This story might seem like “just another story” of hardship within foster care, and although this story is plagued with tragedy and sadness… I’ll spoil the ending for you… Today I have my kids back and I am here to tell you that there is hope for drug addicted mothers.
The statement that we have made over and over again throughout our journey is that just because something looks right, doesn’t mean it is right. Red flag after red flag, our family’s perfect international adoption seemed to be crumbling before our eyes. We should have seen the writing on the wall. “Our daughter” is not an orphan, and out of ignorance we nearly molded her into one.
If you care about family unification and children getting out of the foster system I want to encourage you to invest in the parents. The best way to help parents resettle with their children is to be willing to be their to mentor and guide them if possible. Be a positive influence in their lives where they've maybe never had any. When we receive new children into our care we think about the moms and dads, how would they be feeling? You can do little things like text pics of the kids to mom several times a week, have the kids make her birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, make videos during the week and send those to mom to encourage her. Find ways to let mom know you aren’t trying to “take” her kids away from her but rather that you believe in her and want her kids to remember her.
As Fabiola held a backpack full of belongings and climbed into the tap tap with her mother, her eyes were red. Saying goodbye to the other children was like saying goodbye to her brothers and sisters. But her eyes held something else, too. We read in them the excitement of a nine year old little girl who was looking forward to a lifetime of love and care that only her mother could give her. It’s moments like these that led Child Hope International to reevaluate how we serve children in Haiti.
This summer we had the opportunity to visit the Harris’s in San Antonio, TX to see how they are doing, a year into adoption. Adam and Tiffany and each of their kids carry a humility about them and a willingness to share the good, the bad and the ugly, and we are so honored that they continue to let us be apart of their story!
That was the only information my husband and I received just days after we finished our foster care certification. We hastily built bunk beds (thank you, IKEA!) and got booster car seats, anticipating with excitement and dread (if I’m being honest!) the world-shift we were about to experience. But for five days, the boys didn’t come. Every day was going to be the day, but by the time we put our 10-month baby girl to sleep every night, the boys still hadn’t arrived. Finally, we got a call saying that the boys were not going to be placed with us. Instead, we were asked if we were willing to receive a 12-month old in three hours and pick up her baby sister from the hospital several days later? We looked at each other -- and the now irrelevant bunk beds and booster seats -- and said YES.
A week ago I got a message from Tiffany Harris, adoptive mama to Nate, who’s adoption we documented last summer in Beijing. Nate was adopted from Bethel China, less than a year before his 14th birthday. In China, when children living in orphanages turn 14, they age out. Due to Nate’s blindness, this meant Nate would go live the rest of his life in an institution. Let that sink in.
When we arrived in Beijing, we got to spend some time with Nate and his foster brothers at Bethel China before he met his forever family. One of the boys living in Nate’s foster home was Noah. Noah and Nate are best friends, and although not biologically related, they are brothers.
You don’t. You choose love, you choose loss, you choose them, every single day. Whether they will be yours forever or just until tomorrow, you adopt them in your heart for good, because that’s the only love that lasts, the forever kind of love. The love that wrecks you at the thought of them leaving, the love that causes you to re-work your entire schedule for them, your entire life for them.
During her second trimester she sent me emails letting me know about the Spaghettios he was making her crave. She told me about the conversations she had with him while her hands rested on her belly at night. She told him all about the family that would be adopting him and the mama that would love him. She gave us a jar of hundreds of pink and blue candies and made us count every single one to find out if it was a boy or a girl. When we counted a few extra blue ones we were handed a card from her that said "congratulations you are having a boy!" She invited me to ultrasounds and put my hand on her belly to make sure I felt him kick. She gave me the closest possible experience to pregnancy that a person can experience without having a baby grow inside you.
My name is Jen Tallon, and I’m a single 44-year-old Texan in the process of adopting my 8-year-old daughter from the Republic of Congo.
I am currently on a plane to Congo to meet my daughter for the very first time feeling so excited and very nervous. It is such a surreal moment that I’ve dreamt about for such a long time. I’m very mindful that this is a huge moment for my daughter, Mavie, as well. Our meeting in person is the beginning of a massive life change for both of us! I have doubted all I know about kids, my qualifications to be a mom and whether or not she will even like me!
As we forged through the unfamiliar waters of adopting from Liberia, we became aware that our son, Asa, was very sick. His entire little life had been spent in and out of the hospital fighting malaria, pneumonia, measles, and other diseases. And so upon our return to the United States we began seeking answers, and eventually received the diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a terminal genetic disorder characterized by the degeneration of your muscles.
Never in a million years did we expect the words Muscular Dystrophy to be words that would come into our story.