Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just wanted to say...........

Thank you to whom ever nominated me Top 25 Adoption Blogs by Parents . I'm not completely sure if I deserve such an honor but it sure gave the chills and got me some great hugs from friends.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to remember and reflect on our adoption and maybe inspire you to think about an older child who needs a home.

Joey is my brother's son. He was taken by Child Protective Services (CPS) when he was almost 3 years old from his biological  mother. My brother was in a recovery program and did not tell anyone this happened. He was working on getting his life on track and believed he could get Joey back on his own. This was extremely challenging for him, and when Joey had been in two different foster homes for over a year, my brother started asking family members for help.

I am the youngest of seven siblings (also a blended family). I was single and planning to elope with my then-boyfriend when my brother asked Joey's social worker about having me take Joey. They called me on the first morning of my honeymoon. My husband and I where sitting in Goofy's Kitchen having breakfast in Disneyland. I looked across the table, and without a flinch, hubs said lets get him.

That was in August 2005. Joey was newly four years old. After background checks, home rearranging and child proofing, Joey joined our family on December 13, 2005.

Joey was very wild and a very angry little guy when we got him. He assumed I was why he was in foster care for so long. It took almost a year for him to know I wasn't going to hurt him, and I was OK. I can still remember the first time he sat on my lap and snuggled down to watch a movie with me. This was our turning point.

The adoption process was long. We had to wait on Joey's biological mother to fail at her reunification plan. Here in California, children under three years are given six months of a plan before being put on the adoption list. Children over four get one year. Joey got 18 months and two reunification plans. I was a told it was an oversight by the judge and nothing could be done.

I was with Joey for a year of this. It was hard on all of us. I spent countless hours calling social workers, and my husband and I spent hundreds of hours with Joey and taking Joey to a county-appointed therapist. Meanwhile Joey internalized and acted out after being let down over and over by his mother and the system.

On January 27, 2007, our long process had come to an end. Joey's biological mother's rights were taken away, my brother gave up his rights, and Joey was asked if he wanted to be our son forever. We appeared in court with friends and family, and Joey closed his own case by hitting the gavel on the judge's bench. Joey became our son until death do us part.

I can tell you from the pit of my soul this child was born to be mine. I love him unconditionally, I'm proud to call him my son. I believe that a person looking to adopt should look into adopting an older "unadoptable" child. No child is unadoptable, and every child should have a home. To adopt, you don't need to have two parents and make a great living. You just have to a big heart and jump though some hoops. Joey's adoption is covered by  the county. He has medial and dental coverage until he's 18 years old and gets a monthly allowance. Please don't think you can't afford to adopt a foster child. They need homes, all of them. And there are programs in place that can help.

You may just get as lucky as me and have the pleasure of sharing your life with an awesome little one or bigger one. Just ask Joey. He writes in his journal at school how much he loves his Mom and Dad. He brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart. I love him.

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