My wife and I are each in our early to mid 50s and just adopted a five and seven-year old brother and sister. We have three bio-daughters. Our eldest married with a four-year old son and is due to have our third grandchild in four days! Our middle daughter is widowed (Afghanistan, that’s another story for another day) and they have a three-year old boy. Our youngest (bio) daughter is working and going to a local community college (the jobs is in her career field at a local hospital).
We know the family where our “new kids” came from. Their bio parents just wore their family down with promises of we will quit doing….. we will get our life on track, etc. The family was so put off by these two (insert negative adjective here) that when it came time for the Department of Social Services to remove the (then) two and four-year olds the maternal grandmother actually said to either put them in Foster Care or in the orphanage up state. That’s when the mom asked DSS to check with us to see if we would be willing to care for them while they finished getting their act together. Originally it was only supposed to be for a few months but weeks turned into months and months turned into years. After more than a year and a half of failed drug tests, court appearances and failures to complete court ordered Anger Management classes my wife and I began to pray about the next step. Eventually it became clear that the Lord has placed us in relationship with this family as His back-up plan for these innocent children. So we talked to our girls and we all agreed adoption is what the Lord would have for us to do in this season of our life. Now keep in mind we received these children under the state’s safety plan. Which means our home is a safe place and we don’t get any money from anyone. So automatically we needed to come up with money for pullups, wipes, extra food and all the things young children need. The big one was the $800 a month in child care! Ouch!
We originally got involved with the family when our church called to ask if we would be willing to help out a single father who was raising a four months old infant. We all talked about it and since my wife is out of school for the summer… So we would go and pick her up at 6:15sh and bring her back in the evening about the same time. Some times we would keep her over night and on weekends. Not only to give him a break but we had come to love the little baby girl too. That was the summer of 2002 and we had no idea how providential that summer would be.
Eventually we learned that the reason the birth father had the baby on his own was because when mom was PREGNANT with the baby she got so drunk that she ran over a guy and killed him! What a beginning for this little girl! So mom get’s out of prison when the girl is two, they seem to get their act together, get married, start going to church, start saying all the things people want to hear, she gets pregnant and dang if the little boy isn’t born addicted to drugs!! Now remember, because she was drinking and doing drugs during her first pregnancy, she killed an innocent pedestrian! But I guess that’s not a big deal because DSS let her take the baby home under the supervision of the birth-father. Did I mention that birth-father has already confessed to DSS that he has a cocaine problem? Unbelievable! What do you think would have happened if these two children were little puppies? And you know what else? The birth-mother was still on probation from her previous vehicular homicide conviction! Why wasn’t she violated and sent back to prison?
Anyway, the birth-father says he didn’t even know the birth-mother was doing drugs (he should make a good supervisor) so he is a bit ticked off. He won’t have anything to do with the little infant boy and I think he (the baby boy) spent most of the first two years of his life either in his crib or play pen. That is complete speculation on my part. But I have been around a bunch of two-year olds and when he came to us he was very withdrawn, walked with his head down and barely made any sounds much less speak.
The bio parents did not passed a drug test in three years and both were convicted (again) of domestic abuse in October of 08. But if you ask them they will tell you “I love my kids”. Okay, really?! I guess I can throw in the reason Social Services finally decided to remove the children is because mom got caught driving drunk with the kids in the car! Heck, she’s already killed one person driving drunk! Now she has the kids in the car driving drunk!!! I mean what does it take? But she loves her kids?! Right.
Anyway, I will give the mother a little bit of credit… but just a little. It took her a few years but eventually she relinquished her parental rights. No one has heard from dad for quite some time. He hasn’t been around much since the judge ordered him to take his pay stub down and sign up for child support. That was October of 06. But he loves his kids too!
We went to court on July 31, 2009 for a trial to decide if the dad’s parental rights will be terminated. Everyone says it looks like a slam dunk, but I guess you never know.
As I looked back over those last twenty-six or so months I can see God’s faithful hand. As sad as it is, for some reason it’s easier (for me) to recognise His faithfulness when it comes to finances. How sad is that? Coming up with the extra eight hundred dollars a month for child care in those early months was a challenge but it was always there. I remember that first Christmas someone walked up to me at church and handed me a check for four hundred dollars and said they wanted to make sure the kids had a good Christmas. I knew what he meant so I didn’t go into my spill about what Christmas was all about. Then some time in 07 the transmission in my wife’s Buick Regal went out. So since my son-in-law had been killed in action in Afghanistan that same year she began driving his Dodge truck. It sucked the gas and that was when the gas was over $4 a gallon too! You will never believe what happened next. Our “new kids’ maternal aunt and uncle, who by most standards are a bit affluent had an 02 Chrysler Town and Country with AM/FM/CD/DVD/PLAY STATION II/monitors in the head rests, a thirteen inch TV that folds down from the ceiling, leather and wood trim throughout with less than seventy thousand miles… they gave it to us!! Well that’s not EXACTLY true. My dad died about eight years previous to this and we had just gotten back (I mean within two weeks) from the six hundred something miles one way trip to visit my mom. Since my dad’s estate was in Louisiana and their law is different it took some time to settle the estate. I have five siblings so after all was said and done my part of my dad’s estate was eight hundred twenty-four dollars. Before these people gave us the Chrysler Town and Country they said something like, “We want to give you guys the van but we have had some work done on it at the dealer (they were going to sell it) and if you can come up with the money to pay the dealer we will give you the van. Guess how much the dealer bill was? Eight hundred dollars exactly… but it needed gas so we put the other twenty dollars in the tank!
Honestly, at times I do wonder… what do people who retire do with their lives? There is so much excitement and challenges in raising children. You have to stay active (both mentally and physically).
After all what did Jesus say, “Let the little ones come unto Me.” (my paraphrase)
I have often heard our pastor say, “God’s will done God’s way has God’s provision.”
The adoption was finalized in December 2009. We are still waiting on all the necessary paper work for the legal name changes, etc. but life is good. Our youngest daughter is currently taking dance and has her first recital in May. Our son is currently playing flag football in with our local Recreation Department. I have been the oldest daddy on a few field trips and I look at those 20something year old parents and sort of smile to myself.
We pray that He continues to provide and that we do our best to hear His voice and to be obedient to It.