November is National Adoption Month and includes my all-time favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. In our home, we honor this month with a grateful heart because gathering our people around a table with appetizing food plus acknowledging the way we grew our family through adoption is a blessing. Speaking of meals...Cafe Baby has delicious fresh baby food that as a parent you can feel good feeding your little one, plus it is delivered to your door...that is a bonus! Our son grew up eating lots of their fresh yummy goodness.
I’ll begin by saying that adoption made us parents in the most magnificent way. We have an amazing support system of family, friends, and community that have been a present force in our lives throughout our fostering and adoption journey. Our son is a light and joy to not only our lives but others as well. He is brave, courageous, intelligent, strong and kind. He influences me to be a better person in how I show up in the world. Specifics of his story are not really mine to tell, so in honoring that I won’t go into all the intimate details of his story. But without a doubt Myles has been impacting lives since the day he was born. My heart behind this post is to share that adoption is equal parts beauty and brokenness. I think of his birth parents often: on holidays, birthdays, and regular everyday days. I thought about her on the day I realized that Myles knew all his letters and could spell his name.
More recently as he’s begun to tell long-winded jokes that end with his comedic role model Fozzie Bear’s famous “Get it...wacka-wacka,” we laugh deep belly laughs because if he doesn’t think you’re laughing...he will tell another joke, and it will be an even longer one. He is our incredible Myles. The magnitude of what his birth mom did will never be lost on me, our family, or those we come in contact with in the future. I salute her because she gave me one of the greatest joys I will personally ever have in this life.
Several years ago after trying unsuccessfully to have children of our own, my husband and I began the conversation of adoption. Adoption was not foreign to either of our families. We are people of faith and the story of adoption continued over several months to make its way into our lives through conversation, small groups at church, and the natural flow of everyday life. At that time we knew we needed to respond to that specific call tugging at our hearts.
In 2014, shortly before my father passed away, I had the privilege to share our hope for adoption with him. He was extremely supportive and reminded me that caring for plus extending love to others is who we are as a family. He encouraged me to tell our child their story and remind them that families are made in many different ways. That conversation from his hospital bed is still one precious stone of remembrance that I cherish.
After my dad passed away, my husband and I revisited the conversation of fostering and adoption. Our grieving process included a desire to focus on others as a way to help us heal. The goal of foster care ultimately is reunification. We were blessed to foster six phenomenal children all under the age of two over the course of two years. We had kids in our care for periods as long as nine months to as short a stay as two weeks. Each experience was a unique opportunity to practice grace, security and establish a foundation of love for our kids. We took pictures and shared them with their parents, attended weddings, sporting events of friends and even went on vacation with our kids in care. All events were opportunities to model another perspective of family dynamics for our kids in care. Each time we left the state we had to get trips approved in advance by the parents and the courts, because as resource parents we could not make decisions independently. I remember one mom told me she was excited for her daughter to fly on an airplane because that was an experience she had never had. In that season of life, our hearts expanded in a way we could not have imagined at the start of our journey.
Fostering and adoption both exist with extra emotion that ebbs and flows with typical everyday life. Seeing their parents accomplish goals and be reunited with their children still brings tears to my eyes. Fostering taught us that loving someone else’s child without thinking twice about it wasn’t a challenge for us at all. Yet the brokenness and sense of loss we felt after the children were gone was all too real. After having those experiences we knew we were ready to establish our forever family.
Our son has been with us since he was nine days old and we became a forever family on paper a year later. All dressed in love, a few free-flowing tears, joy and strength in numbers, we legally became a family that day in the eyes of the court. But my heart knew that Myles was ours from day one when he was placed in my arms. Our journey has not been easy, but if given the chance to do life all over again we would walk this road again for our son. Watching him grow into his own has been nothing short of amazing!
Our hope for Myles and any future kids in care is a promise to devote our lives to providing for them with all the love, security and joy we can offer. We are raising Myles with the framework that he knows he is loved by so many people. We encourage him to become a person who nurtures and builds up other people while making time spent with them precious. Our parenting plan includes raising him with an understanding and appreciation of his unique story and the loving sacrifice his birth mother made for him. Adoption and fostering are words we use in our home as we model our family core value: love makes us family. I will forever be in awe that I am his mom which is both an honor and a privilege.