You are probably used to hearing “foster to adopt.” That’s what we used to say almost every day. When we made the choice to adopt through the foster care program, we were fostering to adopt, and we would explain that to everyone. “Yes we are going to foster, but we really want to adopt.” We didn’t realize how quickly this phrase would turn around, as well as our life.
Four years ago, my husband and I decided we were going to adopt. We could not have children and wanted very much to have a family. This decision to foster to adopt did not come about quickly or without fear and anxiety, but it was a decision that would change our lives. So we went through the licensing process and now we have a high-energy, incredibly smart and loving 4-year-old son named Aidan. Aidan’s case happened to be the story that everyone hopes for and is scared to believe in. He was a safe haven surrender, and 6 months later, he was ours forever.
Deciding to adopt, again
A little over a year ago, we decided to grow our family and adopt again. We got a call about a 4-week-old baby girl and we fell in love, hard. This time it wasn’t anywhere near the same. The entire time we were fearful of losing this beautiful girl we had already stamped with a big MINE, right there on her forehead. We got close to her birth family, talked to them all the time. We were friends with them on Facebook, texted and let them babysit. We welcomed them into our home and met her extended family. We took care of this angel as if she was our own, the entire time fearing someday she wouldn’t be. Eventually, she was placed with a member of her birth family.
To say we were heartbroken does not begin to cover it. It was everything you’d expect—like a death, like losing a family member, like you were forgetting something in the next room every minute of every day. A stray pink sock under the couch would ruin your day, and everyone who tried to understand just made you angrier … then it eventually started to get better.
Another phone call
Only a few weeks later, we got another call for another little girl who needed us. We didn’t know a lot about her, and we suspected this wasn’t an adoptive placement, but we said yes. Some people say things like “it’s worth it” or “they deserve it,” but you don’t realize it until it happens—because we had lost our daughter. As much as it hurt to lose a child, it made us realize that, for some reason, we also had the ability to survive it. And that meant we could do it again, and again, if needed, because a smart person once told me every child deserves to have someone hurt like that over them, and grieve for them when they leave. They more than deserve it, and we are the ones who are lucky enough to love them for a time, however long that time may be.
So the journey continued and it so happened that a little boy needed us as well. Now we have three. That second little girl hopefully will be going back to her parents soon. The entire family is doing great. And that is an amazing thing to see and be a part of. We’ll take in more children who need love, because we have some and it doesn’t seem to run out, even with a great loss.
Our forever children
So we set out to adopt, and someday we will, because our forever children are still out there. The children who are meant to be ours forever will, eventually, come home. In the meantime, the children in our home right now are our children to love, cherish and take care of. And so we adopted to foster, and it’s made all the difference.