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Challenge: Share your adoption story

#LegallyBrown

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Early in our relationship my husband and I knew that becoming parents would be an experience we would not forget. Like many, adoption was the only way we would become parents, and in the fall of 2013 we began our journey. We started our process with our local child and family services. We took the necessary 8 week classes on the do’s and dont’s of parenting. We went through the home inspections, fire inspections, lead inspections, and all legal clearances needed to complete the program. Our house failed the lead inspection (big let down) so we were only licensed to foster children above the age of 6 and up. At the time, we just wanted to be parents so restriction didn’t concern us. While we took the classes, they would say you never know when you will get the phone call. Just keep your house ready. For me, that meant keep your house clean. Although we had a second bedroom, it remained empty. I refused to walk by a room with what I called “Hope furniture”. I didn’t want to walk past the room daily looking into what we “hope” would happen. I remember saying to my husband. When we get the phone call, we will pay furniture then. Fast forward to October 2014 our social worker called and said she noticed our lead inspection limited our possibilities of getting children younger than 6. She admonished me to correct the few issues we had and schedule another appointment for clearance. Two days later, she called and said she needed to come by and speak with my husband and I. She came by with another social worker assigned to our case. We exchanged pleasantries, and she proceeded to ask us to see our spare bedroom. I remember asking her “why”? She repeated the question and we took her upstairs. She begins to take out a measuring tape and says to her colleague “yes two beds will fit”. I remember saying two beds for what? She explains a set of twins have come up for adoption and our names were mentioned as potential foster parents. You could have knocked me over with a feather ( that says a lot, I’m 6’1 280lbs). She said to me that by COB the next day my husband and I would need to have the room set up to receive two kids. I call my husband at work, and I’m yelling in the phone “ we need beds, we need a dresser , we need everything by tomorrow”. He has no clue to what I am talking about, as he couldn’t get off work to meet with our social workers. The very next day we go and pick up one toddler bed and mattress. My girlfriend gifted us a toddler bed and mattress that was purchased and never used. A few days later, my social worker comes back out to see the room.... This begins our journey of faith, determination, and perseverance... By December 2014 we had several meetings with the agency and the individual who was caring for our children. We would go to her house and spend a few hours at a time with the children. I remember our first meeting. Our son played willingly while I daughter watched from a distance. Although our daughter was apprehensive, she began to trust us more and more so much so we had our first “family” outing. We went to dinner at McDonald’s. I remember not eating my meal because I was so intrigued with them. Soon would be Christmas, and on Christmas Eve, we had our first overnight visit ( how magical). Days prior we were scrabbling looking for Christmas toys and Christmas pajamas. The first night went great. We watched frosty the snowman, played with a few toys and they went to sleep in their beds. The night was rough as they were in new environments. But we got through it. I don’t remember much about Christmas morning, except us eating and watching TV all day. We took them back to their foster parents house that evening. A few days later they came for New Years Eve. But this time it was permanent. Our transition had been going so well until we all felt comfortable in making it permanent. So we woke up on January 1,2015 as foster parents. In order to adopt any child you are fostering, they must be with you for 6 months. In that time, although they were removed from their biological parents, they still had weekly visitation with them. Many ask how did you know if you loved them as your own? How long did it take? I said the first time I knew I loved them as my children was when I saw them walk out of the house to go to their weekly visitation. I was sick. I kept looking at my phone to see how much longer they would be there. I kept wondering if they were ok. I’d they were being harmed in any way. I knew then they were permanently etched in my heart. For 6 months we watched them go out the door for their weekly visits. Most were unsuccessful as neither parent would show. When month 6 came, out attorney filed the petition for adoption. Soon after we received out first court date. When the petitioned was filed we only anticipated 2 court dates needed. In our eyes, it was an open and shut case and there wasn’t much work needed. Boy were we wrong. Everything imaginable happened during our hearings. The first hearing, the parents showed up hours late, the next hearing was canceled because the Pope was coming to DC and his motorcade was passing the courthouse so they closed the courts. An attorney lost one of their parents unexpectedly so we had reschedule a date. There were a few snow storms in the mix as well. We finally were able to have the court dates secured and we would continue with the trial. On July 25,2016 after countless rescheduled court dates, a Pope visit, and other unforeseen circumstances, our children became Legally Brown. I say legally because they became ours as soon as we first met them.....what an experience! Like I wrote earlier, one I will never forget.

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