My husband and I are high school sweethearts. We met when I was 16 and was having a very difficult time.
In 2005, I was on a path of ruin. I entered the foster care system for the second time in my young life. I was placed in a foster home four hours away from my closest friends and family. But this separation turned out to be a blessing.
In a town where I knew no one, my husband, Tyler, and I found each other. He was a typical small-town boy and I was a city girl. We had completely opposite upbringings. They say opposites attract, and this was true for us.
We married fairly young. I became a social worker, and Tyler went into youth ministry and coaching. We had our daughter Tariyah Joy, 8, and we also were raising my biological brother, who was 13. We often spoke of becoming foster parents. I was passionate about offering our home to a child. I thought we could teach children how to break family cycles and demonstrate healthy love within a family structure.
At one time Tyler’s two younger cousins were in foster care and up for adoption. However, we thought we were young to adopt and the timing wasn’t right.
Girls Need a Home
In the late fall of 2013 my mom called me, then my older sister called me, then someone called from the Kansas Department for Children and Families. My 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. She knew what it felt like to be separated from family. The DCF worker asked if Tyler and I would be willing to have my nieces live with us until the children could return to my sister. I searched my heart for an answer. After much praying and speaking with our daughter, Tyler and I decided that the children needed us. We would later learn that we needed them just as much.
The girls instead were placed in a foster home in Bonner Springs, so they would be closer to their mom. My husband and I were unsettled, as we had prepared our home to have them. After six months the case was terminated. I had been cheering for my sister and I wanted to see the girls happy and at home with their mom. But 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.
On Nov. 18, 2016, our adoption was finalized. We were able to look into the girls’ eyes and promise them that they had a forever home. 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. We simply say that they have been a blessing to us even more.
We have added to our family since the girls moved in. Since the April 11, 2016 birth of Mayah Love, we now have five girls! Our little/big family is complete.