November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. Adoption is a special action that makes families whole. Many children in America are without a family for many reasons. This is a great month for many children and the forever families that were created by the union of adoption. The declaration for this special month is to highlight awareness to adoption and invite prospective parents to consider opening their hearts and their home as a foster parent or adoptive parent to the thousands of children in search of a family to call their own everywhere in America.
National Adoption Day
National Adoption Day is the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving each November. This day is celebrated across the United States, within the 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Courts all around these states hold large adoption ceremonies for hundreds of families and host a celebration to recognize the commitment of forever love these families have created for adopted children everywhere. It is a day that memorializes a loving future for many children.
For families and children everywhere touched by love thru adoption, there are several ways you can celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month and National Adoption Day. A wonderful idea is to light a candle to celebrate and dedicate those that have touched your heart thru adoption. Preparing handwritten cards or sending virtual cards to say thank to those that assisted you on your journey. Host a small celebration at your local community center or home for your community or family to celebrate the joy of foster or adoption.
Our Adoption Journey
We are a uniquely blended family with an unlikely and unexpected journey that no one could predict. My husband and I are both only children with no biological siblings. So, one could image we grew up with a bit of either cherished selfishness or unbothered loneliness. Well, we met decades later on our current job and thru unpredictable events connected. When we joined forces, as I call it we both had two children in tote. We discussed and I guess planned to have children but we were told it wouldn’t be written in our journey medically. We began to travel and accepted that life was what we made it and cherished all that we currently had.
A few years later, I had the most defining moment to work with cases involving abused and neglected children. These moments placed us in a desire to serve those most vulnerable, plus in need. We decided to fill every available space in our home to children in need of love, a home and most of all protection. We began to do our research and figure out that the task would be hard, the application process was invasive and lengthy but essentially well worth it. Our then-teenaged children, of course, went thru mixed emotions. Some of those emotions good and some conflicted. Of course, a new child in the family meant that there would be big changes. We applied with local social services to become foster parents. We didn’t know what to expect and had no legal advice other than the world wide web of the internet.
We share our desires and excitement with our coworkers and by chance one day my husband was told about a therapeutic foster care agency, Seraaj Family Homes from Montgomery, Alabama that services children with special needs. We were truly moved by the mission of this agency and found that they had a satellite office in Washington, DC, so we gave them a call. Immediately we were taken in with several warm hugs and provided details about the home study process and requirements for approval. We had classwork, homework, background check research and spiritual work (personal) to achieve for this approval process. We dashed around our home and baby proofed, emergency prepared and stockpiled groceries and diapers. Once your little one grows up to become a teen you tend to forget about all these little important things.
As a former child care provider, I found that the process was thorough, the background check was invasive but needed and the training was intense. My husband was just so available and always said just tell me what to do and when to do it because he was determined to get it done. We completed our home study with Adoptions Together, an awesome local accredited service that provided pre/post adoption counseling services too. Following this process, we offered to be a resource and support for parents going thru the foster/adoption journey and found this to be even more rewarding. We also had the opportunity to provide respite care and emergency care to foster care children over the ten years we were licensed therapeutic foster care professionals. We will admit it required us to be readily available but the moment you can provide a child relief in a truly bad moment is worth every bit of the rush.
Summer of 2009, we were blessed with opening our home to our now forever children. The children arrived with individual challenges but we were ready to answer the call. Also, we had too much red tape but it was a necessary process to protect every person involved legal rights. The awesome team of attorneys that tackled education, medical and the adoption that worked endlessly for the children benefit are also well deserving of our endless love and thank you ~ Mrs. Sabine Browne, Mrs. Amrutha Rode, and Mr. Eric J. Williams. In 2015, the adoption was finalized. HOORAY! It was a truly long process but we are forever bonded as a family in God’s wonderful design. Then, as no one would expect our family continued to grow. We also were blessed again with having two more biological children. WOW! Well, here we are, two only children, that without a single thought in our young lives could imagine so many hearts joining us on this parenting journey.
Today, all the children to include those that are now young adults continue to grow together. It’s a beautiful endless expression of love that they have for one another. We are truly blessed and honored to be a part of their awesome lives. We have been given the opportunity to be “The Best Part of Us” to ten hearts thru adoption, guardianship, and birth. We have even loved and cared for children that we don’t count because we cannot legally claim them (as one would say) but if you ask me they are all always going to be my children too. We cherish every moment of each day with our children. We are like any family with traditional problems and accomplishments but each child is unique, loving and make us totally complete. I can surely say that our family could not be so full of love without each of them today and it was worth giving up our only child habits. Our picture below is missing half of our gang ~ a simple reminder to get family portraits done soon.
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