Monday, September 8, 2008 was the day our family officially grew from four to five. The kids stayed home from school and we had breakfast together before heading to the courthouse. Everyone was really excited, as if we were going to the hospital to meet the new addition to our family. At the courthouse, we were met by Karissa and Kara, social workers who helped us with Nick’s adoption. The judge entered the room with a huge smile on her face and lots of questions for us as we all signed the official adoption papers. We took many pictures of this wonderful moment. After the adoption of our son Nick was official, I was handed the most beautiful bouquet of flowers. I felt so special. More pictures were taken as we headed out the door.
I must admit when I think back to the events that lead us to Nick’s adoption all I can think is “WOW.” Here is some background. Naomi is our oldest daughter, currently 14 years old. Johanna is our youngest and she and Nick are both eight years old. Johanna was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on April 15, 2005. Jeff and I spent the first year adjusting emotionally and physically to Johanna’s special needs as a child with type 1. No words can describe the anguish I felt inside, or how my heart ached. It still brings me to tears when I think about it.
During the second year after the diagnosis we felt confident and able to handle more. We had settled into a routine, sort of. I still had my moments of crying and feeling sorry for myself, but still, I thought, I can do this.
In the spring of 2007, I felt lead to open our home up to children with type 1 diabetes. Had lost my mind? After all, we had all we could handle. The notion just wouldn’t go away. The more I pushed it so, the more “right” it felt. I decided to approach Jeff with the idea. He didn’t even have to think about it: “No way.” I said, “O.K., but I really feel like this is what we are supposed to do.” I knew if this is what God wanted for our lives, he would soften Jeff’s heart. We spent lots of time talking the situation through. The prospect of caring for another child who has type 1 diabetes was a lot to take on and we needed our decision to be as a team. We had a lot of unanswered questions and fears.
Jeff contacted his sister who worked for the state. Her colleague from the state’s Division of Children and Families stated she was on a statewide search for a family that would adopt a 6-year-old boy who had type 1 diabetes. He was the same age as our daughter Johanna: Another “Wow.” We set up a time to meet Nick. For a month, he spent weekends with us until he finished school. On June 15, 2007, he moved in permanently.
Our two girls were amazing. Johanna gave up her room and shared with him every toy she owned. Naomi on the other hand wasn’t as easily convinced, at first. “Aren’t we enough?” she asked. To make matters worse, she feared having to share a bedroom with her sister. Being six years apart presented its challenges. I had just finished redoing Naomi’s room to reflect the next phase in her life as a teenager. We told her it was only temporary until we could change another room into her bedroom, which we did that fall.
Our family felt complete. I didn’t realize it wasn’t until Nick came. He and Johanna are about a month apart. It is amazing to watch how much they act like twins. They are really there for each other. This will be a wonderful thing as they both manage their type 1 together.
It took some time for the adjustments of our family to come together: Like the weaving together of a blanket, knitting one row at a time. Naomi has grown to love having a brother, even with all the added noises that come with a boy.
Life has been full and busier than ever. When the kids get sick together the days are like a blur. I think “HELP,” but I know it’s just us. We make their endocrinology appointments together. They like to compare their A1C’s. One always asks the other what their magic BG (blood glucose) number is. Like anything you adjust to what life brings you. Certainly this has brought us to a place my husband and I never dreamed on the day we said “I do”.
To learn more about the foster-adopt program in your state, contact your State Adoption Specialist or State Foster Care Manager.