During this season of giving we find ourselves reflecting on all the wonderful gifts we received this year—the greatest of which was the adoption of our bright daughters Sky (8) and Leyna (7). We chose to adopt a sibling group from foster care and have been on an incredible journey in becoming their forever family. Adopting from foster care is not an easy process, but it is one that will completely change your life as you parent the remarkable kids you are blessed with. We are often asked what the best and hardest parts of adopting from foster care are and would like to share a few of our experiences. It is our hope that it encourages those considering foster care adoption to open their hearts to the many children like Sky and Leyna that are deserving of a forever family.
We found our village—After we announced our plans to adopt we found ourselves surrounded by friends and family with open hearts towards our adoption. They absorbed the resources we gave them and shared in our passion, fear, and excitement for the adoption process. We met an amazing network of adoptive families, adoption workers, and support group parents through CH/LSS that became valued relationships to us. Our village changed and grew and it resulted in this wonderful web of knowledge, understanding, and support for our new family. If you are considering foster care adoption, share this remarkable journey with your friends and family—in doing so you will find a wealth of support, love, and encouragement.
Your relationships will change—Although we had this wonderful village surrounding us at the start of our adoption process, we also had close family members that did not open their hearts to it. We learned early on in our journey that these family members would not support our decision to adopt and it was a difficult time for us as a couple. We were so focused on the excitement of becoming parents and starting a family, that it was a shock when those first hurtful words were spoken. In the end these relationships failed, and we needed to disconnect ourselves from them. This piece to our adoption story is one that still weighs heavily on our hearts, but we knew moving forward we only wanted our children to know relationships that embodied love, respect, and commitment.
Living with trauma—Most days we feel like a ‘normal’ family running to hockey practice or dance recitals, but then days happen where we are overcome by the substantial loss our daughters experienced through adoption. Days they push us as hard as they can—where things are broken and tantrums are had out of fear that they may be harmed again. We have days where their emotions become too big for them to carry and all we can do is sit in a long embrace, waiting for the tears and pain to subside as they wonder aloud why their birth family didn’t try harder or why I couldn’t have been the one to carry them in my tummy. As a parent it is the most difficult thing to witness your child living with such paralyzing pain knowing that all you can do is acknowledge it, embrace them, and help carry the weight of it all.
Celebrating adoption—When we met our girls for the first time, we knew we felt a strong connection to them and couldn’t wait to finally have them home with us. I remember Sky saying to me a few hours into our first visit “It feels like we have already been with you for forever” and my heart swelled knowing they felt the connection too. Adoption can be a beautiful thing and if your child wishes, it should be celebrated! As a family we love to celebrate our adoption with living room dance parties, beautiful art work, and picture books documenting all of our favorite experiences. We are grateful we chose to embark on this journey and adopt from foster care and that it led us to the wonderful gift of becoming Sky and Leyna’s forever parents. We look forward to the many celebrations of life, love, and adoption yet to come.
About the Author: Ashley and her husband Frank recently finalized their adoption on October 23rd, 2018. Along with their daughters, they share their home with their four rescue pets. You can follow their family story on Instagram at @ashleyrichie0118.