Foster Care to Adoption: A Journey
Meet Jase. He is twenty months old, and he is the newest member of our family. When Jase was just a few days old, he was placed in foster care with my nephew Matt and his wife Jo who were hoping to adopt a child to raise together. Jase was not their first foster child, so they knew there was no guarantee that that this child they lavished with love would someday join their family.
Last Friday, I attended Jase's adoption hearing. It was a day to finally lay to rest the fear that one day they might have to say good-bye.
Here's Jase with the judge who signed his adoption decree and his whole family: his parents Matt and Joanna, his brothers Travis and Tanner, and his sister Kali. It was obvious yesterday that they all love Jase and are happy to have him for their very own now.
I asked Jo to share with me the hardest part of the process. I wasn't surprised to learn that the most difficult thing for all of them was knowing that in loving Jase as their son and brother they could be setting themselves up for the biggest heartbreak of their lives if he were to be sent back to his birth parents or to another foster home.
The kids also shared what this experience has meant to them:
Travis, Jase's oldest brother, said that he feels great knowing that their family helped someone else. He feels good about himself when he brings a smile to Jase and to the other kids they've helped. As a young man, Travis has already learned something that some of us never learn, and that is that joy comes to us when we give to others.
Tanner says he was not so sure about having a baby join their family when Jase was a newborn. Seeing the comfort that Jase received from their family helped Tanner to realize that they were definitely doing the right thing. When Jase got a little older, Tanner liked to hold him, and now when Jase laughs and smiles, that makes Tanner feel as if he's done something special. He can't imagine Jase not being a part of their family!
I love this picture of Jase with his big sister, Kali, who originally had her heart set on having a baby sister. That all changed as soon as Jase arrived at their house, and she realized that she just wanted him. Kali was so excited when she heard the news that the adoption was going to be finalized. She has been so afraid that Jase would be taken from them. No worries now, Kali! You're stuck with each other!
Jase's story is not a typical one. Joanna says, "We were told Jase is one in a million. It's very rare for newborn babies to be adopted by their foster parents."
Jase is one in a million. This family is a perfect fit for him because they're a one in a million kind of family.
I'll leave you with one last picture of the family getting ready to go home with their son and brother.