Monday, October 6, 2014

When We Tried To Adopt A Boy In Foster Care - Part 1

This is a bit of a rewind post. Lots of friends and family have been asking me for an update on our efforts to adopt a boy in Foster care the last year +. This is my attempt to update and document it for myself, too!
August 2013. 

 I happen upon a video on for the weekly "Wednesdays Child”. This is a child that has been in foster care and needs to be adopted and have a permanent home. I have seen this program every Wednesday in Utah since I was a child. Every time I see the videos, I feel feelings of sadness and hope that the child will find the right home for them and that the family will fall in love with that child. But I’ve never felt the need personally to actually call about someone, or be a foster parent, or adopt a child.
Until today.

I was not prepared for this. This day in August that hit me like a ton of bricks. This video. This boy that looked so much like my other kids. Dark skin, dark hair, brown eyes…so much like my 13-year old son Brandon. This boy that looked like my kids yet had no family. This boy who had “never been a part of anything. That’s my biggest dream is to be adopted - to be a part of a family.”

Such a simple thing, that every child has a right to.

My heart was breaking for him. He deserves a family who loves him. The video wasn't even halfway over until I started to get goosebumps. My heart was racing for unexplained reasons. Thoughts. Big thoughts. Thoughts like, WAIT. This boy is my responsibility. And – how has he not been in our family this whole time? Thoughts like, I'm not sure how to adopt a kid – but I need to make this right and get this boy in my house where he belongs.

At the end of the video – they said a number. I immediately picked up my phone and started to dial 801 –…

I stopped myself. “What the HECK. Get back to work, you’re being riduculous” I thought. I tried to brush off the feelings as I got back to work.

A few minutes later I see a post on Facebook from a trusted friend and prior colleague that works at KSL:

“I just met the most amazing teenage boy Brian. He is in foster care and is today’s Wednesday’s child. Please, if you have room in your heart, your home, call this number. I just loved him!”


My heart pounds harder. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. Now the initial strong feeling turns into action. I knew at that moment I absolutely had to do something and try my best to give this kid a chance he so deserved. I have every feeling in the world that he would be an amazing addition to our family. Especially with two other teenage boys that I am certain would love to have another. Brian's countenance and attitude and personality looked so amazing. It just struck a major chord with me.

I start to dial the number again.

"WAIT – my husband. Right. I'm going to need him on my bus if I'm going to bring a new boy into this family. I stopped, and dialed his number instead. He answers.

“You’re going to think I’m crazy, but…. (the intro to many of my phone calls…) I am emailing you a video. I want to hear your reaction while you watch it. At the end – I hear "so I guess you should at least call and see what it would take........”

He wasn't even halfway finished with the word take and I was dialing the phone number they advertised on television.

"Utah Adoption Center, can I help you?"

"Yes – I just saw a boy on KSL named Brian. What is it going to take to adopt this boy?”

"Oh sweetie – you mean Brian?"

“Well yes… that is the name that they said on television. Is that not his real name?"

"Oh, it's his real name, darling – but you need to understand – Brian has been “in the system” for a really long time. Are you sure you want to adopt him? Most people don't want to adopt teenage boys.”

"Why else would you put him on Wednesday’s Child on KSL then? This boy needs a family and a home and I have both. And, he is mine".

“Oh sweetie – again, Brian has been around for a really long time……."

"I suppose that attitude is exactly the reason why, then – they advertise them on television yet they talk you out of it the second you call and before you even get started? That makes no sense, so what is it about him that you are concerned about?”

Lady stalling, confused at my passion and intensity. "Oh it's all confidential I certainly can't say. But perhaps one day you'll understand. There's a reason people don't typically adopt teenage boys. Perhaps you'll soon understand..."

“I think the reason is probably this type of attitude. There are only three things that I would never be able to tolerate. Gang activity, white drug abuse, and sexual abuse of a child. Are any of these things a factor? If so, save me and you both the time. But meanwhile – every pore in my soul tells me this boy is ours and he needs to know that somebody cares about him and wants him in their family. Tell me what you know about him."

"Oh sweetie, its confidential. I can't. Perhaps if you get to the point of being able to talk to his caseworker, you can find out a little more, but – until then, you need to start with the Foster Care Foundation. "

Call to the Foster Care Foundation.

I learn it could take up to a YEAR if it even works out. Up to three months for the paperwork, then foster care classes, and then the adoption could take up to nine months before we even get to meet him in person. I have no idea why it has to take so long, but I am still hopeful and I want to give this boy an awesome family and a chance at a great life that he so deserves.

The lady who answers listens to my story and after telling me those general timelines, says she will call me back in a few weeks to schedule a time to come visit our family and take the first steps.

Me: “A few weeks? Why a few weeks?”

“Uhhh, well it’s just how we normally do it.”

“Oh, ok. I don’t do anything normal. So how about TOMORROW.” be continued….