"Adopting from foster care is not a sprint—it's a marathon"
A mother talks about doubling the size of her family after a six-year search.
August 08, 2018
This June, Missy Segota wrote to us with some good news:
“My husband and I are finalizing the adoption of four siblings we found on AdoptUSKids! They have ongoing needs and lots of energy—and they were meant to be our children.”
We talked with Missy about their adoption journey and what she learned along the way.
Why did you decide to adopt?
My husband, James, and I always knew we wanted to have a lot of kids. We thought maybe eight would be great! Our plan was to have two by birth, and then get licensed to adopt. Adoption was not our backup plan. It was the way we wanted to complete our family.
We had two boys by birth. Our first was Eli. He was the perfect baby—calm, agreeable—easy. He made us think that we were perfect parents!
Then God laughed at us and gave us Gabe! A loving, dramatic, precious child who acts as though everything that happens is the end of the world. We learned that we aren’t perfect—and that children do not come to you as blank slates.
When Gabe was about a year old, we got licensed to adopt from foster care and started our search.
Can you describe the process of being matched with your children?
Long and winding! Shortly after being licensed, we had two matches that fell through, which of course was heartbreaking. We decided to take a year off, and then had to move to Florida for my husband’s job. Which meant we had to start the process all over again!
Once we were licensed, we registered on AdoptUSKids again. It’s been our favorite website forever! Right away, we saw a group of four brothers and sisters who we thought might be a good fit.
Apparently we were one of many families who inquired about the siblings, because it took a while to hear back. We had almost given up hope when their social worker called and asked if we were still interested. Yes, we were!
In the following weeks, we met with seven social workers! They came in three groups, and all of them thought it might be a good match.
Next came the full disclosure meeting, when we got to read all about the kids. That was a horrible afternoon. I cried when I learned what they had been through.
Finally, we got to meet the children on our 15th wedding anniversary! The littlest one, Randy, ran right up to me and called me “Mom.” It was the best moment ever.
On June 14, nine months after that first meeting, we adopted them. More than 40 people showed up at the courthouse that day! All of the children’s current workers and many of their past workers, their guardians ad litem, their speech therapists. We had no idea how many people were rooting for us and for our kids!
You doubled the size of your family that June afternoon! What have been the greatest rewards?
In the last six months, we’ve watched our children blossom and become part of our family. They are making friends, they are talking—a lot! They are doing all sorts of things they had never done before.
Lately, I’ve noticed something that is really inspiring. Now that they are comfortable and feel safe, they are thinking about each other’s needs more and wanting to help other children. Seeing that empathy grow in them is a beautiful thing.
What is your advice to other parents who are considering adopting from foster care?
Never give up! If you have to go through the heartache of six years of searching like we did, do it! Adopting from foster care is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Keep going, don’t stop.
Also, be prepared to be your child’s advocate. No one can do it better than you. That might mean calling four different pediatricians and sitting down with teachers every week. Get ready to stand up for their needs—a lot.
Lastly, as we first learned with our birth children, children are individuals, not blank slates. Help them by working to strengthen their weaknesses and by soaring with their strengths.
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