My adoption journey began 8 yrs ago when my great niece was placed in the foster care system. She was 9 yrs old at the time, and desperately in need of a stable home. I sat down with my two biological children, ages 11 and 15, and together we decided that no child should ever be without the love and support of a family.
A year later I received a call about a sibling group of 3. They were just babies at newborn, 1 and 2 yrs of age, and I knew when I looked into those precious faces, that I would never be able to look away.
Today my children range in age from 6 to 23, and I am very proud to be the mother of these beautiful and unique individuals.
I enjoy sharing the details of how we came to be a family. The difficult part comes in admitting to the many struggles we have endured along the way, and in knowing we will always be a “work in progress.”
Like many in the adoption community, I went into this believing wholeheartedly that love trumps all. I’ve been a single parent for many years, and I’ve never held myself to the standard of being the “perfect” mom. I believed that as long as my kids had a strong foundation built from unconditional love and the support of knowing that they could always count on me – the rest would fall into place naturally. I wasn’t prepared for a foundation built on neglect and abuse. I was devastated to learn that for these kids, trauma trumps love.
I immediately began to educate myself on the effects of trauma in childhood development. I signed us up for every program available, every class, every resource I could find. It wasn’t until I had become involved with the services through AFSN, that I realized I was missing the most important piece of this entire journey. I had been trying to do this alone!
It started with a cup of coffee and the woman who is now my parent support partner, Deidra Artecki. What started out as a casual conversation between two mothers, opened the door to a world of opportunity . AFSN has walked with my family through both heartache and joy. They have sat with me through crisis moments until 4 in the morning, gone to IEP meetings at the schools, and given me valuable information on how to obtain the specific resources that my family needed to begin the healing process. They have been my voice in fighting for tax credits and therapeutic treatment options that I didn’t even know were out there. Through AFSN I have taken classes where I learned not only why my children struggle, but how to parent differently in order to meet their needs.
Perhaps most importantly, I have had the opportunity to meet other adoptive families and to hear their amazing stories as well. Within this community there is an endless amount of love and support, and had it not been for that first cup of coffee, my family wouldn’t be where they are today.
AFSN is unique because they don’t just hand you the information, they walk beside you through it all. Everyday they work tirelessly in the adoption community to empower parents just like me to build strong, healthy family bonds. They tell us that these kids deserve our best, and then they teach us how to give it to them. They tell us that as parents we are strong, and then they support us until we believe it for ourselves.