In my last blog…
In my last blog, I shared the story of our first foster placement in November of 2008. By the beginning of December, we were completely in love with our foster children, but we were still thinking about expanding our family permanently through adoption.
Before we were even licensed…
Even before starting the foster licensing process, we had perused the AdoptUsKids website, looking through photo-listings of foster children around the country available for adoption and submitting inquiries for sibling groups we thought may be a good match for our home, lifestyle, and personalities. At one point, we saw two brothers ages 8 and 10 who loved superheroes. They were actually local to us, and the bio said the agency (which happened to be the same one we were licensed through) was looking for a local family in order to maintain some relationships. We hit the button that said to submit an inquiry.
Small world at the Christmas party
In the weeks following, we checked back and it said the worker was “reviewing interested families.” We never heard from the worker, so we assumed the agency determined we were not a good match and didn’t think much about it. By that time we were busy parenting our two little sweethearts. I forgot about it until we went to the agency Christmas party early that December. We entered the room of over 250 foster children, foster parents, foster siblings, and caseworkers. I told our foster daughter to pick a spot at one of the long rows of tables for us. The foster family in the next row by us consisted of foster parents and two boys. We ended up in line for food next to them and started chatting with the family, the older of the two boys oohing and awing over and playing with our little toddler foster son.
We all went back to our seats and began eating. I went up to get dessert and had to stop abruptly when the older of the two boys from the other family and I almost collided as he turned from filling his drink. We giggled and did a little dance as we both tried to step around each other the same way and then the other way and the other. As we stepped to the left and right, I read his nametag: same name as the boy on AdoptUSKids. Whoa! He looks about 10. And there was another little boy with him who looked around 8. I wondered what his name was. You see, while most listings on AdoptUSKids contain photos, the boys we had considered adding to our family did NOT have a photo on their listing because parental rights were not officially terminated yet.
Excuse me. Are these the boys?
I spent most the rest of the evening trying to figure out if these were the boys we had submitted an inquiry on. We lived in a very rural area, and the chances of there being two sets of boys with the same names and near the same ages in care with the same small, private agency were almost impossible. The other child was sitting with his back to me. Finally, this little guy got up to sing Christmas karaoke, and I saw his nametag. I had been chatting with his foster mom, so I waited until no kids were around to ask, “Are they by chance listed on AdoptUSKids?”
“Yes! Why? Are you interested?” she asked.
“Well, yes. We’re interested in adoption in general, but we had submitted an inquiry on them, and we never heard anything back,” I answered.
“No, something’s wrong,” she said. “They’re looking for a local family, and all the inquiries they’ve gotten are from Chicago [6 hours away] or out of state. I have to talk to their caseworker on Monday. I’ll ask her about it.”
Getting past a computer glitch
To make a long story short, it turns out there was a glitch. The system never notified their worker or ours that we were interested. We went to their home in January to talk to their foster parents and officially meet them. They came for their first overnight in February, went on spring break and a Memorial Day trip with us, and spent some weekends in between transitioning into our home. The school year ended, and they moved in June 6, 2009, their 7th move in 5 years in foster care and their last.
It would be almost two years before we were legally their parents. The story still can give me chills. I don’t believe in chance. What were the chances that when a well-developed site experienced a glitch that a 5 year old would choose a table right next to their family in a room of over 250 people? I believe in purpose. There are days (and there are many) I question our sanity and what that purpose is, but as I look back and see the change in their lives and the love we share, I know that was no chance meeting.