The first experience we had in regards to adoption was the MAPP classes at KCSL. While going through class, we began to reconsider whether adoption was the right path for us. When you hear about some of the behaviors children can have, you wonder if you will be able to handle them. After MAPP classes, the search was on to find the perfect child to be a part of our family.
We found a few sibling sets of two that seemed to be a great match for us. We were accepted as a possible family for one or two of those and we had to hope that we would be chosen in the Best Interest Staffing. Unfortunately, we were not chosen for any of the sibling sets of two that we had hoped for. At this point, we began to wonder if there was a child out there that would fit with our family. Or maybe, we thought, our family was not good enough. Of course this was not the case. You can’t lose hope.
When we were finally selected as a match for our son Austin, we were allowed to go read his file. Reading his file was scary as our son had been through a lot and had many behaviors as well. We had to take time to decide if we could teach him things other than what he had seen. The biggest thing that we decided, was that no matter what our son had done or had been through, if we went down to meet him, we were bringing him home. There was no option of giving him back. In my opinion, this is the most important decision you will ever make. If you had a child naturally, could you leave it at the hospital because of a minor flaw?? I sure hope not.
This is exactly what we figured when meeting Austin for the first time. When we went to meet him, Austin was just a normal everyday six year old. I even forgot about most of what we read in his file. At this point, I didn’t care what his file said. I could see for myself that this little guy just wanted to have parents that would care for him. Austin’s foster parent was very easy to work with and we kept in contact with him and had regular visits over the next few weeks. We waited until school was out before bringing Austin home to stay with us. There was a time or two that tested our resolve even before Austin came to live with us permanently, but we were determined to see this through. Once he was moved in and settled, we experienced some growing pains w/Austin as he was very defiant and stubborn. Luckily, we were too. I won’t lie, there were times that we thought it was just too much. But the next morning when he comes in and lies in your lap, your heart melts all over again. Austin is now thirteen and going on twenty. He still tests our patience from time to time, and I wonder sometimes if he will ever make it in the real world. But, doesn’t every parent worry about their kids??
When Austin was nine or so, we decided it was time to bring some siblings into our family. We had just bought a house, and we wanted to fill it up. After dealing with Austin and his behaviors, we knew we could deal with anything. So, we decided to adopt a sibling set. We looked at ones that had four or five children. We had a big house and we were both from fairly large families.
This time around, we were selected for the first set of siblings that we even considered. But, because of legal issues, we would have to get our foster care license so we could foster the kids until they were available to be adopted. KCSL was great in helping us get our license and making sure we had everything we needed. Once we had our license and our house ready, we went to meet the kiddos. We made a connection right away. The first day the kids asked if they could just call us mom and dad. Not a good idea by the way. But I couldn’t say no. Anyway, we spent the weekend with the kids, everything seemed great. They were going to come visit us next weekend. This was the easiest decision ever. These four kids were the perfect fit for our family. However unfortunately we experienced some pretty big delays and setbacks. KCSL advocated on our behalf during this time and made sure things proceeded accordingly. Eventually AJ, the oldest of the four would stay with us first. He lived with us for about a month before his siblings all came to live with us permanently. They all moved in on December 21. We had just received the best Christmas ever. Our family was home.
Integrating one child into four was a challenge, but we always just consider all of our kids as though they are our biological children. Each one has flaws and personality. Everyone is different, yet there are so many similarities. If you met my oldest and youngest kid today, you would not believe that they came from two completely different places. They know they are adopted, but our kids are family no matter what.