In 2002, my husband and I had some friends that did foster care. We thought they were “crazy” until they invited us to go on a camping trip with them and their foster children. We were able to see firsthand what an impact they had on the kids’ lives. In 2004, we started our own journey in fostering. At that time, we had no plans on adopting. We already had 5 children; my husband had 2 from a previous marriage and we had 3 together. We got a call to take in an emergency placement for a 13 year old boy until a long term foster home could be found for him. He wanted a forever family so badly. He really just fit in well with our family and it wasn’t long before we fell in love with him. We decided to make if official and the adoption went through when he was 15 years old.
Then we got a call about a 4 year old boy. We knew nothing about autism and Cerebral Palsy. We quickly got a crash course on both! After being with us for 2 years he became available for adoption and we adopted him at age 7.
We continued to foster children and got a call for a 1 year old female. We quickly fell in love with her but after a month and a half she went to live with her biological family. I felt heart-broken but know children belong with their birth family whenever possible. Around this time, I contacted a cousin that was pregnant to see if she wanted the bed and things I had bought for our previous foster child, to have for her baby. She ended up asking if we would adopt her baby when she was born. She wasn’t ready to be a mom yet and she wanted her baby to have a loving family with a mom and dad. So we adopted a beautiful newborn baby girl.
When she was 4 months old the family of the one year old we had previously fostered called and asked if we would adopt her. We originally said no. We didn’t think we could care for a 4 month old and a 20 month old plus the other children living in our home. She also had some special needs /behaviors that may be hard to handle at times. In October I got a call that she could no longer live where she was living and needed a family. So in October she came to live with us and we discovered it wasn’t as hard as we thought. Her Mother relinquished her rights in June and we were able to adopt her shortly before her 4th birthday.
At this time our children are 32, 25, 23, 20, 16, 13, 11, 4, and 2 years old. We have chosen to have open adoptions with the last three kiddos we adopted. (It was not an option for the oldest). I feel it is important for the kids to know their birth family and where they came from. But it does have its extra challenges as well. We continue to foster children but feel our forever family is done growing, now time for son / daughter in laws and grandchildren, which we already have a son in law and two beautiful granddaughters!