When Tiffany Crain first approached her husband, Nate, about adopting Keisha, he was concerned.
Keisha, now 4, had been shaken and her prognosis wasn’t good in September of 2017, when she was admitted to the hospital. Her brain had swelled so much that a permanent shunt had to be placed. Keisha’s airway was damaged, requiring a tracheostomy tube. She also suffered from weakness on one side of her body.
Keisha’s condition finally stabilized and she was moved from the hospital into a foster home in January of 2018.
Tiffany and Nate had known Keisha’s foster family since their daughter, Carisma, began babysitting for the family in 2016. Tiffany began providing respite care for the foster family in July 2019. She cared for the children periodically to give the foster parents a break.
Falling in love
The more time Tiffany spent with the children, the more she fell in love with Keisha.
Tiffany and Nate had talked for years about providing respite or foster care. Tiffany had been adopted by her foster family, so it was something that tugged at her heartstrings.
The thought of adopting Keisha, though, was daunting. Tiffany and Nate already had a blended family with seven daughters. Taking on an eighth daughter – especially one with such severe needs – didn’t seem feasible.
She was ‘amazing’
“I was worried,” Nate said.
Then he met Keisha.
“She was so much more amazing than I expected, despite Tiffany’s wonderful words about her,” Nate said. “She was engaging to the point of not allowing anyone to not pay attention. Keisha scooted around the room with so much fire and excitement!
“She played with everything – especially things with lights and sound. She expressed love in ways I had never imagined, but she had to because she was nonverbal.
“I was instantly hooked.”
The Crains babysat for Keisha off and on as they progressed through the required Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence class.
Because of Keisha’s special needs, the couple also completed specialized tracheostomy tube, gastrointestinal tube and first-aid training. And they cared for Keisha during a 72-hour overnight stay, to make sure they were ready.
Nate and Tiffany thought they would get to bring Keisha home in November, but that was not to be. They finally were selected as Keisha’s “no matter what” family on Jan. 20. She moved into their home as their foster child on Feb. 14, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The Covid-19 pandemic slowed the adoption process, but their workers kept advocating for them. Keisha’s adoption was finalized on Aug. 14, “over a blue-jeans virtual call,” Nate said.
“It has been a long and wild ride, but we are so happy to have her in our home,” Nate said. “She is talking, she’s had her tracheostomy tube removed, she’s gaining weight and she’s trying to walk. Keisha is progressing in leaps and bounds.
“Our family is complete, but who knows? We may find another child who needs us as much as we need them.”