⁣Sometimes I feel there is a stigma placed on adoption that it is only for rich married couples that cannot have their own children and I hate this stigma. Adoption can be and is a beautiful process for all different types of families. Here is our journey.⁣

Drue and I met at EFY, basically a church camp for youths. My husband wrote his number on the back of my camp book but had horrible handwriting and It took 4 years and Facebook for us to finally reconnect but when we reconnected we didn’t waste any time. We started dating in September, got engaged in Nov and married in March of the next year. ⁣

Right off the bat we both knew we wanted a large family. I remember before we had any kids that we would almost jokingly say we wanted eight children. Then we had our first child and oh boy! With each consecutive child we would start to subtract one child from our total count. One child born and we then were ok with 7. With the second child we were then ok with 6. ⁣

For the most part we haven’t struggled with having children, though I do have hard  pregnancies. So how did we end up in a situation of adoption? It actually goes back to my husbands side of the family a few generations. Some families are destined or blessed to have multiple adoption throughout generations and we have been blessed to continue this tradition. My husbands grandmother, mom, and aunt have all been adopted. ⁣

Our journey to adoption has been filled with happiness, joy, tears, and lots of prayer. We had decided to he would be a travel nurse as a family before our oldest son started kindergarten. This would allow us to travel the country and get paid to do it! Our first stop of course was to visit our grandmother in another state. While visiting we received terrible news that our nieces and nephews were about to be placed in foster if someone was unable to pick them up from school the next day. ⁣

It just so happened that because we were visiting our grandmother we could take the family and make it to where they were within 12 hours. Upon arriving to this city with three children under 4 years old in our mini van we were able to connect with a few friends for a place to stay. We picked two of our nieces and nephews up from school the next day. The third niece was with a family friend in the same city because she was only 2 years old and not in school. ⁣

At this time the full picture started to unfold of what situation we were actually dealing with. Due to previous legal proceedings the older niece and nephew were ordered to go live with a grandmother who had not seen them in 5 years. The court also ordered the older two children to go to a foster home until the grandmother could arrive. Luckily that was the next day but it was gut wrenching to hand off your own family members to a couple that you have never met. What would they eat? Where would they sleep? Would they be scared at bedtime? All of those things and more raced through our minds as we brought them to the DCFS office. ⁣

Much to our surprise the couple put most of our fears to rest. They were genuine, sweet and easily connected with the kids. We gave our niece and nephew our cellphone number and imparted as much love as we could in that short time. Through tears and hugs we walked them out to the foster families car and said our goodbyes. This really strengthened our resolve to make sure the youngest niece did not endure this same process. ⁣

It was so frustrating but our main focus was getting them into a good home and not letting them end up as part of the system. Once we knew that the older two siblings would be ok we then focused our attention to the youngest niece. ⁣

At this point our nieces mother agreed to sign over guardianship but only to the grandfather. We felt impressed to take her home with us but due to the mothers resistance and our family travel nursing (y’all we were only one week into our travel nurse adventure!) She went to her paternal grandfathers home. ⁣

However before she went to live with her grandparents in Alabama we got to spend time with this precious soul. Can I say she has the most innocent and sweetest smile. It was at that time that we knew we would only be traveling long enough to do one nursing contract and then head back home. Three months later we were able to welcome our niece into our home.⁣

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So here we were, we have just welcomed the birth of our third child 9 months ago and now we are adding another child into our home. She fit right in with our three kids. Within a couple of weeks of having her in our home we knew we wanted to adopt her but there was still a chance of reuniting her with her parents. So we waited but after a year those chances of her being reunited were slim. At that point we were legally ready to have her as a permanent part of our family. ⁣

It was a long road. Having a kin adoption is difficult, you’re wanting to make sure to not step on any family’s toes while still making sure your number one priority is this sweet child that you’ve been entrusted with.

The days leading up to the adoption were stressful. There was still a chance the biological mom could prolong the process. Here we are going before a judge with what we now consider our daughter and an integral part of our family. What if the judge for whatever reason wouldn’t recognize how she fit in our family?  ⁣

I want to say that the adoption day couldn’t have been more perfect. We arrived with our family and a couple close friends. The judge was so kind and actually came down to the table we were sitting at in the court room. He made our daughter feel special and then made sure to include the rest of the children in the process of the adoption. Our sweet daughter was adopted on October 16, 2019. ⁣

I remember I just kept uttering “I can’t believe this day is finally here”. The same happiness and euphoric feeling I had at the birth of my other children is exactly how I felt the day of our daughters adoption. ⁣

I would like to end with my husbands thoughts and feelings following the adoption. “I have fond memories of my Grandpa Harris. One specific memory he shared was that a long time ago he was deployed to go to war and fight for our freedoms. During this time he would spend some of his req time at the orphanage with children of the country he was in. The war was terrible and like most wars neither side “won”. On departure my Grandpa decided he was not going to leave without doing something good for this country. He proceeded to adopt a young baby girl he had a special connection with.”⁣

I’m not at war and never have faced the horrors my Grandfather did. However, I have seen terrible things happen to good people and felt the same urge to do something good for this country and those I see in need. I hope that I am honoring his memory and fighting for the good things in life even in terrible situations.⁣

I look forward to providing this vibrant young girl, who will be an amazing young woman and then a wonderful mother, a home that she can feel safe in and be herself. A home that she is sheltered from the terrible parts of life until she is ready to venture on her own adventures.  I am proud to call you one of my children. “