Today’s guest post is by April Martinez
Our story began when my husband and I got married in July of 2005. Two weeks later he left for Iraq and six months later I left for Afghanistan. Almost two years after he left, we were finally together – thanks to a nice four-month extension I received at the last minute. One if the things that got me though all that time apart was the dream of starting a family once I returned home. One would think it would be a very simple process. However, for us, it was not.
While we were able to get pregnant (eight times in all), each time the baby became an angel before we could welcome them into our arms. It all finally became too much for us. We were not sure where to start so we got some adoption books and explored our options. International adoption was not within our means (not enough leave time from the military to fulfill requirements), and we were turned away from domestic adoption agencies for being dual military, so we inquired to our local foster care agency.
They were more than happy to accept us as foster parents. It was a little challenging seeing as how my husband and I were both serving in the Army at the time. However, we were blessed to both have chain of commands that knew of our struggle to build our family and were very supportive. We started the foster process in January 2010 and by March 17, 2010 we were certified. We were always on top of any paperwork they sent us. When it arrived in my email, by that afternoon or by the latest the next morning it was being faxed or mailed right back with all the necessary signatures and documents. We were determined.
Initially, we were interested in children already available for adoption (and we submitted our home study on so many!) or those that were legal risk cases. We had no idea when we would be ordered to move to our next duty station and we hoped to be able to adopt soon. However, just seven days after we were certified, I received a call from our agency asking us if we would take an emergency placement for six-month-old twin boys.
This would be a big risk for us. They could be here for one day, or one year. We had no way of knowing the outcome. However, once they gave me the info I knew it was fate. You see, the furthest we ever got in a pregnancy was 16 weeks. We named him Caleb Christopher and he was due Aug. 28, 2009. The agency told me these boys were born in September 2009. One was named Clayton, and the other … Caleb! I felt that someone above was trying to send us a sign that we needed to bring these boys into our home. I instantly said yes.
Two hours later they arrived and we were in love. It didn’t matter if they only stayed a day, a month or a year, those boys would always have a place in our hearts. Their case was a roller coaster to say the least. I don’t think I have shed so many tears in my life. I attended every court date so I could know what was going on. They have three older siblings and we would do extra play dates with the other foster family to give them more time together.
Eight months after they had been with us their birth mom made the decision to let us adopt them. It took a number of months for the parental rights to be terminated and adoption day to come around. The boys were 20 months old on their adoption day. Their three siblings are now back with their birth mom and we have an open relationship with them.
Our story is not the norm, especially for the foster/adopt community but I am beyond thankful for how it turned out. We recently were moved from our home in Texas to our new duty station in Washington State. I have since retired, but my husband still serves. We hope to return back to Texas and hopefully become foster parents again.
April Martinez is a retired Army Staff Sergeant and currently a stay-at-home mother. After adopting her twins, she and her husband plan to foster again upon her husband’s retirement from the U.S. Army. She strongly recommends all advocate and spread the word about foster care! Two families she knows became foster parents just from witnessing her and her husband’s journey. Imagine how many more lives you could help change.