Previously published February 2013
After our November support group dinner at DCCH, I asked our Foster Families to reflect on, and share some of the things for which they are thankful.
It was amazing to hear our diverse families share their thanks for the wonderful gifts in their lives. Children, who should have so little to be thankful for, considering the abuse and neglect they endured, were full of gratitude!
Amanda stood up and shared her thanks, "I am really thankful that God did not grant my prayers." This surprise statement had everyone’s attention.
Before anyone could question her, Amanda continued. "If this prayer had been answered the way we thought it needed to be, we would never have come to know the love that our new son and daughter have brought to us. The love that makes my husband the great father I always knew he would be. The love that makes us a family, the way we always dreamed of having, and for two beautiful children who now call us mom and dad."
The adoption of their five year old daughter and 13 year old son was finalized on December 27, 2012. As therapists, social workers and many relatives and friends filled the court room, nary a dry eye was found when the gavel hit the bench and the judge declared the adoption final.
Ken and Amanda started their journey with DCCH, when they called to inquire about becoming foster to adopt parents in 2010. They attended 30 hours of training and allowed me into their home. We prayed and shared a meal together at that first home visit. They also shared their story.
AManda and Ken both had educations and good jobs when they met and got engaged. They planned their wedding, traveled and had were enjoying their lives. They dreamed of the day they would start their biological family.
Unfortunately, this was not to be. They grieved, questioned and considered fertility treatments, but never choose that path. They continued to pray often for the miracle a baby, but that prayer went unanswered.
Eleven years later, they decided to pursue adoption, and upon being approved with DCCH, they were matched with two children. Ken and Amanda started as respite parents for another foster family who first cared for the children. When the permanency goal was changed to adoption because the birth mother was unable to make the progress necessary to be reunited, we all knew these children should be placed with Ken and Amanda.
Amanda and Ken worked very hard to build attachments, demonstrate their commitment and even grieve with the children when their birth mom visited or didn’t, or when she unconsciously showed favoritism to one child over the other. They were there to show love and respect to the birth mom and their grandfather because they deserved the dignity God gives and desires for all. But most of all, Ken and Amanda recognized the love the children still felt for their mother, and if they were to truly love these children, it meant they must love their family as well. Eventually, they helped the birth mom recognize her love for her children and find peace in her decision to terminate her parental rights. She even gave her blessings to her children in their good bye visit, and wished them happiness and peace with their new adoptive family.
Ken and Amanda wanted to celebrate this miracle, and threw a big party. They rented a hall, invited all their family, friends and folks from DCCH. We gathered together and congratulated them again, recounting the thanksgivings and love they share. Their pain has bee transformed into joy through fostering and adoption!