There are days in your life that you never forget what you were doing and where you were when everything changed. On an international level, September 11th or the Challenger explosion are perfect examples. For me, January 16, 2016 is the date I will never forget. It’s the day my world changed. On January 16, my husband and I learned of a baby who needed a family. This is the day I spoke to my son’s birth mother for the first time, only hours after finding out he existed. Only three quick months later, and he was born and in our home. He legally became our son after only two more months when his adoption was finalized. To say it was a whirlwind would be an understatement.
Every family’s story is different. Our adoption did not happen like most do. We are aware that our child came into our life quickly. I attribute this to God. While we were waiting for Him to answer our prayers for a child, He was working behind the scenes lining everything up perfectly. There were times at the beginning when I thought about what would have happened to him if we hadn’t received the fateful Facebook message or if we had answered, no. Working in child welfare, the reality that children grow up without forever families is not lost on me.
The work we do at Kids Central is so important for the children who are in foster care and those seeking forever families. The children Kids Central serves rely on people just like you to answer the call of adoption. Before my husband and I knew about our son, we were planning on adopting from foster care. We even attended an orientation class a few years ago. This past summer, we were planning on starting the process again; however, God had a different plan for us. After adopting our son, we have not closed the door on adopting, possibly through foster care.
Are you curious about adoption? Call today and ask you questions. You have nothing to lose and stand to gain so much more. While our adoption was private, the concept is the same, opening your home to a child that needs a forever family. Will it be easy and pain-free? Probably not. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.
Our adoption finalization hearing was in June 2016. As we stood in front of Judge Robbins, my husband and I were both very emotional. The moment we had dreamed about for months, years even, was here. We were going to walk out of that courtroom as parents, legal parents. It took everything in me not to breakdown in tears in front of her. The most memorable moment came when she asked us a few questions, confirming our desire to be our son’s mom and dad. I cannot even remember most of the questions she asked; it was such a blur of emotions. Then Judge Robbins shocked us and asked our infant son a question: if he would love us and listen to us, even on the hard days. Obviously she didn’t expect an answer, and the whole courtroom was surprised to hear him respond, in a way only a two and a half month old could, with the cutest coo ever! How perfectly timed it was. Lastly, Judge Robbins addressed all of our friends and family who filled the courtroom and asked if they would continue to be there for us and support us in the years to come. It was wonderful to turn around and see so many loved ones standing with us who answered with a resounding, YES!
So you see after all of the waiting, six years to be exact, and all of the heartache, it came down to that one moment. I will ask you again, what do you have to lose? I assure you that what you gain is worth it all in the end.
To learn more about the adoption process, please call Paula Mealy today at 352-387-3487.
Jennifer Clark is the Development and Communications Coordinator for Kids Central’s Community Affairs Department.