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Posted: 4/17/2017 11:39:24 AM EDT
My wife and I have been married almost 24 years. We met in Africa when both of us were there for missionary work. She's from Ireland. I'm from the States. We both wanted kids and tried everything available to us to conceive, but after far too many miscarriages . . . we adopted. Our son Elijah came to us from Africa. He is the best little (he'd be so pissed at being called that) boy in the world. He's almost nine and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for him. He's our musical dude and can pick up just about any instrument and play it.

Our daughter Eden came to us via a very complicated domestic adoption that saw us lose her to her biological mother who wanted her back . . . only to change her mind again and return her to us. She's four going on forty and can draw like you wouldn't believe. She's always got a pencil tucked behind her ear or holding a bun together in her hair in case she has to draw something. I thank God for her.

We have been foster parents since our third year of marriage and have seen hundreds of kids come and go.

Tomorrow . . . our family of four is officially becoming a family of six. We have fostered a pair of twins since they were babies off and on. They would come and live with us for months at a time and then get returned to their mother or grandmother. This happened repeatedly. They are twelve now. A boy and a girl. Their bio family has lost all rights to them. The twins begged their social worker to be placed back with us last year and they've been here since. Now they will be here forever.

A few months ago, the twins accompanied some family friends to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They sent us a postcard/letter from there. The postcard said the following:

Dear Mama and Daddy,

You used to read us Harry Potter. We begged you to let us come here to Orlando because it was our dream but now we know that our dream isn't here. It is at home with you. I know we are sometimes troublesome and **** eats a whole lot, but if you would think about adopting us forever so we always have a real family then we promise to love you as much as you love us and keep our rooms clean and never forget that you are our real mama and daddy because we chose each other for our lives. We want you. We did not find magic here at Hogwarts. We had magic all along from the day we met you and if you will say yes then we will say yes and our story, like Harry Potter's, can also end with 'all was well.'  We love and miss you all."


Tomorrow, a Judge will sign on the dotted line and these two kids will take our last name. We will be official. Never again will they feel uncertainty. Never again will they be forced to uproot. Never again will they pack their belongings to go stay with a stranger. Never again will they wonder where they belong.

If you are in a position to foster a child . . . please do. If you are in a position to adopt a child (especially one of the older ones) . . . please do. If you are in a position to mentor a child . . . please do. If you have children then please love and cherish them. Some families are not biological but those families are just as strong, legitimate, and full of love.

I feel like I have won the lottery and my cup runneth over.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:42:00 AM EDT
WOW is all I can say.   God Bless your family.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:42:24 AM EDT
Thank you.  We need more people like you in this world.

Signed,

Former foster kid
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:47:27 AM EDT
Wow.
My wife used to be in social work. It was awful when the biological mother wanted her child back after losing custody. The courts could not stop it from happening, basically, they were enabling the mother to ruin her child's life again, which always happened.  Really sad.
God bless you brother. 
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:50:01 AM EDT
Great job OP!!  Praying that everything goes well tomorrow and for years to come.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:50:14 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:51:41 AM EDT
You sir, are an angel.  May God Bless your entire family.


CMOS  
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:51:53 AM EDT
How do you deal with the heartache of seeing 100s of children coming and going (many back to bad situations)? Not sharpshooting here. Sincere question.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:52:22 AM EDT
great story. and great people
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:52:30 AM EDT
OP, you and your wife have well earned a honored spot in Valhalla.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:53:47 AM EDT
There is a lot of bad that we read about in our world.  I love reading stories like your's OP.  You and your family are amazing.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:55:50 AM EDT
OP, log out then back in.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:56:03 AM EDT
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Quoted:
Wow.
My wife used to be in social work. It was awful when the biological mother wanted her child back after losing custody. The courts could not stop it from happening, basically, they were enabling the mother to ruin her child's life again, which always happened.  Really sad.
God bless you brother. 
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It happens a lot more than people think it does.  I went through that 5 times, but know kids who would go through that every 3 or 4 months for years.  

I am hoping to start fostering within the next 3-5 years.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 11:56:29 AM EDT
Thanks for sharing, OP.  Beautiful story.

I give you credit for doing something not everyone could do.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:10:24 PM EDT
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Quoted:
How do you deal with the heartache of seeing 100s of children coming and going (many back to bad situations)? Not sharpshooting here. Sincere question.
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I won't lie. It's hard. You have to go into it with the mentality that you are GOING to make a positive impact and do the very best you can with a child for however long you have them. You have to commit. You have to work your ass off. You have to work fast to be the best damn influence on that kid that you can possibly be so that they will remember you when they leave. Then you pray a hell of a lot that what you accomplished made a difference and that the kindness, love, compassion and faith you showed that child never leaves them. It only takes a moment to click and that click CAN last forever . . . whether you see that child again or not.

The good far outweighs the bad. It's not about me or how great my heartache is. I'm grown. I'm an adult. My heartache doesn't matter. What matters is that kid. They see a smiling face when they come. They see a smiling face when they go. I may lock myself away and cry afterwards, but it's never not worth it. Not for a second.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:11:42 PM EDT
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Quoted:
OP, log out then back in.
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Whaaat? You didn't have to do that. I didn't share this expecting anything in return. Thank you so very much. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know. Thank you thank you. That is incredibly kind of you. Thanks again. :) :)
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:11:44 PM EDT
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Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:12:33 PM EDT
a little dusty in here OP.  Congrats to you guys, both you and your new family members.


family is truly the cornerstone of God's plan and I'm happy to hear you have added to yours and helped some kids in need.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:16:16 PM EDT
Good on you!

We are adopting an infant (waiting for a match now). After this one we'll be moving on to foster/adopt older children. Wife wants the baby experience first.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:17:11 PM EDT
AMEN
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:19:13 PM EDT
Good for you, OP. There aren't many, if any, better ways to walk the talk when it comes to doing God's work than adopting children.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:20:44 PM EDT
Thank you all for the kind words.

I won't be annoying, but I will say it one more time . . . if you CAN help by adopting or fostering a child then PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE say yes. If you can't do that then please consider mentoring or becoming a big brother/big sister for a kid. You can make a difference. You can save a kid and there is no more rewarding a feeling than that.

:)
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:24:40 PM EDT
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Quoted:
Good on you!

We are adopting an infant (waiting for a match now). After this one we'll be moving on to foster/adopt older children. Wife wants the baby experience first.
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Brace yourself. The second you take that kid in your arms you become very well aquainted with sleepness nights of worries, agony over what COULD happen to them, and so much love you'd give up your life for that kid in a second. And the instant they say 'daddy' . . . dude, you're gone. Good luck. It's the most rewarding and incredible experience in life.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:36:48 PM EDT
Awesome. God is good.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:37:49 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:42:01 PM EDT
Good on you and your wife, OP. I wish more Americans opened their hearts and homes to unwanted children.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:42:48 PM EDT
you're a good person, much karma to your whole family.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:43:35 PM EDT
I started to judge when I read mission work but as I read deeper, I stood corrected.  The world is a better place with you and your wife in it.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:44:58 PM EDT
It takes a special kind of people to do what you and your wife are doing.

Congrats
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:45:22 PM EDT
Jesus man! I am glad I have a private office...that post card.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:49:48 PM EDT
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Quoted:
WOW is all I can say.   God Bless your family.
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+1 - couldn't have said it any better
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 12:55:03 PM EDT
GOOD WORK OP!
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 1:01:08 PM EDT
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Quoted:
WOW is all I can say.   God Bless your family.
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That sums it up for me.  

Good job, OP.  
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 1:04:17 PM EDT
Awesome
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 5:25:55 PM EDT
Here in Arkansas there are over 5000 kids in foster care. Our youngest daughter and her husband have 4 in their home currently. 3 girls and a boy, as well as 2 biological sons of their own. The two oldest girls (sisters) are on the verge of being adopted by them. The other 2 are working their way through the system SLOWLY but we have hope that they too will be a permanent part of our family someday.  All of them call my daughter and son-in-law mom and dad and we are Mimi and Poppie. 
We were all together for our Easter gathering Sunday and the the youngest of the sisters came up and sat on my lap and look at me and said "you're my Poppie" I told her indeed I was and wouldn't have it any other way. Had to excuse myself and get the dust out of my eyes. 

Its a a wonderful thing you're doing OP and the world needs more like you and your wife. Plenty of opportunities to help children that need love and care.

I told my daughter and son-in-law when they announced they were going to foster, there would be a lot of heartache involved but in the end the joy would by far exceed it.
Link Posted: 4/17/2017 5:29:32 PM EDT
Wow OP, that postcard.  Right to teh feels.  

Keep doing what you guys are doing!  

Link Posted: 4/17/2017 8:22:43 PM EDT
That is awesome OP! And thank goodness for people like you!
Link Posted: 4/20/2017 12:30:36 AM EDT
Just thought I would give an after action report about the court process. Everything went just fine and it was very emotional for everyone involved.

The judge did demand that we join him in front of his bench for the photos after all was said and done. He took about ten full minutes to do a gazillion poses. He was incredible. He got teary eyed while talking to the twins and meeting our other son and daughter. Our four year old daughter insisted that he pick her up and she gave him a big old kiss on the cheek. He told us that our family and helping us grow it made his day and that he wished it happened more often. He could count on one hand how many adoptions he has done so far this year. That breaks my heart. Please, folks, consider adopting. Especially an older kid.

I'd share pics, but I'm just not comfortable doing that. I'm sorry.

Our kids have written him a couple of thank you letters and gave him about a million hugs while the photos were being done. They decided together to pool their money and are having some photos enlarged and framed for their social workers and the judge.

I am a blessed man, friends. We are a blessed family. Thank you so much for the support and kind wishes. It means a lot.

And . . . I thought I'd add that we accepted another foster child into our home for an emergency day/night placement that same evening. This one was six years old and arrived with many bruises, an eye swollen shut, cuts, and the propensity to hide in whatever closet they could find. They also insisted on eating their food UNDER the table, could not use dining utensils properly, could not drink out of a straw and was not potty trained. The child stayed overnight and left a black ring in the bathtub. The kid was a complete wreck and we did what we could but they were taken and placed in a more suitable environment for their needs the next day. That happens a lot. We get a call about a kid 'after hours' when they need immediate care and we never say no. They come and go in the blink of an eye and I'm telling you about this kid because they will never be returned to their family, they are basically now homeless, and there are MILLIONS in the exact same predicament who could use YOUR help.

Take care and thanks again.
Link Posted: 4/20/2017 12:36:17 AM EDT
People like you and your wife deserve Sainthood.

You are making the world a better place.
Link Posted: 4/20/2017 12:39:09 AM EDT
You are good people
Link Posted: 4/20/2017 12:44:57 AM EDT
Good deal OP!

Thanks for making a difference in those children's lives.
Link Posted: 4/21/2017 10:36:09 PM EDT
Well, the twins decided AFTER court that they want to change their names. I want to be as 100% honest as I can about this. Neither my wife nor myself urged, advised, or encouraged this. This wasn't brought up prior to court or AT court except for their last names, which changed to our family name.

When all was said and done . . . they came to us the day after court and said that they wanted to leave their old given names behind as well. They're only twelve years old and I feel like this is a huge step for them. We didn't automatically agree with this because their names, while trendy and hipster and not spelled very well (one ends in aydyne, one in lyeigh), are THEIR names. They've lived in those names for 12 years. We advised them that we'd think about it and then contacted their counselor who had them speak to a child psychologist that they've seen a bunch of times . . . and he said we should leave it up to them.

Because Elijah and Eden were here first --- the new family members wanted E names, too.

Our new son chose Ezra and our new daughter chose Eve. They are keeping their current first names as middle names, not because we like those names, but because I never want them to forget where they came from and if they regret the new names they can go by their old names.
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