Tomorrow is National Adoption Day! A day that I love more than my birthday. And honestly, now that I am an adult, I have truly come to appreciate this day because it has made such a difference, such an impact. This is the day that celebrates and raises awareness to children in the foster care system waiting for forever families.
According to the National Adoption Day website statistics, put together by the National Adoption Day Coalition:
- More than 100,000 children are in the foster care system, waiting for their forever families.
- About 4 years is the average time a child is in the foster care system, waiting to be adopted.
- More than 23,000 children age out of the foster care system before being adopted, resulting in no family or permanent home.
Those numbers are huge — too big, if you ask me.
But, also according to the site:
- 4,500 children were adopted by their forever families on the 2014 National Adoption Day.
- Almost 54,500 children have been adopted on National Adoption Day since it started in 2000; moving them out of the foster system and into forever families.
Those are big numbers I am happy to report.
The National Adoption Day Coalition created the One Day Project in honor of the day that an adoption is finalized; a day that’s never forgotten. The purpose of the One Day Project is to share what one day feels like, to give hope to children waiting for a forever family and to encourage parents waiting to adopt. It’s to bring a smile to anyone who has been involved with the adoption process.
My One Day story started before I was born; with both sets of my parents.
My adopted parents adopted me through an open adoption, meaning contact was kept between my birth parents and parents after I was legal adopted. To this day, I have a relationship with my both sides of my birth family, and Josh and Jennie (my birth parents) agreed to answer some questions in a mini-interview for this National Adoption Day post.
My birth parents were in high school when they found out they were pregnant with me.
First thoughts upon finding out you were pregnant?
Josh: “First, when I found out was shock and awe. But then, I was happy to know I was going to have a child, my blood line. I knew I was young but I didn’t care. I was going to be a dad!”
Jennie: “Well, the very first thing that came to my mind was…nope…it’s not happening, no way this could happen to me. Once that aspect of reality truly set in, it was more like…this poor child…it’s doomed. I’m 14 years old. Josh is 17 & hasn’t gone to school in months. How in the hell are we going to raise a child in this world?? That brought on sheer panic for the next few weeks. I honestly at that time had no idea what/if any options were available, but I was more than positive the baby wouldn’t have the life it deserved with us as parents.”
Why did you decide to go the adoption route instead of parent?
Josh: “I had no choice whatsoever in the whole damn process. Not a single one. That is when my anger towards the whole thing got bad. Not a single guy to talk to [at this time, there was not a lot of support for birthfathers in the process]; it was all women who all seemed against me.
Jennie: “This came about from the counselor at school that dialed me in with a whole bunch of direction & options available. I took those home with me & had a serious talk with my parents. Adoption seemed like the most obvious best option for the baby. Josh & I of course also had many many long heartfelt, sometimes out of control discussions as well. I did numerous hours of research on adoption firms & such. Many phone calls, many meetings, & finally decided Bethany Christian Services seemed the best option.”
What helped you decide that Amy & Claude (my parents) were a good fit?
Josh: “This was the only time Jennie and I agreed on anything. We picked your mom and dad because their profile wasn’t a cookie cutter like the rest. They just seemed to be two people who wanted to raise kids. And, of course, Claude didn’t have on shoes in the pic and that just seemed cool.
Jennie: “After many profile studies of possible adoptive parents, Amy & Claude stood out the most due to their gestures, friendliness, the caring for each other that was clearly obvious. The fact that Claude showed up in bib overalls & they were animal lovers sold me! Just two genuine people looking for love of a child of their own & not able to fulfill that on their own.”
Enter, Amy and Claude, my adoptive parents who met Josh and Jennie through Bethany Christian Services, the adoption agency both sets of parents were working with.
Why did you choose to adopt?
Amy: “As we started talking about having children we were in different camps. I really wanted the experience of being pregnant and Dad felt strongly about not bringing more children into the world when so many already needed homes. After many conversations we decided to try and start a family. Things didn’t go as we had hoped and my desire to bear a child was not to be fulfilled. It took a while to grieve this unknown child. I began to see that what I really wanted was to be able to love and care for a child, someone that we could be parents for. I was now ready to consider adoption as a way to start our family. Although Dad was very aware of the children that needed forever families he wasn’t sure if this was the time in our lives that we should adopt. What a journey it was finally getting to the point where we were in the same camp and ready to putting our resume together that the adoption agency would share with birthparents. God equipped us emotionally, spiritually and financially to be able to adopt not one, but three kids as babies over a six year span.
Claude: “I was not quite sure on the idea, Mom was very excited. Some of my hesitancy may have based on fear or a lack of confidence. I thought a lot about it and decided to put it into Gods hands. I think those can be some of the most wonderful journeys.”
First thoughts upon finding out you would be adopting Josh and Jennie’s baby?
Amy: “Adoption is a process. We had been through two possible adoptions that ended pretty early in the process. When we meet with Jenny and then Josh we were excited but also knew from experience that they could and might change their minds up to the moment of the court hearing. Jenny had had her court date and felt as secure as possible in letting us raise her baby, such a difficult decision for a 15 year old. Josh then turned 18 after you were born and decided that he wanted to parent you because all the potential adoptive parents seemed so unreal to him. After he talked with the social workers at Bethany, they asked him if he would consider meeting us first before deciding against adoption. So we met. What a strange feeling, knowing that if he likes us he might consider adoption for his little girl, and if not we would start the process over again. In my heart I needed to be okay with either way, it was God’s timing not mine. At the meeting Josh really liked Dad and felt like he could relate to him. At this time Josh decided that if he did chose adoption we would be the couple to parent his child. After about a week we received a call from Bethany stating that Josh had set a court date to make it legal for dad and I to be your parents. We were so happy that Josh and Jenny now both felt safe and comfortable with us adopting their child.”
Claude: “OK this is it now!” We have just signed up for an 18+ year commitment. The cold wash cloth of reality was beginning to place it’s weight on my face…not quite like that.”
How did you prepare for your One Day?
Amy: “Preparing for the day that you would come home was such a blessing. Our hearts were filled with such joy because we knew Jenny and Josh had given us such a wonderful gift. It left us overwhelmed and happy that our child would have two sets of parents that loved her. Friends and family were excited for us being able to start our family. So many baby gifts and celebrations of your homecoming. My friend Carol called on the day you were to come home with us and sang to me “This is the day the Lord has made.” Amen, I said.”
Claude: “We had many times to visit you which helped a lot. Some of it is like the first year you are married. Your world changes in ways you could not imagine or understand.”
Along came me.
Thoughts about when I was born?
Josh: “When you were born I was so happy, just silly with joy.”
Jennie: “That was a very overwhelming couple of days for me…The emotions running crazy…mind you of a 15 year old highly hormonal female nonetheless! It was a very surreal moment. Kind of like it was all a dream….It was a very sad day, yet a very very happy day all together. Claude & Amy were absolutely ecstatic that the day had arrived, & I think that really really confirmed I was making the right decision. Josh, again, on the other hand is another story, but not going to get into those…it was 21 years ago & bygones need to be bygones. The day the adoption was finalized & you physically went from the foster home to be in your forever loving home was absolutely a wonderful day in my little world. Tears of pure happiness were shed. (I had the 6 month waiting period to ride the roller coaster of sad, scared, failure emotions). That day was at the time the best day of my life. That’s probably the first day I actually felt relief…closure one might say. This baby really is getting the life she deserves & I was able to help a loving couple start the family they had dreamed of.”
Amy: “I was happy to hear from Bethany that you were a baby girl and healthy. I was sad to hear that it was such a tough delivery for Jenny. I was so impressed with how physically and emotionally strong she was for her age. We had to wait to hold you until Josh and Jenny both had their court dates. It was pure joy to finally hold you. For us this was more like the day you were born to us.”
Claude: “When you meet someone for the first time, you can feel excitement and joy. It is the journey that we are taking together that is the real excitement and Joy. It’s the ups, downs, and everything in between that is Joy. with all the ups and downs I would not want it to happen any other way. Thank You for being a part of our life.”
After I was born, I went to a foster home for a few weeks during the interim between birth and the final court hearing. Unlike many children in the foster care system, I only stayed a few weeks because my adoption was planned before I was born. When the final court hearing was complete; it was my One Day. It was our One Day.
For my final question, I asked all my parents what One Day means to them. My One Day story deeply involves my birth parents, an element that not all adopted/foster children have.
What does One Day mean to you?
Amy: “One day… means hold on because God is at the wheel. We need to use the abilities that he has given us and put our trust in him, because no matter what we think of for our One Day.. we need to be asking God what he wants our One day to look like. For an example of this refer back to the above journey. Love you Claude.”
Claude: “The day we brought you home was an emotional day. There were lot of people that had opened their lives to us to help make this happen. The Tyes? [The family that fostered me during the interim] were just an amazing family, and I am thankful for them.”
Josh: “Then, Jennie told me she was going through with the adoption. Keep in mind this was pre Claude and Amy. I was heart broken. I literally didn’t talk to anyone for months. It felt like part of me had died. I didn’t want to not be with you and see you. It took me a long time to come to grips with it all. It took me 16 yrs to even speak to Jennie about you. Now, in hindsight, it was for the best for all of us and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I knew that it would work out in time and it did.”
Jennie: “This was a very very hard life changing experience to go through…lots of very negative details between Josh, myself, my family, his family are left out. Again, it’s been 21 years & you have clearly proved to me the right decision for your best possible future was made. And I’m still crazy thankful for that every day.”
My over-the-top, overwhelmingly loving, never ending supportive family are my rock. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
They are why I am so passionate for adoption and the children and families involved with the process. I volunteer my time with Bethany Christian Services, the agency I was adopted through, talking on panels to people looking to adopt or foster about what it’s like growing up as an adopted child. Although I can’t speak to what it’s like in the foster care system, I can personally relate to each child who is adopted or waiting to be adopted. We all have emotions and questions. We are feel so alone at some point or another, like we are the only ones feeling the way we feel. That’s why I am honored to talk with the parents who have adoption or fostering on their heart; they are the ones who give emotional support and honest answers. In my case, I am fortunate enough to be able to ask my birth parents anything, as well as my parents.
So, during this emotional Adoption Month, on behalf of adopted kids everywhere, thank you thank you thank you to our parents and families for giving us a forever home. And to children waiting to be adopted, always remember, you are never alone and you are so cherished.
And to my birth parents, thank you for your bravery to love so deeply, your courage to make hard decisions so love, and your faith in knowing that everything will work out. I am honored to be your daughter.