My husband and I (really me and I convinced him) decided to grow our family when our biological daughters were 16 and 19 years old. The process for us took a little longer because we took a five month break before the certification was completed. Our younger daughter, Maggie, was deep in the midst of high school with her friends, the music program and swim team and our older daughter, Mary Pat, was already in college studying biology/psychology and Spanish. Our younger daughter said, “Why? I like our family the way it is.” Our older daughter chose to attend the MAPP sessions with us, possibly it was because she was just that much older and had already taken some psychology classes. After the classes were completed in the summer, we took both daughters to an adoption party. It was an outdoor event. It turned out to be hard for all of us. Our daughters had a difficult time imagining that we were supposed to “looking” for someone to join our family at this event. To our daughters it seemed an odd way to change the total dynamic of our family. So, we took a five month break to make sure that this is what we wanted.
When we called our social worker to start again, my husband and I were committed. At this point we changed what we did, only my husband and I went to many adoption parties all over the state. We became comfortable being advocates for ourselves in finding the right child for our family.
Finding our third daughter is a wonderful part of our family’s story. Heather’s social worker was waiting for us to contact her; she had read our story and thought it would be a great match. Heather had always loved school, our family is all about education. Heather wanted to do activities, we love all sports. Heather wanted a family with sisters, and we had one!
Heather came to live with us the summer before Maggie’s senior year of high school and Mary Pat’s junior year in college. Heather went to the middle school in September; she was 13 years old. It was a process for everyone to adjust. It was huge for Heather to join a family and learn what that entailed. It was huge for Maggie to figure out that all of a sudden she was the middle child, all the while she was very busy applying to colleges and being a senior. It was probably the easiest adjustment for Mary Pat who was not home as much, and she could offer advice from afar.
Where are we now? Heather has the two most wonderful sisters who are always there for her with their own unique personalities – sometimes offering different approaches when Heather needs help in school, with relationships or how to “deal with her parents.” Heather’s sisters will tell anyone that having Heather become part of our family is the best decision we ever made!
Was it easy? Not all the time. Sometimes my husband and I wished we could hurry the process up of becoming a warm and loving family. That does not happen instantly. There are many small steps a family needs to take to adapt and change. It is very worth the wait.
About the Family
Kim is a Pre-K teacher, Frank is in Finance, Mary Pat will be a pediatric resident at Northwestern Children’s Hospital, Maggie is a teacher and Heather is a freshman at Framingham State University.