March 15, 2019. Adoption Day. Travis County Courthouse, Austin, TX.
What does it feel like to become a Forever Mom to two little boys that you planned on only being Temporary Mom?? PRETTY UNBELIEVABLE!
It took exactly 6 months from the trial date to our adoption hearing. During that time I learned about the many wonderful benefits of adopting a child through foster care! I wish more people knew about these! Check out 10 Facts About Adopting Through Foster Care to find out more.
I never expected to adopt children as a single person. I definitely don’t think it is the ideal situation but foster care is not an ideal situation. The circumstances these biological parents endure are not ideal. Children being removed from homes is not how God designed it. Yes, I believe whole heartedly that a two-parent home is best. This life is not easy in any way at all. It’s extremely draining and it’s impossible for me to fulfill the role of “dad.” But the life they had before me doesn’t hold a candle to what they have now. And I’m not talking about money or material things. I’m talking about stability, felt safety, and attachment. And best of all they will know Jesus. And HE fills in the gaps! So when I’m doubting if I’m enough, I remember who God says I am. He reminds me that I was made for this. I endured the hard times in my own life so that I could be prepared for such a time as this.
From Termination to Adoption
Numerous steps happen between termination and adoption:
- Over the next 90 days the biological parents may appeal the termination and thus drag out the case for many more months.
- Any family member can still come forth and request custody within those 90 days. Although I felt pretty confident this wouldn’t happen there is still anxiety.
- J got a psychological evaluation.
- CPS composes a medical history report on the biological family
- The case file is redacted, given to me, and is required reading for me
The following is an excerpt from my monthly updates at the time.
October 2018. After grieving the loss of what termination means for my boys, this weird thing happened…a total mind and heart shift…suddenly things became peaceful, beautiful, and fantastic! I felt like my kids were the GREATEST, CUTEST, most amazing kids on the planet! A very spiritually mature mom told me that having kids brings you closer to God’s Kingdom. And I’m pretty sure I’m just scratching the surface of this concept. The love I feel for them is so fire-y and intense. I feel like I’m in love but on steroids and it’s exciting and scary all in one. I feel immensely blessed. For the first time in my life, I get to freely love someone that is NOT leaving. It’s a feeling I plan to hold tight to for as long as God allows me to. And to think, this indescribable feeling that I have right now for my kids, is how God feels about me as his daughter. In fact, I’m confident the way He feels about me is on an unimaginably higher level. So THIS is what I stand on today and will continue to stand on as a single mother raising two boys. When the days are really hard, the nights really lonely, and the routine never ending, I cling to Him for my identity, my worth, and my strength.
November 2018. I gave away the last of the Amazon boxes. 77 items were donated to the boys and their biological parents for the reunification back in April. I ended up using all the things the boys and I needed, gave away some items to another single foster mom, then gave the last dozen items to our former CPS caseworker to give to another bio family whose kids are returning. Each time I go through the boxes I feel sad. I’m using items that were supposed to be theirs. Things that were supposed to go in their apartment. I basically picked out a whole kitchen for them (they had nothing, and people kept giving)! I chose color-coordinated teal colors. Another picture I was sure was happening that never came to be. I’m confident that if these two people had had SOMEONE mentoring them, fighting for them, loving them….this whole picture could’ve looked completely different. And my kids wouldn’t have had to lose their parents.
December 2018 marks 1.5 years the boys have been with me. 1.5 YEARS!! My one and only dream was to be a mom. It was the core of my being and what my Heavenly Father intricately designed me to be and yet….it took 37 years, an immense amount of tears, heartbreak, loss, redemption, healing and restoration to get here….and survive. I sit now, on the other side of the thing that depressed me for so many years – no family, no husband, no kids – and this side is FANTASTIC. I feel so happy that I’m scared to feel it, because for sure, all the mess is going to come back. And it might….but I’m trying to SOAK and REST in this love without worry. This. Great. Love. I love when I stoop down to the boys’ level, look closely into their faces with the biggest smile and with my heart exploding with love and they can’t help but burst into a huge smile. Greatest. Feeling. Ever.
March 2018. Last visit from CPS! We completed adoptive placement paperwork which is only in affect until tomorrow when the adoption is consummated. I signed a myriad of other agreements about the adoption assistance, the case file, the medical history, the discipline policy, etc. In this world, you just sign, and you try to make sense of what the caseworker is telling you. I read the 822-page case file and was struck with grief again reading through why CPS was called to their house and what their house was like each time the investigators arrived. I read through interviews with the parents, family who lived there, and neighbors about what they witnessed and bio mom’s reaction to her boys being removed. SADNESS. Can you imagine if you had no one to call or no one who would step in if CPS asked you to find someone to take your children? No one. As hard as it is to read the more I know the better parent I can be. And finally some missing pieces of their history was getting filled in.
My final visit to the courthouse. What a change from the hearings before to go for a happy occasion! Friends arrived, my parents arrived, and the boys are dressed to impress. Our adoption lawyer told J that he was better dressed than most of the lawyers (I DO agree!!). We filed into the court room. We held up our hands and swore to tell the truth. I tried to restrain X from grabbing the microphone while answering “Yes” on repeat to all the things they asked I would do. “Yes, I will love and cherish them forever. Yes, I will take care of them forever.” It felt like I was getting married! 😀 The great thing about adoptions here in our county is that only adoptions happen on Friday so you know everyone you see is there for the same wonderful celebration. The courtroom is decorated in stuffed animals and everyone is in a joyous mood! I was so nervous I have no idea what else happened but WOW I am so honored to be a part of such a cool thing.
The next day we had an adoption shower thrown for us. When my babies arrived almost 2 years ago I didn’t get 9 months to prepare, I didn’t know how old they would be or what size clothes they needed, and there was no baby shower. In the foster care world babies come without celebration. BUT NOW was our time to celebrate! A few sweet ladies from my Community Group planned, coordinated, and invited. I’ve been throwing my own parties my entire life (as a single person you get used to it!). It took me a minute to step away from the Party Planner role and let them take the reigns but I am so glad I did. It came together exactly how I envisioned it. I got to hand out catchy-sounding awards to all of my over-the-top helpers from the start of this journey, I was able to thank all those who were there for us in various ways, friends spoke about their experiences with the boys telling funny and heartfelt stories, and we prayed….it was simply unforgettable. Once-in-a-lifetime moment.
How Do I Feel Post-Adoption?
Amazing! My love for the boys really does grow sweeter as time goes on! They melt my heart on a daily basis and I squeeze and kiss them up every day! I no longer have kids in foster care. This is so weird! I stare at uncovered outlets knowing that I don’t have to cover them anymore, but I still do. I still have my vitamins and medicine in a locked box. Where did I have them before?! I can’t remember. I look at my fire escape plan diagram mounted to my front door at kid level and I don’t want to remove it. I have no idea why not. And for the first time when thinking who could take my kids on a camping trip I realized THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE CERTIFIED!! Although I’ve cleared out nearly all the baby stuff, I continue to wonder what if there is another baby and maybe I shouldn’t give it all away?! With foster care at any moment, any time, I could just get another baby?!?! Not that I would, but for this baby lover it is a thought I have!!
#nationaladoptionmonth #mamalisafosters #thisisfostercare #fosterlove #adoptionislove #worldadoptionday