Just over 2 years ago, we embarked on a journey that has recharged our
lives in ways unexpected. After getting married in 2007, successfully
blending two families, and ushering our 4 children out into the world, we
felt like premature empty nesters. We did lots of travel, and lots of
entertaining. But eventually we thought we needed to be nurturing more than
our adult children. Adopting a child isn’t a whimsical
choice. Unlike a pet, a child can’t (or shouldn’t) be “returned to sender”, so
we took another year to examine our feelings. We needed to ensure we were both ready for the required commitment.
After exploring all the available
options for adoption, we turned to our state’s foster to adopt program.
We sacrificed 6 consecutive weeks of Saturday mornings to attend foster
care training during the fall of 2012. We endured the rigors of a home
study which included microscopic examination of our lives. We reconfigured rooms and tentatively prepared for a child whose age we
could only guess. We waited, nagged our social workers, and incredibly, a
week before Christmas last year, we got the call we’d been waiting for. An
8 month old baby girl in foster care needed a forever home. A meeting with
her foster parents was hastily arranged. We nervously arrived at the home,
only 10 minutes away from ours. We had not asked to see pictures
beforehand. We had no idea what our little girl was going to look like.
The plan was for us to spend time with Twinkle (not her real name) to
determine whether she would be a good fit for us. I think we both
determined that regardless of who was presented to us, we were going to take
her home, love her, and make her a part of our family. We were trusting
that God was in charge.
Our first 2 hours with Twinkle were magical. She’s perfect, active, happy,
loving, and very social. She demonstrated all these qualities for us within that
short time frame. We went home excited, and began to make final
preparations for the new addition to our family. As a forewarning of the
incredible blessing she was going to be to us both, Twinkle came home to us
on Christmas Eve, after playing the role of baby Jesus in her foster
parents’ church nativity play. She was indeed, our wonderful Christmas
gift. Better than we could ever imagine. She immediately became the center
of focus of our lives.
Twinkle now has 4 doting brothers and sisters (our birth children). With her
incredibly social and loving personality, Twinkle has won the hearts of
everyone who comes into contact with her. Twinkle attends an excellent
preschool run by my employer at the Community Center where I work. Parents of
other children in her class gush over how warm she is. Teachers,
administrators, my colleagues – everyone knows Twinkle. I am constantly
provided with anecdotes about people’s interactions with her. This child is
truly blessed and a blessing. She is incredibly perceptive, expressive,
creative, and she makes us so proud.
While we are both young looking enough for people to believe Twinkle is our
own child (very flattering to me, actually), we do have friends and family
who think we have lost our minds to have relinquished our recent freedom
from child-rearing to start over. When they do the math, they are doubly
dumbfounded. Do we have concerns about how Twinkle will feel in
high school with parents older than everyone else’s? Perhaps slightly. But
we know this little girl is ours, and we will cross every bridge together.
Thank God that through the wonders of modern medicine, healthy lifestyles,
(and makeup) we live in a time when 60 is the new 40 (or thereabouts).
We are so grateful to our tireless social workers. And to Twinkle’s first
foster family, who lavished her with love to ensure she had the best
start in life. We are the beneficiaries of their care and attention. And we
are grateful to Twinkle’s birth parents, and their careless act of
copulation that ultimately gave us our feisty, almond eyed beauty.
We understand that Twinkle has several blood siblings and step-siblings.
They are in other adoptive homes, foster homes and with relatives. We hope
they are doing as well as Twinkle is. And maybe in the not too distant
future, the siblings will meet, begin exchanging life stories, and commence
sibling relationships. We sincerely hope no new siblings are born. It is
very difficult not to be judgmental about people who so casually produce new
babies, year after year, with no thought about how the children’s needs will
be adequately met.
We have no regrets about our decision, as we approach a major milestone.
In a few short weeks, Twinkle will officially become a member of our family,
in front of a judge, other officials, friends and family. The joy she has
added to our lives is immeasurable. It has erased the angst we experienced
as we awaited a placement. This experience has taught us that you really can
be a parent at any age. We have readily embraced sleepless nights,
inconvenient doctor visits, runny noses, poopy pampers, temper tantrums, car
seats, baby-proofing, rapidly outgrown clothes, juggling diaper bags and a
wriggling toddler, play dates, re-reading stories five times in one sitting
and all else that comes with this territory. We’ve been introduced to
newfangled equipment, baby stuff and stroller systems nonexistent when we
raised our older children. We are not daunted by all this. We are committed.
The foster to adopt process itself is not without its challenges. We
understand, however, that the system is overwhelmed with too many children
desperate for loving homes, overworked staff with heavy case-loads, limited
resources, and unfortunately, far too few willing or capable foster /
adoptive families. Foster and adoptive families rescue children of all ages
from dubious futures fraught with the risks of abuse, exploitation, neglect,
lack of opportunity. We are trusting that we will be able to guide Twinkle
to ultimately fulfill her God-given potential.