A couple years ago I wrote a post here called our family of five, sharing a bit about how death makes simple questions like “how many kids do you have?” difficult – or at the very least, strange. Our life is anything but normal.
We’ve got an exciting announcement – we’re adopting from foster care! Our great friend Jesse directs the Heart Gallery here in the Tampa Bay area, and for years we’ve known if we ever adopted it’d be through foster care, largely because of Jesse and her organization’s work. There are hundreds of children in Tampa at any given time who have no families, no homes to go to, and little hope. We know we can provide a home, hope, and be loving parents to some amazing child[ren!?] who’s experienced some loss in life.
There’s a 10 week class to be certified to adopt, which we’ve completed (with a couple make-up classes to finish in a few weeks). (By the way, this post was about one of those classes). From there, we meet with some people who’ve been working with us in the whole process and will help “match” us with a kid (or sibling group!) who they think goes well with our family. There’s some discussion, and we move forward either with the adoption process or the continuing search. We could have a new addition to our family for the holidays, or it could be a year.
Adoption will be bringing a burst of newness into our life, and we expect it will be much like many of the things we’ve been through in the past few years. A cocktail of 1 part difficulty, 1 part joy, and 2 parts work. We are so excited to begin this next chapter in our life! Out of the overflow of our hearts, we choose to help – to give.
It’s been interesting in these 10 weeks of classes to hear details on the foster care system, and how the people involved in their care talk about these children. They stress over and again – first and foremost these kids have felt loss. They’ve been ripped from their families, often in tragic situations. They’ve seen the lives they thought they’d have torn to shreds. They’ve wondered if they’ll ever feel their family is complete again. We’ve felt those things, too.
I encourage anyone who’s interested in knowing more about these children’s lives (and what’s coming in ours) to read a book called Three Little Words, by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. Ashley lived in foster care here in the Tampa bay area. She describes foster care, how she felt about her birth and adopted families, and how things had to change in foster care. It’s a brilliant read, and was a New York Times best seller.
Losing two children before your thirtieth birthday changes the way you think about everything. I live in this pinball machine where I bounce around from sadness to joy to a desire for adventure to a need to feel to a deep need to help people. We can’t change what people have been through, but we can change whether they’re on their own in it.
We can change the way someone will experience it tomorrow.
A lot is going on in our lives. This is an intense year, and while we are busier than ever, we welcome the growth and opportunities. Robyn is an incredible woman, and I fall more in love with her every time I am with her. I am so proud of her. Charley is learning to walk, eat, and talk, slowly but deliberately and with huge effort. I am so proud of him.
We’re always surrounded by hurt, laughter, tears, and hope.