I just can’t imagine my childhood without Joey, Jamie, Tasha, Quincy, Buster, Marlon, Faleana, Patricia, Crystal, April, Jessica, Shayla, or Ricky. Regardless of how old they were when they joined the family, these were my cousins just as much as any others. Adoption and foster care were such a common and expected part of my extended family. I assumed everyone had adopted cousins! Or at least, I wished that everyone did; there’s nothing like having so many bonus playmates!
What I love most about my family’s history of adoption and foster care is how it normalized both for me. I grew up always assuming that I would one day adopt a child, because, “Isn’t that just part of how you do it?” While I have not yet pursued this route, it’s never off the table for me.
The Things I Didn’t Know, But Am Grateful For
Of course as a kid, I had no idea about late night phone calls from an agency about kids in emergency need. I didn’t know the home approval process. Financial assistance from the state or termination of parental rights were things I never wondered about. I didn’t need to know what services were offered by the local school district. All I cared about was whether or not I could spend the night, and if we could jump on the trampoline. This was my joy.
They’re gone now, but the dear aunt and uncle who adopted my now-cousins must have truly had some stories to tell. I don’t know how they got started on their journey. I’m not sure what motivated them to keep going. I can’t tell you whether or not they would have ever closed the doors to their home. But I am so very grateful for all they did to build our family tree into a mighty banyan, with roots that go much deeper than DNA.
A New Adoption Journey
Now, I am having the immense pleasure of witnessing one of my best friends on her adoption journey. My new niece and nephew already feel like they’ve always been around. This auntie will be doing everything in her power to ensure that they always know they are family.
Did you know that in Michigan there are nearly 3,500 children awaiting adoption from foster care? If you’ve considered adoption, here is a starting point for you! I wish you well on your journey, mama.
For more on adoption, check out 10 Ways Adoption Changed the Way I See the World.