

PFAS (Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)

ARND (Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopment Disorder)

ARBD (Alcohol-Related Birth Defects)

It is a horrific, invisible disease.

I feel as if I have failed as a parent because I cannot get through to these children, though we are the only family they remember.  That damn Amygdala brain (primitive brain that remembers in utero to 3 yr memories).  It is always there.

We have tried therapy, meds, regular dr visits, pastoral counseling, reading the Word, writing the Word, putting positive people in their lives, talking till I am blue in the face…nothing gets through.  Nothing.

Now, the big question is….

HOW DO I PARENT THAT WITHOUT LOSING MY MIND?

The quick answer is “I have no clue.”  The longer answer is “I REALLY have no clue.”

I guess it is time to not only continue to study about OMS Ataxia Telangiectasia Like Disorder, in order to help Hunter…but to find the answers.

We are Finished With This Adoption Series

We are Finished With This Adoption Series.  I hope you all have enjoyed my series on adoption.  I am so thankful for each person sharing their stories of the good, the bad, the hard, and the glorious.  God gets all the glory for each family represented.

If you have any questions, you can always email me at thebarefoothomeschooler@gmail.com.  For example, you can type in the word “adoption” in the search bar.  More posts have been written.  However, I will be happy to help in any way possible.  For now, I need to go and drink a coke.  This series was intense.

In conclusion, we are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to do something.

We are Finished With This Adoption Series

 

Guest Blogger Brittany and Her Adoption Story

Hi! My name is Brittany.  My husband, Eric, and I have been married for 13 years. We have 7 children (in our home) and quite a few more that we have the privilege of being mom and dad to.  Our family is made up of biological, adopted, and foster children, but no one “wears” that label; they’re just ALL my children.  We also have the amazing opportunity to serve the Lord as missionaries in Arizona on the Gila River and Tohono O’odham Reservations.  And in my spare time, I decided to go back to college and get my degree in social work. I graduate in 2 weeks!  

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This is my Guest Blogger Brittany and Her Adoption Story.  Adoption is something that I have thought about since I was a little girl.  I dreamed of having a big family and being a mom to many. Not long after Eric and I started dating in high school, we had a conversation about each of our desires.  The dreams of having a family one day. We both had said that we were interested in adoption. Several years down the road, when we were engaged, we had the conversation again. We definitely agreed in this area.
Our Beginning and Reality
Eric and I were married on May 1, 2004.  About 6 months into our marriage, we started researching international adoption. We had no idea really where to begin so we started requesting information from different agencies. Logically, we were just trying to wrap our minds around the process and the cost. One thing we noticed was that most requirements were for couples to be married a minimum of 2 years. We were bummed but wanted to keep researching over the next couple of months.  Then we found out that I was pregnant, and all adoption conversation came to a halt.
Starfish Orphan Ministry
We spent the next couple of years focused on having and raising our 2 biological children. Our desire to adopt never really went away, but we had put it on the back burner for a while.  Then we became involved with an organization called Starfish Orphan Ministry. The more we learned about orphan statistics and orphan care, the more our desire grew to begin the adoption process.  Then I went on a mission trip to El Salvador to work with orphans, and my life was totally changed. I was no longer hearing statistics, I was holding an actual orphan in my arms. My heart was broken, and I knew that God was calling my family and me to action.
God Leading Us
Not long after that trip, Eric and I really began to pray for God to show us where we should adopt from.  I literally researched for months. Each day I would go through each country and read through all the requirements to see which ones we qualified for. We would seek out recommendations for agencies that we were considering. And then we prayed over each country. Each time we would do this, we felt led to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We had no idea why. We literally knew nothing about the country but knew that was the direction the Lord was leading. So, we decided to jump in!
Adoption is SO Hard
Although we knew that the adoption process was not going to be easy, we had no idea how hard it would actually be.  For this first adoption, we had 2 failed referrals. This means that the agency we were using had given us a referral for 2 different children that we thought we would be adopted only to find out that we no longer could adopt them.  Our emotions were all over the place.
When we finally received the referral for our daughter, Emmalyn, we were ecstatic but also afraid to get our hopes up. We had been told that the adoption process would only take 9-12 months, but it was taking much longer. We also found out that our agency had hired an attorney that was corrupt. He was taking the money we were sending each month for our daughter’s care and keeping it for himself. Although the process was extremely hard, it was all worth it the moment we held our daughter in our arms for the first time on November 7, 2012.
Two Years of Waiting
Through the 2-year process of Emmalyn’s adoption, Eric and I also became foster parents through Tribal Social Services.  5 months before traveling to Congo, we were placed with an adorable 11-month-old little boy. He had a rough start in life, but we were going to love him and help him grow as much as we could for as long as he was placed with us.
After we realized that his case plan was going from reunification to permanency placement, we knew that we wanted to be his forever family. However, we had been told that adoption was not a possibility through the tribe. The next best option was to seek guardianship, so that is what we did. On August 11, 2013, we were made permanent legal guardians to Santos.
Tribal Social Services
Just one week later, we received a phone call from Tribal Social Services letting us know that Santos’s older sister was in need of placement. They were wondering if we were willing to open our home to her as well.  We didn’t need to take very long to think about that. Of course, we said yes!
We spent the next two months doing transition visits, and on October 4, 2013, Audri came to live with us. Her case plan was not the same as Santos’s, and we had no idea how long she would stay with us, but we were committed to her no matter how long.  We had many ups and downs through this process, mainly disagreements with the case manager, but we were able to become Audri’s guardians on December 1, 2015, eventually.
Legal Guardianship
Although we were Santos and Audri’s legal guardians, we wanted to make everything official and legally adopt them. We knew that the process would not be easy, but we decided to try anyway. We began the process in February 2015 and had delay upon delay. (One being that we had to become Audri’s guardians before they would consider adoption.) I won’t go into all the details of this adoption.
There are many of the details about other people involved in the case. It would not be appropriate to discuss those details for the whole world to read.  Please know this was one of the most difficult things that I have ever been through. Eric and I literally had no idea what the outcome would be. We just knew that we were going to trust God no matter what. On August 3, 2017, Santos and Audri officially received our last name.  For those of you counting, that was 5 years that Santos was in our home and 4 years for Audri. Wow!
Democratic Republic of Congo
And in the middle of all of that, we had begun the process to adopt a sweet 4-year-old boy from the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2013 (4 months after Emmalyn had come home, not knowing what was going to happen with Santos’s case plan, before Audri came to live with us). He was from the same orphanage as our daughter, Emmalyn. We thought things would go much faster and easier this time around since we were familiar with the process and were not using the same agency we had before. Boy, were we wrong.
This time around the government of Congo issued a suspension on exit letters. Exit letters were not necessary to complete an adoption but were required for the adopted child to leave the country. Isaiah was officially adopted on October 9, 2013, in the country of DRC but could not leave due to the exit letter suspension. We were told it could take up to 2 years before the government decided to change the policy. This wait was brutal.
We watched our son grow up in pictures. We watched his personality change from that of a sweet little boy to a strong, tough boy that showed no emotion. I cannot accurately describe to you how hard this wait was.  But, we were finally united with our son on September 19, 2016. It was a long 4-year wait, but so worth it to finally have our son home!
We Would Go Through It All Again
Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! I have seen God work miracles. Also, I have learned what it means to trust Him truly. It has been amazing to watch God start the healing process in my children. It has been a blessing to see them grow and flourish in our family.
I read this quote the other day from Jason Johnson, and I think it accurately describes the foster care and/or adoption journey: “It’s the mercy of God that He doesn’t show us everything that will unfold in the foster care and adoption journey the moment we first say “yes” to it. All the hard would be too unbearable, and all the good would be too unbelievable.”

Guest Blogger Brittany and Her Adoption StoryGuest Blogger Brittany and Her Adoption Story

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