They’re Just Our Children
This National Adoption Month, we’re sharing stories of children whose lives were impacted by adoption. Meet the Withingtons.
It’s not only National Adoption Month, but this month also marks the nine-year anniversary of when Chris and Nick Withington received placement of their twin daughters, Zoe and Ashley, in 2012.
Chris and Nick knew they wanted kids, but the couple had struggled with infertility for years. Chris’s parents were kinship caretakers for her nephew, which introduced them to the idea of fostering. Once they had committed to the process, Chris and Nick went through licensing classes, background checks, a walk-through, and baby-proofing.
“We were licensed up to age 12 and didn’t know what age range we’d be getting phone calls for,” says Chris, “So we had a variety of sleeping options available – everything from bunk beds to a crib.”
When they did receive a placement call for twin baby girls, it was the Friday before Thanksgiving. Chris was traveling for work, and Nick headed to the hospital on his own to meet his new foster kids. He didn’t even know their names yet, but the details didn’t matter: these babies needed him.
“They were born so prematurely, it’s nothing short of a miracle that they even survived,” remembers Chris.
For the first few months, the babies had to be fed every three hours to help them gain weight, but once they were eating regularly, they quickly began thriving.
“There’s been a learning curve,” says Chris, “Both girls have severe ADHD and one has sensory processing issues. We’ve had a bazillion medication adjustments, therapy appointments, and occupational therapy appointments, just trying to find the sweet spot where they can function best.”
Zoe and Ashley were nearly four years old by the time their adoption was finalized. Chris and Nick had been the girls’ caretakers almost that entire time, and now they were finally their legal parents.
For Chris and Nick, the resources and connections that Adopt Kansas Kids offered proved indispensable in their first years of parenthood, most notably the resource center, support groups, and connections with other foster and adoptive parents.
“Dealing with foster care is not the same as traditional parenting,” says Chris. “Having the connections of other people who understood the ins and outs of the system, who understood and could offer insight or listen when you need to vent, was so important.”
Now nine years old, Zoe and Ashley are typical, well-adjusted kids with parents who can’t imagine loving them any more than they do.
“In our family, they’re not our adopted children, they’re just our children,” says Chris. “Fostering and adopting are the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s so worth it.”
Adopt Kansas Kids seeks to raise awareness for the need for foster and adoptive families and support families going through the adoption process, both during National Adoption Month and all year round. Thank you for helping us keep kids safe!