All it takes for most couples is one good turn of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On and nine months later presto! you're a parent. For others, it takes maybe a few more tries but you're still bonified parents nine months later. For us, to finally call ourselves parents it took two willing toddlers, seven adults, 6 long months and the state of Texas to make it official. Marvin Gaye wasn’t involved. 😄 😄
When we first got them in September, we knew we wanted these kids to stay. They were just so adorable. They wanted to be loved. They filled you with the desire to care for them-to pour love into their parched, neglected hearts. We could see a future with them. Sadly, with foster-to-adopt, though, you can’t bank on forever. No matter what you are told your future is not in your control. We learned to balance the love we felt for these sweet, endearing toddlers with the realization they could leave at any moment. It was not easy. I guess it’s like the feeling I got on my first date with Sean. You think there’s a chance. You hope there’s a chance. You’d like a future with them. But it’s not up to you alone so you don’t plan your wedding on the first date. We got to know the kids. We worked to connect with them. We made it a priority to help them feel comfortable and safe with us. We gave them opportunities they’d never known existed. We took them to the zoo. We taught them how to fish, went trick o’ treating for the first time, celebrated their first Christmas—not just with us but ever.
We also survived co-parenting. That’s what I call foster-to-adopt: co-parenting with strangers. We learned to navigate the tricky tightrope of raising children with people paid to evaluate your ability to parent. We survived twenty-two home visits from seven co-parents—almost one visit a week. We had input from CPS case managers, our Child Placing Agency case manager, and both the children’s guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem. Everyone was (mostly) kind and considerate and they (mostly) cared about the kids and their future but make no mistake—we still had to do exactly what they advised. You hold your tongue and don’t dare question because one wrong move and your dreams are toast. Even when it seems counterintuitive and contrary to what the other six co-parents had to say on parenting toddlers. But what can you do other than what they tell you. Nothing. Stressful but worth it to realize our dreams.
We are relieved and thankful to finally adopt. It’s been a long, bumpy road to get here but well worth it for us to become parents to C and A. This way of becoming parents is not the for the faint of heart and it’s easy to get discouraged. That’s why we want to encourage others to adopt the same mindset of hope as they pursue foster-to-adopt. We’ve decided to start a local and online support group. Our first meeting is at the end of May. You can find out more information here. Take it from us—you can do it. Let's Get It On! (just joking…Marvin Gaye still won’t be involved…😄)