Today was a day I never expected. Very early on in Lakendrick’s case his mom asked if I wanted to adopt someday. I told her “yes,” but I knew it wasn’t going to be him. Because I really didn’t believe it would be. As time went on though the idea of ever having to say goodbye to him got harder and harder. I cried every time it seemed like reunification was getting closer. My mom was always the one who had to answer those calls. But I only ever allowed that fear for one day. Because the reality was in those moments I was still his mom. My three greatest worries were always: What I would do with the puppy he turned into his one and only comfort item? How would I give up the scrapbooks I put hours into making? And what his future will bring?
I can’t tell you how many times, as Lakendrick struggled with mental health in the last two years, someone asked me why I didn’t just give up. The thing is, by the time things got really awful, when he was physically attacking me for up to three hours every night, I loved him way too much to ever even think about packing him up and watching him leave. He was mine, no matter what. He deserved to stay in the only home he’s ever known. I was blessed with a mom who answered my calls as I screamed (literally sometimes) and cried for help because a meltdown had drained me.
I am so thankful for the two families who stepped in and did respite once a month. This gave me the opportunity to lay on the couch for a weekend and check out of the difficult road I was on. And to my three best friends, who walk this difficult road alongside me with their own adopted children. Because this isn’t really a life you can fully understand unless you’re living as a parent of a traumatized child yourself.
Today I walked into the courthouse for the last time in five and a half years. There aren’t any more hearings to count down to. He’s officially mine forever and always. Our struggles won’t be over. But my fears of the “what ifs” no longer have to be a thing. It was what I call a joyfully sad day. He has reached permanency. And I’m happy and so lucky to be the one God called to be his forever mama. But it’s also sad that his first family couldn’t be forever. I can’t say that I’m any better or worse than they are. The chances I was granted in life made this adoption possible. And this adoption has changed the trajectory of his life. I pray every day that he can overcome the trauma he’s experienced, that I can help him heal from things he’s lived through, things that no child ever should have. He is my greatest joy, my greatest blessing, and I’m blessed to be able to forever be his mom.
– Kate Campbell, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services foster and adoptive parent
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services recruits, trains and provides support services for foster families. The need for foster parents in Wisconsin is great. Contact us to receive information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or visit our website to learn more.