Foster Care to Adoption: Our family’s story is unique and precious
November is National Adoption Month. CASA volunteers stay by a child’s side throughout the case, advocating first for reunification with the child’s parent(s) when safe and possible. If reunification is not safe or possible, CASA volunteers will advocate for the child to be adopted by, or live with, other relatives or family friends. If that is also not possible, CASA volunteers will work towards adoption by a non-relative.
Adoption is a beautiful thing, and just like any other major life decision, it’s not always easy. Some of our CASA staff have been through this journey to adopt. Here is our Executive Director, Anna Futral, and her family’s story.
In the summer of 2012, my husband, Trent, and I had been married four years, had the house, the cars, the jobs, and by all normal accounts, having a baby would be a next logical step in our life at that point. But we’ve never really followed convention, meanwhile, every time the baby conversation came up between us, we both ended up feeling somewhat ambivalent about it, like it wasn’t the answer for us, like there was a different plan in store for our hopes of building a family. Turns out…we were right.
Adoption had always been in the back of our minds. My husband and his sister were each adopted, so that has always been a piece of our puzzle. As baby conversations continued to stall out, we decided to be proactive and research, listen and learn, not knowing that this new path would take hold of us so quickly and so firmly. We heavily researched international adoption, domestic adoption, and that scary thing called foster care, initially setting it on the shelf as something for people more mature than us in our mid-20s, or at least who have some parenting experience. Taking care of a child and then possibly letting them go, abuse, neglect, court dates, birth parent visits, potential behavior and medical problems, social workers, therapists, so many unknowns…
Nevertheless, we sat down for a meeting with a foster care agency, thinking we were just gathering information. Afterwards, we got in my car and I turned it on but we didn’t go anywhere for a few minutes, even though we both needed to get back to work. He said “That felt really, really normal to sit there and talk about all that.” I said, “I know.” There was a strange mixture in our hearts and gut of both peace and fear, both “Yes, this is right” mixed with “You have got to be kidding me.” I stared wide eyed over the steering wheel with tears on my cheeks and Trent stared wide eyed at me. Then we went back to work.
Looking at the world around us, we see so much hurt and pain. We can look overseas at the extreme poverty, starvation and orphanage there. In the summer of 2012, we looked right out our door and realized there are children needing a home right in our own community. Without getting into a debate about which is more important (both are extremely important in our world), we decided that our hearts lie in our local community. So we jumped all in.
The next several years were intense yet exciting, complex yet contained some of the easiest and clearest decisions we’ve ever made. As we opened our home to two and then three children, we were surrounded by caring support and capable professionals. Though the details of our family’s story are our own, a winding path with many curveballs across several years culminated in our open adoption of three biological siblings.
Our family’s story is unique. Our family’s story is challenging. Our family’s story is precious.
We honor our children’s past, celebrate their present and eagerly anticipate their future. We have good times and we laugh so, so often. We work through life’s plain ole challenges as a plain ole family. We face confusion and questions about their tricky start in life when they rise up and we block out the rest of the world, plop down on the rug, hash through it all, say as many words and cry as many tears as we need to until we are as much at peace as we can be in that moment.
Being an adoptive family isn’t always easy. Turmoil pops up and trauma surfaces. Strangers make ignorant comments about our family and people assume things about our story that are entirely false. But we rally as their parents and circle around them. At times we will take the blows on their behalf and shield them entirely, other times we will jump down into the trench with them. Still other times we will sit back and cheer them on from afar as they live out their unique, challenging, precious story with strength, confidence and love.