Our Fost/Adopt Story

So I'm a 50+ year old mom of a 4 and almost a half year old.  Insane?  Maybe. Am I happy?  Unquestionably, 100% yes.

I have three children - now, actual adults - from my first marriage.  They are now 25, 24 and 20.  I met and married husband number two about 14 years ago.  At the time, my children were about 5, 10, and 11.  My ex wasn't really around much, so my now husband was a semi-father figure around the house.  He is younger than me, and from the get-go told me that he didn't want kids of his own.  That's what he thought....

I've always been interested in true crime books and tv shows.  Something about the criminal mind fascinates me.  If I had thought about it as a kid, I should have become a psychologist.  I may be one of the few people on the planet who had pity for Jeffrey Dahlmer.  One of the things that always struck me, is that when you watch a lot of these reality tv shows about people in jail, death row, in front of the parole board, how many times you hear that they had grown up in foster care, or been bounced around from one foster home to another.  I always felt in the back of my mind that if I were ever in a position to, I'd like to do something about it.

One day,  about 6 years ago, my husband called me while I was driving down the freeway.  I don't know what got into him, but I remember his words - he said that he might, possibly, consider the possibility of maybe looking into possibly adopting a child.  My next call was to Los Angeles County Department of Social Services and we were enrolled in the first step introduction meeting.  My husband said that he'd never seen me act so quickly on anything, ever.

We began the long process to become qualified as foster parents.  We learned that there are different types of foster parents - ones that are foster parents who have no plan to adopt, and others they call fost/adopt parents.  We definitely wanted to adopt.  We went to classes twice a week for about two months.  We filled in all the forms.  They checked our backgrounds.  They inspected our home.  I think from start to finish, the whole process took about 4 months.

Then, we waited.

We had learned in our classes that most - really, all - of these children are in foster care because of parents with some type of addiction problem.  We also learned of the DCFS philosophy of trying to re-unify the families.  Under all circumstances, they try their best to place the child back with their parents, or the parents family.  If that fails, then the child goes to a foster family.

One of the things that they do when they screen you is find out what child you will accept into your home.  They ask about a million criteria, ranging from age, racial makeup, disability, family history, etc.  Our criteria was we wanted a child as young as possible, under 3.  That was pretty much it.

We got a call probably after about two weeks.  It was for a baby boy - he had been born prematurely to a drug addicted woman in prison.  There's a long story here, but for the sake of brevity, we had that baby for three months.  I loved him instantly.  I loved him with every fiber of my being.  Then, the social worker called and said that in 24 hours, they were coming to take him back, as they found a family member who was willing to take him.  I still cry when I think about him.  I know where he's being raised, and in what type of family.  It's not good.  It's not what would have been best for him.  But, that's the way fost/adopt works.

In between my second and third biological children, I lost a baby at 21 weeks.  Having this little boy taken away from us by DCFS was worse than that.

My husband and I then examined our reasons for doing this, and called the social worker and told her that we wanted to try again.  We put away all the baby toys, equipment, and clothes.  And, again, we waited.

We got a call after about another two weeks for a newborn baby boy.  We missed the call.

Two days later, we got a call at about 4:00 and asked if we could be at a hospital about 30 miles away to pick up a baby girl.  The person who called us knew what had happened to us previously, and while she couldn't make any promises, she said that it was her experience that this one may stick.  She said that they had already pretty much heard from relatives that no one was interested in taking this little girl.  The mother already had 6 children previously, who had all been taken away and placed in various families.  There was no one for this little girl baby.  Good thing we were home to get the call.

My husband and I had previously thought about what we'd name a girl.  We decided on "Emily Jane" - Emily because we liked it, and Jane for my mother-in-law.  We set off for the hospital....and, totally forgot my then 16 year old son needed to be picked up at his school and brought to his basketball practice.  I called my very good friend Deborah - one of those friends you can always rely on - and asked her if she could pick up my son and take him to basketball.  My husband jokingly told her that we would now name the baby "Julia" after her daughter as a thank you for getting our back.  So, of course, Deborah came through.

We got to the hospital.  Ironically, there was another couple there who were picking up a newborn girl also detained by DCFS.  The randomness of this system never fails to amaze me.  I wish I had spoken to that couple to see what happened to them.....what if they had got our baby, and they got ours?  Coincidentally, they were naming their baby Emily too!

The nurses took us back to the nursery to meet our baby.  Then, they told us that she was already named.  JULIA.  Really?  Was this meant to be?  That is my only explanation on this planet, that we were destined to be the parents of this child, in spite of the workings of DCFS, and the agony I went through with our first baby.  Fate.   That's my explanation anyways.



Well, our baby was NOT the most adorable baby.  Nor did I fall immediately in love with her.  She was cranky as hell for about 8 weeks.  My husband (who was home full time with her) was not happy.  There were moments he told me that he couldn't do this.  That he wasn't cut out for it.  But, he persevered.

After about 8 weeks, we saw a change.  She was happy.  Not crying.  Social.  A joy.  And, then, she got cuter...

and cuter...
and cuter...



So, yada yada yada through all the foster care system crap - the adoption went through and was final when she was about a year and a half.  And, all the crap was totally worth it!

14 comments:

  1. Recently, I got bit by the baby bug, again. I have three biological children at home, but medical issues prevent me from having more. My husband suggested foster/adopt, and then I found your blog. Coincidence? Maybe. Or Divine Guidance. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. I'm a believer that things happen for a reason....whenever we got to the hospital, and Julia was already named Julia, that was exactly our thought - that she was meant to be with us. I still believe it.

      The fost/adopt experience was kind of like the labor part of pregnancy. It sucked, but once it's over, it's over and you'd do it all again for another child.

      Let me know if you need any advice or whatever! Good luck to your family!

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  2. I couldn't be more agree with the last sentence of your story. I am know in the last stage of an adoption process, almost 4 years living the emotional roller coster that this adventure involves, but i won't change a thing because my girl is one of the greatest thing that could ever happens to us. We have a boy, almost seven years old, also adopted and our girl who is going to be 4 next month, i thank God for the blessing of adoption and encourage everyone who has this desire in the heart. God bless you and your family!!!
    Vanessa from Venezuela

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    1. Thanks Vanessa!! I'm not familiar with the Burdastyle website....I'd love to see pics of your daughter....send a link if you can!

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    2. I think that if you enter my name Vanessa Velasquez in the searching box of burdastyle.com, this will show my profile and then you can access my projects photos. See you around in this blogland!!!
      Best wishes, Vanessa

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  3. P.S: I saw the pictures you have posted of your girl, she is really cute!!! I dont have a blog, but i post the things i sew for my girl in burdastyle. com, if you have a chance you can see some of my projects there and you can see that i also have a curly cutie at home!!!

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  4. So happy to "meet" you! I found you from the Project Run & Play event. Our family too just recently adopted through the foster system. Our Lil' Princess rounds out our nest of 5 beautifully too! :) Thanks for sharing your story and your beautiful family! I love to read happy fostering stories like this!

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    1. Hi Kristy! So you can TOTALLY understand all we went through....and the joy at the end of it all as well!

      Tonight, my daughter reached over, patted my husband on the head tenderly, and said "Daddy, I love you...." - moments like that are what you live for, and what we went through the whole process for.

      I'm glad it worked out for you too! Sometimes, things just work out the way they are supposed to!

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  5. I have always seen only the clothes you make and post on flickr, and they are lovely. As is your daughter. Today for some reason I clicked on the blog link below and this is what I found. Its a beautiful story, and thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Thanks for reading and the compliment Asmita!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story here. I also have an adopted little boy- though we didn't go through the state. We have been waiting over a year to get chosen again for another child... I have thought about the foster/adopt program but I don't know if I could go through what you went through and have a baby taken away.... so so sad. I am so glad that your situation worked out and you were able to keep your beautiful little girl.

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  7. What a beautiful story (and adorable little girl!). When my twins were 1 1/2 we were asked to foster/adopt a baby girl in our family. She was lovely (and cranky and needy) and beautiful, and three little girls was wild. But, I loved it and would do it again. I share your sadness for unexpectedly returning her to an unhealthy home life. Thank you for sharing your expertise and eye for style as well as your 'story'.

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  8. Aw, she's adorable even when she is not adorable! I love this story - thank you so much for sharing. I know adopting is such an emotional roller coaster, but these poor kids need parents, like you, who stick through the ups and downs! So sweet!

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  9. I think you are incredibly brave. We looked into fostering after our last child, so many children need good temporary homes, but I was not strong enough to deal with giving them back.
    As I said, I admire you greatly.

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