Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Limbo: 864 Days of Waiting

When it comes to adoption, whether it’s international, domestic, private, or through foster care, everyone experiences that time period in which all you can do is wait. For my husband and I, the waiting game for one of our adoptions was by far the hardest.

My husband and I have adopted five children through foster care, three individual adoptions and one set of siblings. Our sibling adoption was by far the toughest and longest adoption we went through. Nevin and Jovie came to us at age two and three. When we got them, their case goal was not adoption and was reunification. We were well aware of this and in the beginning fully thought they would only be with us for a short while.


The first time adoption was really brought up was probably around the twelve-month mark in their case. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t think about it sooner than that, but that was the first time someone else really spoke what we had been feeling. At that time, their mother was still battling her addiction and finding it hard to maintain employment and their dad was still in jail.

We had a meeting coming up in a couple of months, and at that time our case worker felt like she would recommend a case goal change from reunification to adoption. When the meeting came, we found out that their dad would be getting out of jail in a couple of weeks and his attorney wanted his client to have a chance to get custody. His attorney told us all that he thought thirty days would give us a good idea of how serious he would be in getting his kids back.
After waiting an extra three months, we were scheduled for court. Once we arrived at court we were told that some paperwork wasn’t filed in time, so the court date was pushed back for another ninety days. We were frustrated because in the six months, their mom and dad still struggled with their addiction, couldn’t hold a job, and fought against the caseworkers. They still were given more chances and more time, which just increased our waiting. At this point, the kids were well aware that things weren’t right. They loved their biological parents, but they also experienced the heartbreak when their parents constantly missed visits due to their addictions. It was tough on us because we truly felt “in limbo” and like everyone had forgotten about these two children.

Luckily we didn’t have to wait much longer for the team to come together and make a decision for what was best for the children. I will say that as frustrated as we were with their biological parents, we knew they loved their children. You could see it in the heart break they were experiencing knowing that they just weren’t fit to be parents at this time. They asked to meet with both my husband and I, and in the meeting they told us that they knew we were great parents for them and they wanted their children to be happy. After twenty months of having these two children in our home, the case was changed to adoption.
Adopting through foster care is the only type of adoption we know so I can’t speak on much else. I believe that the most difficult part of being a foster parent is the waiting game. We had Nevin and Jovie for almost two years. They called us mom and dad, they didn’t have visits with their biological parents anymore, and still we waited.
When my husband and I got engaged, I remember the engagement and one of the hardest things was waiting. You knew the wedding day was coming but you wanted that finalization and no longer being referred to as fiancé, but as husband and wife. This was somewhat the same feeling. Once we knew the adoption day was coming, we just wanted that finalization. Nevin and Jovie had a different last name then us and when you went to the doctor’s office or their school, they were known by a different name. We didn’t want that for them, we wanted security, and direction for their future.
Adoption day finally came after our children had been in foster care for 864 days. Nevin and Jovie were now each a Hayes and their future had a more clear direction. Waiting was never easy. We’ve adopted five children and knew the whole time in our other adoptions that we would have to wait. It never made it any easier. Our first caseworker told us that we just had to be patient and see everything through because in the end, the only thing that mattered was that they were where they needed to be.

Lindsey Hayes married her High School sweetheart in 2007.  They started foster care in 2010 and have adopted five children since that time.

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