Ever since I was a small girl I knew I would adopt. There were a couple things that led me to adoption as a child. 1) I didn’t like babies. In my mind they cried and needed a lot of attention. I thought kids were pretty cool though (since I was one and everything), so I figured I could adopt a cool older child like me that didn’t cry. 2) I was majorly grossed out by vomit. Just looking at it made me sick to my stomach. I have a vivid memory of being around 8 and declaring to my father that I would adopt older children so I wouldn’t have to clean up as much puke (because in my still developing mind, baby spit up=vomit). 3) I had learned where babies came from and made a solemn vow to myself that I would never be doing that. Yep. As much as I would like to say there was some philanthropic reasoning behind wanting to adopt when I was young, the three main reasons that led my heart to adoption were avoiding crying, cleaning, and the “horizontal hokey pokey” if you will.
As I grew older my reasoning evolved. But I still stayed pretty set on the idea of growing my family through adoption. When I was in my senior year of college I talked to a friend about becoming a foster parent. She had started fostering at the age of 23 and it was something she was passionate about. “Don’t you have to be an old married person?” I remember asking her. “Nope, you just have to be a person” she responded. The seed had been planted.
After college graduation my boyfriend Rob and I planned to move in together. We had been apartment hunting for a one or two bedroom apartment. In my heart I knew I wanted a two bedroom to be a foster parent, but was afraid to bring it. When we found a two bedroom apartment that we both liked I remember saying, “it’s spacious, and affordable, and on the first floor so easy to walk the dog…. ohhh and did you notice the spare bedroom? I was thinking maybewecouldbefosterparents…” the words came tumbling out of my mouth unexpectedly. The look my 22 year old, recently graduated, unmarried boyfriend gave me was exactly the look you are imagining. After he picked his jaw up off the floor we agreed to sign the lease.
A few months later we did decide together to become foster parents. Just days after completing the licensing process, before our official license had even arrived in the mail, a caseworker called us about a brother and sister in need of a placement. At first we were unsure about taking two children, as our spare bedroom was very small, and we weren’t sure we could handle two. When the children’s caseworker mentioned splitting them up we instantly agreed to take both.
The brother, James, was almost 4. The sister, Mariyah, had just turned 1. The plan from child protective services for James and Mariyah, as it usually is in foster care, was to be reunified with their birth mother after she completed her case plan.
Adjusting to being a parent for the first time was a little like adjusting to living at the North Pole. It looked extremely beautiful in pictures, felt very isolating, and there wasn’t much to do besides eat cookies and play Candy Land. (Disclosure: There may be other things to do in the North Pole. Like watch Polar Bears. And drink wine. You can do those as a parent too. If you can get it together to go to the zoo or the liquor store which I couldn’t for several months.)
After awhile we began to get into our grove as a family. I started to really love being a parent. James and Mariyah cracked me up daily. They were sweet and funny. 8 year old me would have given me the side eye about all the puke and crying that came hand in hand with a 4 year old who had never eaten green beans before, but it was worth it.
Although we planned to adopt at some point, we had gone into foster parenting solely to be foster parents. After a year had gone by without reunification, child protective services began talking about adoption. As a young unmarried couple, we were slightly hesitant at first. We had set our minds on the fact that these were someone else’s children and that we were caring for them for a little while. But by the time the judge officially changed the case’s goal to adoption a few months later, we knew that the 4 of us were definitely a family. While waiting for an adoption date Rob and I were married, accompanied by the cutest flower girl and ring barer you ever did see. After 3 and a half years as foster parents we finalized our children’s adoption in 2012.
One of the great things about adopting through foster care was that during placement we were able to get to know our children’s family of origin. Thankfully, we are still able to maintain contact today. Adoption has been a wild and crazy ride. But totally worth it. We wouldn’t have our family any other way.
Now on to the Adoption Talk Linkup!
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