Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adoption Awareness Month

Years ago I used to blog on the topic of state adoption. I used to keep up with the latest statistics, resources. and laws. The past couple years, since the finalization of the adoption of our 3rd child, I've forgotten much of what I used to know and haven't kept up much on new laws. That's because I've been able to just step back and be a mom!

I first became curious about fostering and state adoptions from my old boss who was adopting her nephew. She shared with me the heart wrenching reality of the thousands of waiting children in the U.S. and the desperate need for good foster and adoptive families. I went home and talked with my husband about fostering and possibly being open to adoption. I was shocked he was so open. We then began the journey of trainings, background checks and a home study.

Our first son was placed as a legally freed adoption. This meant his birth parents no longer had parental rights. I wish I could say it was a quick process but it wasn't. From the time we started our orientation to the time he was placed, it was 19 months. Some families get placements more quickly, some wait longer. He came to us as a young toddler, just over a year old with these amazing big bright blue eyes. I missed so many firsts, however, 7 days after his placement we witnessed his first steps.

Our second son came to us as a foster placement at 5 months. His former foster mom was wanting to retire from fostering and Oregon's Department of Human Services (DHS) was concerned he would not be returned to his birth mother. Because of this, it was important to place him in a foster home who may be open to adoption, lest he have to be moved yet again. After praying, we felt a peace that we were the family to take that risk and love him as long as we could have him. This wasn't easy. Balancing loving your child unconditionally and guarding your heart in case you lose them is hard! But he was worth it. He is now ours.

Years passed and we were notified of siblings to our boys who were born. Some were adopted by a wonderful foster mom, and others went to live with another adoptive family who had other birth siblings.

One day we got notice of another sibling born. She was/is fully biologically related to our oldest son and therefore was placed as a kinship adoptive placement. We were notified right after she was born and asked if we would initially foster her until she was officially deemed adoptable--and this case would without doubt be going to adoption. Our daughter had more significant special needs than our boys had and her future was very uncertain. Still, there was an undeniable peace to move forward.

I've spent about 11 years co-facilitating support groups and advocating for children and their families both in local settings and online. The past few years I just haven't had the time I used to. With 3 kids, my school and my Etsy shops, I've stayed pretty busy.

Each one of our children are considered "special needs". Each had a rough start in life. I'm happy to say, in spite of this, they are healthy, amazing, lovable and loving children. My husband and I got to be the ones to witness them grow and thrive. As I've shared many, many times with others: I consider it a humbling honor to be entrusted with my children. I believe children are given to us by God, whether it be by birth or adoption, for a time and are a gift to be cherished. It isn't easy; I don't know anyone who has found parenting easy.

If you are at all interested in being a foster resource or even an adoptive placement, contact your local social/human services department and request more information. Please also visit, in no particular order:

North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Adopt US Kids
Heart Gallery of America


  1. Melissa, very interesting to read your story. Now I see why God connected us up. We have two grown daughters who we got the very same way. We are American missionaries in Ukraine, and as you know, I'm artsy, but not active with my Etsy shop at the moment. If you haven't come across it yet you need to check out She's an adoptee herself(Christian) who writes on these issues. Every adoptive parent should read her books.
    Blessings, Coleen

  2. Coleen, thank you for taking the time to write and share this. I am always eager to meet other adoptive parents. I'll check out your link. God bless!

  3. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)