The Henderson Family

My husband and I are high school sweethearts, we met at a very difficult time in my life when I was 16 years old. In 2005 I was on a path of ruin. During this time I was placed in the foster care system for the second time in my young life. I had just been placed in a foster home 4 hours away from my closest friends and family. This separation from my surroundings, I later realized was a blessing in disguise that would become evident in our future. In a town of unfamiliarity Tyler, my husband and I found each other. He was a typical small town boy and I a city girl. We had complete opposite upbringings and you know what they say opposites attract “for us this was true”.

Fast forwarding through our high school and college years, I later became a Social Worker and he went into youth ministers and coaching. We married pretty young and later had our daughter Tariyah Joy (8) and we were also raising my biological brother who was 13 now 20. We often spoke of either doing foster care as I was passionate about the idea of offering our home to a child with hopes of showing/teaching children ways to break family cycles and to demonstrate healthy love within a family structure. We spoke of adopting once and at the time his two younger cousins were in foster care and up for adoption, but we were young and timing was never aligned right. Now though as I look back I see why it was never the right time. In the late fall of 2013 I received a chain of several calls from first my mom, then, my older sister and later a DCF worker. All sharing with me that my three nieces Saliyah (10), Saniyah (9) and Mariyah (5) were being placed in foster care. I was upset and very angry at my sister for allowing this to happen to them especially because she knew what that felt like “to be separated from family “. During my talk with the DCF worker, she asked if Tyler and I would be willing to have my nieces live with us as kinship placement until my sister worked on reintegration. I found myself searching my heart for an answer for odd reasons at the time. I shared with her that my husband and I would have to discuss this and that I would be getting back with her. After much praying and speaking with our daughter we decided that they needed us and what we later would learn is that we needed them just as much.

A couple of weeks after calling her back to share that we would like for the girls to live with us we learned that they would have to go to a foster home in Bonner Springs Ks, instead to be closer to home to work reintegration with their mom. This news for obvious reasons had myself and my husband unsettled as we had prepared our home to have them. After 6 months the case was terminated. As a relative this was not all good news as I was cheering for my sister and I wanted to see them be happy and at home with their mom. I often say that relative adoptions are hard they are confusing and sometimes problematic, but oh so worth it as “family is everything”. You see if I hadn’t decided to stay in this small town 10 years ago I would have never been a candidate to adopt “I thank the system to that”. In May 2014 the girls moved in with us they settled in well as I have always been Auntie Robin and they knew everyone here after spending a summer with us in 2012.

At this point our adoption journey begun. For nearly two years we worked the process and on November 18th 2016 it was final we were able to honestly look into their eyes and promise them that they had a forever home and that the fear of being moved to a foster home was relieved. They knew the difference in their lives and they knew what it meant because they understood that we loved them and that they would always have us and us them. People often tell us what a blessing it is that they have us and we simply say that they have been a blessing to us even more. We have added to our family since the girls moving in we are now a family of five girls on April 11th 2016 we had Mayah Love and now our little/big family is complete.