I adopted two teenagers-- first my son, at age 14; and then five years later my daughter, at age 16. With some similarities in their backgrounds and stories, my kids are as different as they come! My son is loud and gregarious, loves to learn, and threw himself into life in my neighborhood, forming friendships with peers and adults. My daughter is reserved and responsible and already had strong ties to adults at the afterschool program at her school, which was an important support to her in her transition to life with an adoptive family.
Parenting any child has its challenges and joys, and certainly my children came with many of both. As teenagers, they were simultaneously preparing to live as adults, healing from past wounds, and bonding with a new parent, and this process was not easy for any of us. At times I did not know whether our bond was strong enough to last when they were no longer living at home. Yet, with both kids now grown into young adults, I am finding that they share more ties to me than I had realized at the time and am delighting in seeing how their unique histories have helped form them into kind and resilient adults.
My husband and I always wanted a family. We decided to adopt from foster care after weighing all our options from domestic adoption to IVF treatments. When we attended an orientation at Lutheran Adoption Services (LAS) to see what foster care adoption was about, LAS made us feel very comfortable so we decided to proceed with LAS. From orientation to being approved for our adoption it only took a few months. LAS really made the process easy for us, helped answer questions and concerns we had about any paperwork, and the entire process went pretty smoothly. LAS matched us with siblings after only a couple weeks of our home study approval. From the time we were matched with our kids to the time of the adoption finalization it was less than a year. We really can’t say enough good things about LAS. They know what they’re doing, and everyone helped the process go smoothly from licensing to the adoption finalization. It was an incredible process and we couldn’t be happier.
My husband and I began our adoption journey with Lutheran Adoption Services in the fall of 2013. The onset of this process was a great deal of paperwork, PRIDE classes, which proved to be helpful, and home studies. In February 2014 we met our daughters, then ages three and four, at a McDonalds. I remember getting a call sometime earlier from our worker that two little girls were available for a possible adoption, and she wanted to know if we wanted to receive a profile on them for us to learn a little more. We received more information in an e-mail. Later we received two binders filled with their medical history and case studies. Finally, before meeting our daughters, we had a meeting with everyone involved, including DHS and the foster parent, for an open discussion on the girls. The goal is for the prospective parents to learn as much as possible of the children’s history and current situation so that a decision can be made, and for a decision to be made before the children are brought in, this is owed to the children.
Following our meeting at McDonalds, we scheduled other brief meetings at a library where we continued to introduce ourselves to our girls. Those brief visitations grew into half a day visitation on Saturdays, then a couple of longer days, and finally an overnight. We were excited and nervous. In July of 2014 the girls permanently moved in, and we had filed for adoption, which was finalized on December 23, 2014.
As I think of our adoption process, and the beauty that is found in our daughters, I am mindful that the very things that I found overwhelming at the time, the paperwork and the waiting, are not what stands out. What does stand out is the careful work of LAS, and the support that we received throughout the adoption finalization. Our daughters were in good hands.
We continue to grow as family. I love that we are diverse, and that we have different histories and personalities, yet, we share the common ground of being a family. Together we are creating new traditions, memories, and a home that we all belong in.
On June 8th, 2016, Danielle's fairy tale dream came true. To help celebrate her adoption, Samaritas foster care and other adoption staff members arranged to have her favorite Disney Princesses be there at the finalization. This may go down in history as the most adorable adoption ever :)