The order for termination of parental rights. The DHS worker called exactly one week after court. I was shocked, that was the fastest return of order I have experienced. Our family is growing and Baby Girl will officially be a Klepfer, this calendar year. She will just be shy of one year when her adoption will be complete, giving her a new name and a forever home. We will celebrate and cherish the sweet side of adoption.
Henry (who is almost two) and Baby Girl share a biological mother, their story is different from others in my home, I brought both of them home from the hospital. My older crew has memories, trauma and a relationship (old and new) with their birth mom. My youngest two, only knew their biological mother’s womb, she faded quickly into silence weeks after they were born.
Charlotte asked me a couple of weeks ago if the babies would know they were adopted. Without hesitation, I exclaimed, “of course.” I hadn’t really thought about not telling them, I just figure that adoption is the very blueprint of our family, a reality we can’t escape. A reality I don't want to forget.
I am thankful Baby Girl and Henry are together and share a commonality in their story. One day the bitter side of adoption will settle in and they will have to process the weight of it all, I am thankful they will have each other and their older siblings to help pave the path with understanding. They will have to process their value, the reality and they may even have to offer forgiveness.
After processing Charlotte's question, I decided what worked best for our family was to just keep adoption at the center of who we are. Not dwelling on the past or the bitter element but the precious gift this family is. We will continue celebrating our Gotcha Days each year, we will hang pictures and tell stories of how I met them and what my first thoughts were. I will tell them of all the things I know about where they come from. I will tell them about the day the call came and when I walked into the hospital to bring them home. I will tell them how scared I was but how that all went away when I laid eyes on them.
Early on in my foster care journey, adoption wasn’t the plan. I honestly didn’t believe I could do it. I didn’t believe I was the best option for my crew. I was wrong. Adoption is intentional love pouring out, empowering others, granting them a new identity. Every adoption story has an element of tragedy. Adoption steps in and fills the void, it is the redemption of brokenness, neglect, orphanhood, addiction and abuse.
Adoption is the vehicle that brought us all together, the tool used to build our family. Adoption is the conduit of a special kind of love. A love not birthed but found, not inherited but given, not created but discovered. A love fought for, found and chosen.
I am humbled by our story, we got to grow into a family, one day at a time. I love that my crew was so patient with me as I grew into a mom. I love that I got to know them, watch them heal and blossom. I love that together we picked their new names, breaking the bondage of their past and giving them a vision for their future. I love that as we grow as a family that foster care becomes a family adventure, all of us making room to love those coming into our home.
Jody Landers beautifully sums up this bittersweet journey with this quote, “A child born to another woman calls me mommy, the magnitude of that tragedy and depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” What a beautiful privilege it is to be their parent. The story that once was filled with sorrow, loss and grief is now a story of hope.