Since the posting of a blog called “Multiplied Blessings”, I have watched it become the most read post on Splashing in Grace. I am happy to confide that today’s entry is about the continuation of our journey through our foster-to-adoption process and a little boy that has recently adopted us as his forever family. I hope you will be blessed…
It has been a whirl-wind week for us in the McManus household, filled with the news that our fifteen year old may be having a pin put in his hip, the long awaited adoption of our son Joshua, and an emergency kidney stone removal for my mom. Now, I am sitting by my mom’s hospital bedside in the silence, reflecting upon every emotion I’ve had over the last seven days.
A week has gone by since I stood in my kitchen to review our upcoming calendar. On that particular day, after penciling in our family commitments, I was body slammed in the leg by a miniature three-year-old. Joshua’s clawing arms begged me to lift him into my arms. I welcomed and wore his entangled arms like a scarf around my neck until he unwrapped them, cupped my face, looked deep into my eyes, and questioned me in a little voice. “We married yet?” he asked. My heart felt like it melted within my chest.
|Joshua summer of 2009|
“We will be married soon,” I said. Then, while using the calendar as a visual tool, I pointed to October 28th and read out loud. “This is Joshua’s adoption.” Satisfied with my answer he shimmied down my body and ran off to play. I stood there overwhelmed by the reality that our two and a half years of fostering to adopt Joshua were almost over. It has been a long labor. Looking back now, I remember some of our most painful moments on the journey being the transitions between three different caseworkers, frequent mishaps, lost paper work, multiple court setbacks, and our delayed August adoption hearing. This process was littered with unique troubles and yet we watched God at work through a broken system and through broken people, to create a new beginning for Joshua. Just before we welcomed him into our home full-time, Joshua was labeled as fragile by his on duty nurse. We didn’t necessarily feel prepared for his needs but we felt that this was the boy God had chosen for us. Our love for him began long before we ever laid eyes upon him, so we took the next step of faith. Just like in past labors, we asked for God’s hand of intervention when we felt helplessness. I believe that God was just waiting for us to ask Him for help. There were times when we were too exhausted to know how to pray, but He heard us in spite of our limitations. When we waited upon Him for an answer, wisdom and rest always arrived at just the right time.
A few days after Joshua’s question, I woke early one morning with a startle. While groggy and rubbing at my eyes, it hit me, “Today is the day!” I slid out of bed in the darkness and got myself pulled together. Little did I know then that my weak stomach would be tied into knots after we arrived at the juvenile court building. Immediately, I knew that this day was going to need miraculous intervention. Our two hearings which were originally set to be carried out two hours apart, changed to be held immediately back to back. Neither our caseworker, our lawyer, or our family were there. While I sat alone watching those around me, my husband began running back and forth through metal detectors to make phone calls.
Almost every seat was taken. Disheveled families and individuals sat among well dressed government workers. The first group sat mostly in silence, staring, and waiting for their case name to be called over the loud speaker. The second group connected with their case members, then giddily gathered with co-workers and long time acquaintances. Before long, Joshua’s supervisor walked up to me and said hello. “We’ll see if things go forward today,” she said. I stared at her in shock. The nerves in my neck tightened and I was left speechless.
Not long after Larry sat back in the chair next to me, I saw our family step off of the elevator and begin walking towards us. Relieved, I jumped out of my chair and held back from running towards all of them. “You made it!” I said. Drawing all of them close, I kissed them, and felt the peering eyes of onlookers. We stood out not only as the minority in the room, but also as an intact family. With my parents by my side, I felt so proud to be the mother of our six children and the wife of such a dedicated father. I took a deep breath and lead the parade to our seats. While I sat waiting with everyone, my heart cried out, “This adoption just has to happen today!”
Our caseworker, Joshua’s original therapist, and our lawyer arrived within minutes of each other and not long after, we were called into a holding area where Joshua met our favorite bailiff. “Do you like suckers?” He asked Joshua. “Come see me afterwards.”
In a filled courtroom, we swore our oath before God to tell the truth. Tears trickled down my face as each second held another final piece to our adoption story and marked a new beginning for us as a family. The magistrate announced Joshua’s new name, meaning “God’s gift, whom God has saved,” with a beaming smile. Then, Joshua called loudly to the judge.
“Thank you for my adoption!” He said.
Another round of cheers exploded in the room and we wiped more tears away. Joshua ran to the awaiting bailiff to receive the biggest orange sucker that he may ever taste in his lifetime. His sticky hands held it tight. Finally, we documented the day with a picture, taken with the magistrate we had over the last three years and seven months. As we turned to file out of the courtroom, a DCS attorney spoke to me sincerely. “Thank you for adopting from foster care,” she said.
It was a team effort to watch this all finally come to fruition. No longer will Joshua feel worry and ask his caseworker; “You have my adoption papers?” Instead, his heart can remain at peace knowing that God arranged and sent us to him at just the right moment, not by our wisdom, but His alone. In our hearts, we do long to adopt again, but it won’t be through our state. The laws have changed and effect families our size with a heart to love more family members. When we were first lead to begin the process, a family with eight children in all was the largest they would allow, now it has been reduced to a family with five children. We won’t qualify to foster to adopt anymore because of that change in the law.
The day following his adoption, as I laid him down for a nap, prayed with him, and kissed him good-night he asked me a question. Just as I began to close the door Joshua made a request from his blanket filled bed.
“Call me son?” He asked. My eyes filled and I couldn’t hold back my joy. Before I turned the knob and shut it behind me I spoke the five words he longed to hear me say.
“Good-night Son, I love you.”
|Larry, Kelly, and our son Joshua on adoption day Oct. 24, 2011|
November is National Adoption Month
It is disheartening to know that there are so many children waiting to be adopted,
( See orphan stats here. )with more coming in everyday. Yet, we all have an opportunity to make a differnce. Maybe our story will inspire a family to share their life and love with a foster, adoptable child, or a family of children. When the burden is there, I believe that there is a reason. Maybe your child is waiting to be born, like ours was 20 years ago. We prayed about it ever since and for the child that God would one day create. We prayed for the mother to have courage and give the infant growing within her a chance to live and be loved. We took a leap of faith into the unknown even though we felt fear, and just look where it has brought us. Look where it has brought Joshua- into his forever family..
” “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:37-40