‘您新怀孕,这个小女孩做很多工作。如果您需要我们找到她的新家,那没关系。’我不想一个“更容易”的孩子。我想要她。’:寄养妈妈分享特殊需要采用

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“My husband had always wanted to be involved in bothadoptionfoster care。我没有类似的感觉,最初只是想专注于一个亲生家庭而苦苦挣扎。我的丈夫说服我参加了一次有关寄养护理的问答会议以及寄养父母的现实打击了我。我想起了詹姆斯1:27,说:“我们父亲接受纯洁而完美的宗教是:照顾他们的痛苦中的孤儿和寡妇……”

In that moment, I truly believed if I said I was a Christian, I needed to help vulnerable people. Because of his love for me, Jesus died. Because I’ve experienced love, I want to share it with others.

杰西卡·马哈恩(Jessica Mahorn)

After several months of training, we got our first placement in November of 2017. We had two kids for 6 amazing months. Then one day, we got a phone call out of the blue, ‘I am so sorry. There was a surprise court date… I have to pick them up in a few hours.’ I get asked a lot how hard it is to say goodbye knowing I probably will never see them again. I’ll be honest. I hate this question. No, they didn’t die but my relationship with them did. I grieved a lot. I’m still grieving.

Foster care is not about me and it never will be. A child’s need for love and safety is more important than adult feelings. More important than my grieving. More important than my comfort. I could never put into words how painful it is but what I can say is it doesn’t matter because each of the children I’ve said goodbye to needed a safe place to feel loved for a time and that is more important than how hard it is.

由娜塔莉(Natalie)提供

A few weeks after those kids left, we got a call for a newborn baby girl. 2 weeks later, she left. A few weeks after, we got a call for a toddler girl. 2 months later, she was gone. I had also just found out I was pregnant and was very sick. In the span of 6 months, I had said goodbye to four children. I was burnt out, sick of the system, and convinced what I did as a foster parent was pointless. I was ready to quit, and it had not even been a year of fostering. Then we got a call for Elianna.

由娜塔莉(Natalie)提供

I had told myself I was going to say no if the state called and asked me to take another child. Struggling with compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary trauma had me extremely exhausted. I just couldn’t do it anymore. But then the state called me in September of 2018. ‘We have a 6-month-old little girl who needs a place to stay… she’s medically complex.’ And despite the burnout (I think most foster parents can relate to what I am about to say), I heard my voice saying, ‘Of course, when can I see her?’ I really had not thought of having a child with medical and特殊需求但是我内心说这个小女孩本来是在我家。

由娜塔莉(Natalie)提供

The first few months were really hard. Elianna had several doctor and therapy appointments every week and with each passing day we would find out something new she was struggling with or needed a new doctor for. One day a social worker called me and said, ‘Natalie, you’re newly pregnant and this little girl is a lot of work, if you need us to find her a new home, it’s okay. I can get you an easier kid.’ But I didn’t want an ‘easier’ kid whatever that means… I wanted her.

Being a特殊需求妈妈now for over 2 years has taught me a lot. I want to encourage other moms whose children have special needs. Moms who spend time in hospitals for their child. Moms who Google things late at night worried about what their child’s future holds. I’ve been there. I’m still there. But there is so much hope. Not in Google. Not in treatments. But in the love you have for your child and even more so, the love God has for them.

Once a few months had gone by, things started to settle down and we got into a good routine with her medical needs. Her case was a different story. The social worker assigned said this was the largest file she had at the time. So much was going on. An intense amount of hurt and anger and lies and brokenness. We felt overwhelmed a lot and even the judge would later say, ‘Oh, I remember this case.’ Either my husband or I went to every court date and every meeting. I was either at a doctor’s appointment, court date, therapy appointment, or nursing our new infant. Although that season was hard (and a blur), I wouldn’t change it for anything. Everything we did for Elianna pales in comparison to the joy and love she brought to our lives.

由娜塔莉(Natalie)提供

The most common comment I get from others when they hear my story is, ‘I’m so glad I found you! We want to adopt through foster care!’ I love adoption. Many friends and family have adopted. And I think if you want to adopt and nothing else go for it! But don’t do foster care. Yes, there are times when you get to adopt through foster care but that’s never the ideal. Foster care is for reunifying families.

当我们第一次开始意识到这种情况下going to adoption, I had a mix of emotions. I had worked with her mom and family for almost a year. This was not an adoption story where a mom places her child for adoption, and we agreed to adopt. Her biological mom’s rights were removed by force. A family was being ripped apart. I knew terminating her family’s rights was the right decision, but that right decision came with lifelong consequences and grief. Once rights were terminated, Elianna became a legal orphan.

Laura Cook Photography
Laura Cook Photography

It broke me she was legally an orphan. There is so much happiness in adoption but to fully celebrate the happiness, we have to also fully embrace the heartache. Finally, on December 9, 2020, we adopted Elianna. Because of the pandemic, we had to do it virtually from our home but that did not seem to happen that day. So many people joined to watch the adoption on Zoom. I still am so grateful for how many people love this little girl. It was one of the happiest days of my life but another mom’s most heart-wrenching.

Laura Cook Photography
Laura Cook Photography

我们仍然非常参与寄养。我们三年内有八个孩子,我无法想象很快停下来。我们仍在带新的孩子,并且仍在努力治愈破碎的家庭。上帝优先考虑家庭。在创世记中,他给亚当和夏娃的唯一命令之一就是填补地球。上帝创造了家庭。因此,当一个家庭被打破时,我希望将家庭康复。

Laura Cook Photography

此外,我最近通过肯塔基州开始担任官方寄养父母导师的新角色。当夫妻成为新的寄养父母时,我的工作是帮助他们度过关键的前6个月。其中一些导航包括帮助填写文书工作,教导如何与州,法院和亲生家庭合作,并准备说再见或采用。指导一直是这次寄养之旅所带来的最大祝福之一。我致力于帮助培养父母在一开始就为长期成功建立基础,而最终并没有像我那样辞职。

What about us? Will we adopt again? I’m not sure, my prayer is every child who comes into our home through foster care is able to safely and successfully reunite with their biological families. This is foster care.”

Laura Cook Photography

This story was submitted tobeplay网络一直不畅娜塔莉(Natalie)。你可以跟随她的旅程Instagram。Submit your own story这里和be sure to订阅to our free email newsletter for our best stories, andYouTube为了我们最好的视频。

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‘How come I’m this color and you’re brown?’ I’d always respond, ‘This is how God made us.’ Black or white, it didn’t matter. I was her mama.’: Selfless woman adopts 4 children from foster care

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‘I told a woman at the gym my son got into college. She replied, ‘Don’t celebrate too openly, other families may still be waiting.’: Special needs mom explains importance of celebrating milestones, ‘Let us have this’

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