This guest blog is written by Traci Best, an adoptive mom who has adopted two sons, Elijah and Nate, through the Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.
In the early spring of 2013, as our three seventh graders were working quietly on their schoolwork, I took a break from my work to flip through Facebook. I was compelled to click on a link to the AdoptUSKids.org website, and soon I was scrolling through a list of children eligible for adoption through foster care. I looked around me at the huge house we had been blessed with and was overcome by the knowledge that we had it within our power to do more than we were currently doing. I paused on the profile of a sibling group and thought…with just a few tweaks we could adopt again. All we would need is a larger vehicle and a couple sets of bunk beds. It was totally doable. My girls noticed that I was teary and sniffing and they asked me what was wrong. I said, “What would you think about adopting again?”
Later that summer, my husband David and I finished up our foster care/adoption home study and our family was Special Needs Adoption Program certified. We then entered “wait-and-see” mode. During our wait, we received a little packet from a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter. She introduced herself and congratulated us on this big decision to grow our family through adoption. That’s how we learned about Elijah and Nate.
Soon our WWK recruiter was sending us pictures and videos of the boys. In one of the videos Elijah was holding a few Legos that he had fashioned into the shape of the starship Enterprise. His foster mom was asking what characters he liked on the shows and he said: “I love all the Captains. All the heroes.” As huge Star Trek fans ourselves, we immediately felt a connection. Their WWK recruiter tried to explain to us as best she could about their challenges, medications, doctors and background. We met with the boys’ team, including their Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer and their case worker, and learned that the boys had been eligible for adoption for a couple of years. They had been through eight previous foster homes and two failed pre-adoptive placements. Their challenges were many, behaviorally and educationally. David and I walked out of that meeting and said to each other…These boys need us. If not us, who? If not now, when? David and I both felt convinced this was what we were to do.
Soon after our initial meeting, our visits began. We had the boys for overnight weekend visits for four-to-five weeks and then a longer visit over several days at Christmas. Our placement date was Martin Luther King Jr. day in January 2014.We never looked back. The boys’ CASA volunteer and case worker visited us monthly. They would look deep into my eyes and ask how things were going. I would tell them the truth – the challenges, the sweet moments, the homework struggles. Each time I think they were looking to see if or when we were going to give up and try to escape our commitment. I didn’t see that as an option. I had one goal in sight: FINALIZATION. In November of that year we completed their adoption on National Adoption Day. November 21st, 2014. It was on that cold and drizzly day, just before Thanksgiving, that we officially became a family of seven.