In Part 1 and Part 2 of our Adoption Story (The Joys and Sorrows of Foster Adoption) we left off as little Joseph’s birth mom was no longer coming for her weekly visits. To think on what is probably true, it was likely that she saw him in a happy home, being well cared for and was content knowing that. Occasionally she would stop by Children’s Bureau and drop something off for Joseph, but she didn’t visit. On his birthday, she left him two little stuffed lizards. We still have them. On another occasion she left him some little boots that he ended up wearing to his adoption hearing, in honor of his birth mom. Even though we had not seen her in some time, we knew she was thinking about him. By this time, the cocaine that was in his little system had also long since dissipated with no trace of effects.
In September, 2012, little Joseph’s birth mom’s parental rights were terminated. Again, I thought a relief would rush over me. I thought joy would be my prevailing emotion, but it was not. And, while there was joy there because we were again, a step closer. It felt like what it must have felt like on Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. We don’t call it “Good Friday” because what had happened was pleasant. We call it “Good Friday” for what was to come. On Sunday, Jesus would raise from the dead. Our hearts were heavy. Little Joseph’s birth mom’s parental rights being terminated was not joyful. Instead, another sorrow. How sad for one to have their rights terminated by a court. Under the circumstances, the court did the right thing. Little Joseph needed parents who would be there for him and love him and take care of him. She wasn’t able to be that to little Joseph. And, we were right here waiting to be just that, his parents. What a joy that would be!
In September, 2012, right after the rights were severed, my phone rang and it was a number I didn’t recognize. I answered it and I was SO surprised to hear little Joseph’s birth mom on the phone. She said, “Diane, this is…and she said her name.” God gave me the grace to talk, even in the shock I was in. My husband was sitting there when the call came, and he said I sounded like I was talking to a friend. That is truly God’s grace given in the moment. I asked her how she was doing and she asked about little Joseph. I told her he was doing very well and growing up to be a very happy boy. This call was just a few weeks before his 1st Birthday. I directed her to call her social worker or Children’s Bureau when she asked for a visit. While a visit never materialized, she did decide to appeal the termination of her parental rights. It was time to wait again.
While we were VERY disappointed and confused at that news, we reminded ourselves, that everyone has the right to appeal this decision and we wouldn’t want that right taken away from a mom. If it were me, I would want that right. We waited seven more months. Those months were very quiet and we settled into normal life with the hope that little Joseph would soon be ours. Not only did we wait, our family and friends waited along with us. We were not in this alone…because we had brought this sweet boy into our home, our parents had another grandchild our brothers and sisters had a new nephew, our nieces and nephews had a new cousin, and our friends had a new child in the fold. We are SO blessed by all the support we received and continue to receive. We are overwhelmed by the love.
Finally, this spring, little Joseph became a Haller! We sat in the court room and agreed to give little Joseph all of the rights and privileges of being a Haller. We sat there and agreed to love him and care for him as if I gave birth to him. It was easy to agree to this because we already were doing this. We already loved him and had been loving him for 19 months. A wave of joy and relief washed over us. Yet, there was still a remembrance of little Joseph’s birth mom. Her rights were legally severed. What a sorrowful thought. In her honor, little Joseph wore the boots she left for him at Children’s Bureau. The fit perfectly…just like he fit perfectly here, in our arms, our family, and our home. Finally, in July, we celebrated with a huge party. Our dear friends, Greg and Heidi and their family held a shower in Joseph’s honor. We were at their home, surrounded by our family and friends and they showered us with love and gifts for our finally official “new” addition. It was a special occasion that we will never forget…the perfect way to mark our joy!
So, this is our adoption story. With all of the ups and downs, we wouldn’t change it. We are so grateful to God for our story and for how our story has been used in our lives to shape and mold us and remind us that we serve a loving and sovereign God. He is our Creator and our Sustainer. He gave us live and He has given us our family, each and every member. We don’t see our family as complete quite yet…we currently have another foster baby here with us, though he will be leaving us soon to live with his aunt. That will be a story for another time. We are also praying about who will join us next. So…stay tuned!
And, remember, if you are interested in learning more about Foster/Adoption, please call Maria Otero at (800) 730-3933 at Children’s Bureau. They are a wonderful resource and can answer your questions and get you going in the process if you are interested. Please tell them Robin and Diane sent you!