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Successful Families

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I have a wonderful life

Becky W., a young adult in Mosinee. Wisconsin who was adopted

I was adopted when I was 3 months old and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My birth mother didn’t like the way that I was born and the fact that she was 14 years old when she had me.

I’m now 21 years old and I really wanted to meet my birth mother and father. She doesn’t want anything to do with me, which breaks my heart, and I discovered my birth father killed himself 2 years after I was born.

I am just as normal as anyone else except the fact that I have a rare blood disorder, other than that I have a wonderful life and the greatest family on earth. I wouldn’t trade my life for the world!!!

Time is the key

Jenny A., an adoptive parent in Ocean Springs. Mississippi

In 2006, we adopted 7 children from the Corpus Christi area. There were many challenges along our journey as foster parents and through the process of adopting, but I would do it all again 100 times over. We have watched our children grow and thrive in our forever home.

Sometimes children are labeled unnecessarily and can over come many of these labels with time and love.  Time is the key and a big part of the healing process for abused children. Every day is another day closer to being healed from their past.

We have discovered our children’s special needs and have learned how to cope and deal with their individual needs. It is a challenge but it is what makes our children who they are.

If you are considering adoption or foster care you will find that the love for a child can help you over come things that you never thought possible.  May God bless you and your decision to give a child a FOREVER FAMILY.

My kids had changed by leaps and bounds

Jennifer C., an adoptive parent in Elk City, Oklahoma

I want the world to know the family we have been blessed with. My husband and I have been involved in the foster/adoptive care system for the last 8 years.
We received custody of my husband's cousins in 1999 as foster children at the age of 3 years and 7 years. When they came to us, they were very broken children. Within six months, my kids had changed by leaps and bounds. It was hard at times but when I look back now it is hard to imagine the children they once were. It is amazing what a little bit of love and structure can establish with the actions of a child no matter what they have been through. Now at the ages of 11 and 16, they are still wonderful children (I couldn't have ordered better.) They are a/b honor roll and my 11 year old just got accepted into gifted and talented program. The oldest has questions at times, but we work through them and she knows that this family is her rock and where she can be herself.

In 2000, I also ended up getting pregnant and had a son. Adding to my other son and daughter, they experienced the birth of anther family member and have bonded just as my brothers and I have.

In 2003, we started fostering again. We know the need of the system and enjoyed seeing the children thrive with what comes naturally love and a family unit. We talked with our children and explained to them with knowing what they experienced as young children that we wanted to give kids the home, food, and the family they once craved. They agreed. From that point on, they got very excited when a new family member arrived. In just a few years, we went through about 23 foster children. We loved every one of them and think about their well-being all the time.

We had a sibling set and their biological mother had a baby. She came to me at two days old and in May 2005, we had the pleasure of making her our little girl. She is now 2 years old and she is beautiful.

All of my children are awesome blessings and I would not know what to do without them. They all act as a family unit just as I did when I lived home with my brothers. I want everyone to know that this is the family I take great pride in and there is no difference in how they came to us. They are ours and I love them all the same.

In 2007, we put in a letter of intent to adopt three other children, two of which we have had the chance to bond with in foster care.

I am a firm believer all children are a gift from God--it does not matter how they are delivered. I know there is a difference to be made I live it every day. And only wish I had the means to take more.

Much luck to all of you who are considering adoption or foster care and all of you who continue to open your hearts for these little miracles.

It was time to adopt

Laurie S., an adoptive parent in Jackson, Tennessee

Laurie S. and family

After fostering 32 children in a 5-year period, saying good-bye became too heart wrenching, so I decided it was time to adopt.  After several months of applying for children I received an e-mail from the State of Texas about a sibling group of five children I had inquired about. The children, who were between the ages of 4 and 11, had experienced much loss and grief including multiple placements and a failed adoption.

With the experiences my birth children and I had accepting and loving all of our foster children, I felt we could commit to the children and expand our family forever. Within a few weeks we were chosen as the "forever family." Just shy of three months later we were able to go to Texas to bring them home.

I had sent a photo album with snapshots of each of my four birth children and myself to familiarize the children with their new family and home. Due to a flight delay, we were several hours late to meet the children. They were all sleeping except for my eldest daughter. When I went in to the bedroom to see my sleeping babies, ages 4, 5 and 7, I was overcome with emotion upon seeing how tiny and vulnerable they were. My 4 year old son popped his eyes open, gasped and jumped out of his bed throwing his arms around me. He knew.

Giving birth to four wonderful children was an amazing gift from God. Holding my chosen children in my arms for the first time was an equally spiritual moment.

My children have been with me for nearly four years and are now between the ages of 8 and 15. Our journey together has been full of much work and abundant love and joy. It took time for the children to honestly believe they were not going to unexpectedly have to leave some day. They have grown and blossomed in so many ways, it is inspirational.  They have all said when they grow up they would like to adopt children as well. They also would like for our family to adopt again so they may share what is now theirs to share, a stable, loving "forever family."

Special Bonds, Cherished Memories

Special Bonds, Cherished Memories

April V . from Splendora, TX

Adopted boysAfter realizing that we would not be able to have children of our own, my husband and I made the decision to adopt. After taking PRIDE classes, we realized there were a lot of children in foster care who we could help as well. We fostered several children who eventually went back home or to live with relatives and in the mean time, we realized that we were able to love a child that was not our biological child. We developed special bonds with each child we fostered and in many cases we developed special bonds with their biological parents as well. We still keep in close contact with some of the children we fostered.

We received a call one evening, after taking a break from fostering for a couple of months, about a 15-month-old little boy who had been in foster care and would be going up for adoption soon. We said that we wanted to meet him immediately. After a few visits and outings with him, he came to live with us.

We felt so blessed and happy to be getting a beautiful baby boy that would be our "forever" child. He was a bouncing blue-eyed baby boy and we quickly fell in love with him. He made our family complete. We decided that this would be it for us and that we would no longer take any children.

Adoptive familyTwo months, almost to the date, we get another call from DFPS, explaining that our son's biological mother had given birth to another baby boy who would also be up for adoption. DFPS's goal is for siblings to be together, so they encouraged my husband and me to adopt the newborn as well.

The rest is history... It has been almost four years ago that our first son came to live with us and our baby boy was born. Now 4 and 5 years old, my boys are no longer infants, they are handsome boys who love to play T-ball and football. My husband and I adopted our kids on August 29, 2005 and this is a day that I, nor my husband, will ever forget and a day that I hope my kids will one day cherish.

For anyone who may be reading this and struggling with the decision to adopt from the state, please take a look at my family and know that all children, biological or adopted, have special needs, some less or more than other--don't let this fact keep you from opening your mind and heart to a child or sibling group with special needs.

The Greatest Joy

The Greatest Joy

Kyle and Michelle E. from Southaven, MS

AlexisTruly, adopting Alexis has been the greatest joy that we could have ever experienced. She is truly a blessing. Each day is so enjoyable, and she gives us such love in return. We are genuinely blessed, and want to thank you and the State of Texas for allowing us to be a family.

Love and Hope in this World for a Little Girl

Samatha H. from DelRay Beach, Florida

Hello, my name is Samantha. I was a foster child in the state of Texas from 1989-1997. Before that I was in and out of foster care for about three years in a couple of different states. I was in the system for about ten years, maybe a little more till I was adopted at the age of sixteen.

I was forunate to have been adopted at all considering my age and I also had siblings. I was adopted with one of them, my brother.

I came from a very unstable and abusive home as a child. I was lost and scared and I felt my brother and I were alone in the world. We were in and out of so many homes untill we were placed with a foster family in Corpus Christi, Texas. I was eight years old and my brother was five. That foster home changed my life. They taught me that there was still love and hope in this world for a little girl that had been abandoned by everyone else in her life.

There was difficulty in our adjustment considering everything we had been through, but this family was patient with us. We had so much pain and anger in us, but we slowly learned and believe that these wonderful people were not going to abandon us.

I have so much I would love to share with you. We ended up getting adopted by a wonderful family when I was sixteen and my brother was thirteen. That was ten years ago. I am now twenty six years old.

Easter Blessings

Mike and Donna S. from Bandera, Texas

Cheyane and Josephine

Our story, like many others, began when we knew we couldn't have children of our own. Having been through the foster care system myself, I felt compelled to adopt through the state foster care network. Mike agreed. With so many children waiting for homes, it seemed the logical choice for us. How great it would be to bless a child and to have our prayers answered at the same time. How little did we know that it would be us who were to be blessed...Many times over!

We had an exceptional development worker. She worked as hard to create our family as we did. Our PRIDE classes were over before they began it seemed. So much information is concentrated into just a few short weeks. (Admittedly it does not feel 'short' at the time!) With all the classes attended, and the information turned in, all we could do was wait. I got into a habit of calling her every Friday afternoon just to say hi. It was the best habit I could have made! I got to know a REAL person who quickly became a trusted friend. She was, in our opinion, one of the best worker's Texas ever had!

Then just after Easter 2005 'The Call' came! She had received an email from a worker in another town, looking for an immediate placement for a newborn baby girl. Were we interested? OF COURSE! Was all I could say. I tried to reach Mike, but he was away from his phone. I never gave it a second thought and our new baby girl was placed with us!

The year flew by! All of life's up's and down's came with this new bundle of blessings. And the blessings just multiplied. We were closing in on Cheyenne's adoption date and all was right with the world! Even though we had wanted two children, going 13 months without another call had us believing we were meant to only have one child.

Then suddenly, one day just after Easter 2006 had passed, the phone rings again. It's the caseworker who had first handed me our daughter! Do you remember me? Are you interested in...? Would you consider...? My heart stopped! She no sooner got the words out of her mouth and I told her to hold the line while I conferenced us with Mike! We could scarcely contain our joy!

Mile and Donna S. with children in CourtJosephine was still in NICU. She was only 4 days old and weighted just under 5 pounds. Mike was out on a run, and was making his way in just as fast as he could. She was with us the very next morning! When Cheyenne looked into that bassinet, she cuddled Josephine in her tiny 13 month old hands and said "Awwww!" Every heart melted! Our princesses were sisters from that first moment! And together they have shared everything from court dates to colds!

We find we can't remember our lives before children, and we wouldn't want to! Those weeks spent training and the months spent waiting for court dates to come and go are all but a distant memory.

Josephine's adoption will be finalized the first week of August. It will mark the end of a long and wonderful journey. We have all we could ever want, and more then we ever dared dream. And much of the credit goes to tireless, and rarely thanked workers of CPS foster care.

Our development worker was one in a million. When she retired, she was followed by an equally devoted woman who continues to do her best to ensure that Texas always has qualified homes for the children who so desperately need them. Our children's caseworker's are some of the best! If I were to list all the things these women have done for us and our children I'd need chapters instead of paragraphs! We're blessed and honored to be parents to two beautiful children. But the worker's who, through God's grace, brought us together will forever be the true heroes in this story.

I am a proud parent.

F. Mitchell, adoptive parent in Pearland, Texas

I had the joy of fostering the three Jackson boys in NJ who were at a point of what some would call "no return". Treshawn is now my son and he is doing well in school. He slowly adapted to society and he loves to makes friends. Treshawn came to me at 40 pounds at age 14 but now he is 17 and 130 pounds and is doing exceptionally well emotionally and physically. I am blessed and very pleased to say I took part in nurturing this life back to to where he needed to be. Treshawn has been on Good Morning America and in People Magazine for surviving and overcoming the odds and succeeding in his life. I am a proud parent.

Our dream came true.

Ami and Cacy D., adoptive parents in Crane, Texas

Ami and cacy childrenCacy and I knew that we wanted children even before we were married in 1998. We tried for 7 years various infertility treatments including surgeries and 4 IVF's with no success. We looked into private adoption both domestic and international but decided that it was not for us and we felt very depressed because we thought that we would never become parents. Then a friend of mine that I met though a crafting group online told me that she had adopted her daughter through foster care and put the idea in my head.

For the first time in years I felt hope. We started our PRIDE training in late August 2004 and were licensed foster to adopt parents in mid November 2004. We recieved our first placement, a 10 day old baby girl in February 2005 but she went to a relative just 4 days later and we were heartbroken.

We got a call on the way home from handing her to a relative saying that they had a 3 day old baby girl if we wanted her. We couldn't say YES fast enough.

We recieved our Madilyn 1 hour after our first foster daughter left. It was a rollar coaster day for sure. We were very scared about losing her after we had lost our first foster daughter and were preparing our hearts for her to leave at the next court date. We decided to accept a 6 1/2 month old baby girl Makenzie just 5 weeks after recieving Madilyn in the meanwhile. It was scary because we were first time parents but we took another infant placement so that we would not become an empty home again.

Little did we know that court would decide for Madilyn to remain with us for a while longer. Court dates came and and we kept both girls for a while... then out of pure destiny I guess, our son Kevin age 3 came to us in July 2005. We were unsure of how things would turn out for a long time with the girls but we are so very thankful that in the end we became the proud parents of 3 beautiful children. We were able to adopt Kevin on February 13, 2006 (age 3yrs 10 months), we adopted Makenzie May 2,2006 (age 20 months), and we adopted Madilyn November 27, 2006 (age 21 months). It is kind of parable how it worked out.

The placement we recieved first of the we adopted last and the one we recieved last we adopted first. For a long time we didn't understand why things happened the way that they did in our lives with regards to infertility. We know now.

We were supposed to be our kids parents and we are so very very thankful for our beautiful kids. We are so very thankful to TDFPS and our foster parent supervisor for supporting us and placing all 3 kids with us that we were able to adopt. You are the reason our dream came true. We have become a forever family.

Ami D.

Journey Worth Traveling

Pete and Leslie V., adoptive parents in Traverse, MI

Latina DaughtersWe had a three year old birth son and we wanted to expand our family through adoption. I am a Spanish teacher and we live in Michigan.

Seven years ago we got the call that we had been selected for our 3 daughters who were living in Texas!

The distance added to the challenge but it was worth it all. Our girls have been so wonderful to raise. They bonded quickly and love having a family. We feel like our extended family has changed and grown in ways not possible had it not been for our lively "Latina" daugthers. Seeing them develop into young ladies has made us so appreciative and proud. Adoption is a journey worth traveling.

Blessing Beyond Measure!

Mr. and Mrs. Lambert, adoptive parents in Andrews, Texas

Mr. and Mrs. Lambert, adoptive parents in Andrews, TXOne evening in October 2002, as my husband and I we sat outside talking, I said, "We have the love, the extra room, and Dakota (our 9 year old son) wants a sister or brother we really should adopt!"

To my surprise he agreed. The next day I started to look into different types of adoption. I called CPS for information and they said they would be holding an information meeting the next week. I dragged my skeptical husband to the meeting. As soon as we got in the car after the meeting Jeff said "I know this is the place we are supposed to be, and this is Gods plan for us." We were not able to start training classes until January of 2003. Now it seems like it flew by, but then I thought we would never get it done.

I was sitting in my office on October 7th when our home-study case worker called. I thought she just needing more information until I heard her say I have a child I would like to talk to you about, but I need you and Jeff on the phone at the same time.

I have never moved so fast in my life. We lived about 20 minutes from my office and I got home in five minutes. Jeff was home with our son who was sick that day. We called her and each of us got on a phone as she told us about a 2 year old girl (we hope for a girl but we said we would take either) and then she told us her name...Carolina. A name we had already picked out for a future daughter.

Karen told us to talk about it and call her back and let her know if we wanted to see her file. We hung up wiped our tears and said a prayer together. Then we called her right back and told her yes! The first week of November we meet Carolina for the first time. We already loved her before we had seen her, but it was also love at first sight. On November 22, 2003 Carolina turned 3.

On November 29th we brought her home for good, and on that same day she started calling us "mommy" and "daddy". Her adoption was final in June 2004.

Every step of the way we felt God's hand holding and guiding us. Carolina is an amazing gift from God and she has already touched so many lives. We can't imagine our life without her now! We are so grateful to the staff of the CPS office in Lubbock, Texas. They were loving and helpful every step of the way. We are also eternally grateful to the foster family that loved and cared for our daughter for 18 months. We know they helped to develop who Carolina is today! We feel God is calling us to adopt again and we can't wait to see who he has for us this time!

Adoption is a Blessing Beyond Measure!

Forever Mom and Dad

The Bakers, adoptive parents in Texas

Baker FamilyMy husband and I were certified by the state of Texas to adopt back in April 2003. We were both very excited to begin the adoption process. We decided to search the DFPS website that shows all the kids available for adoption.

We agreed to individually search and select our 3 possible matches. A few days later we shared our selections. We were amazed to discover that we both selected the same child.

Our adoption worker was suprised we had a match so quickly. We were soon put in contact with the child's worker to begin the adoption process. We were both apprehensive and nervous, but fully committed.

Luckily, the child's worker and foster mom were ecstatic to learn about the our inquiry. Both sets of workers worked very hard to keep the process rolling. There were days I was afraid it wasn't going to work, but I knew that everyone was working in the best interest of the child.

We brought home a child that was clinically depressed, suffered PTSD and labeled as emotionally disturbed. We knew it was a challenge, but we were committed to provide her with a forever home that was safe, loving and patient. After a transitional period, Mikaela began to feel safe and confident with her new environment. Her moods stabilized and her self-esteem blossomed. I'm happy to report that Mikaela is doing wonderfully, and loves her forever family.

However, we could not have been succesful without our support group: family, DFPS workers, foster/adoptive parents, therapists and teachers. Together we began to provide a circle of trust and permanency for Mikaela.

The day we consummated the adoption she ran out of the courthouse and yelled, "I'm finally adopted!". As my daughter, Mikaela tells me quite frequently, "Mommy, I've had a bunch of Mom's, but I was ready to have a Forever Mom and Dad." And she was!

God Bless, The Bakers

Couldn't live without Cuddles

Kiera, foster child, age 15, Texas

I'm Kiera, 15, and I went into foster care when I was 6 years old. I was moved from foster home to foster home and stayed in a children's home for about 2 years. I started to hurt myself and was hospitalised because it was severe. No one was on my side, it seemed, not even those who were meant to be there to help.

It all changed when I turned 12. I went to live with Kirsty and John. They took me in when I was angry and full of self hate, and hating everyone around me. They took me in when I fought against them, and destroyed thier property. That night, Kirsty just cuddled me, and for the first time, I cried. It all came tumbling out in my tears. The pain and sadness, frustration, anger. And for the first time, nothing else mattered, just being with my foster mom meant the world to me!!!

The next day, Kirsty got on the phone to my social worker and told her I needed help. My foster mom spoke to my social worker's boss just to move things on a bit. We arranged a team meeting and everyone listened to my foster parents and me! It was cool.

I still live with Kirsty and John and I love them. Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Yes, there are still times when I feel sad and want to hurt myself, but most times I go to Kirtsy, she doesn't even have to say anything. I'm 15 now, nearly 16, and "I couldn't live without cuddles".

When I'm old enough, I'm going to foster... And people like you (you must care if you're taking the time to read this!) should consider fostering.

Thank you for reading,
Kiera xxx

Forever Stronger

Alex and Mary H., adoptive parents in Livingston, Texas

My husband and I decided to become foster parents nearly three years ago. Only months after we completed our training were we contacted about a three year-old little boy who needed a permanent adoptive home. And that's when our story began.

We loved him the moment we saw him and did everything we could to ease the process for him, including driving over an hour each way every other day to visit him for nearly two months.

Our son has autism, however today you might not even know it! Two years ago, though, he couldn't say three words nor could he even look at us.

I know that DFPS was his chance. I'm forever greateful that we found him and that he found us. He's beautiful, funny, and now can't stop talking! I can't imagine our life without him. The opportunities of raising a special needs child are just that...opportunities. And our family is forever stronger for them.

Hope, Joy, Faith, Grace

 Shannon and Jana H. from Clyde, Texas

My husband Shannon and I have been foster parents with CPS for nearly four years. It has been a wonderful experience. We adopted 4 girls. We first adopted Hope. She is 3 now but came to us when she was five weeks old. Then, Joy, now 2 was placed with us when she was 6 months old. When we found out we could adopt Joy, we also found out she had two older sisters that needed a family. We said "No", because, we didn't have the room. We were a little afraid to adopt older children that had gone through bad experiences. However, God had a different plan for us.

One day, my husband asked "How have you been sleeping?" I replied "Terrible". We knew that God was putting this heavy weight in our hearts. My husband, Shannon prayed for a sign, and asked me to call and find out a little more about Joy's sisters.

I called and the first thing they told me was that the oldest girl and my husband, Shannon, had the same birthday! Well, this was our sign! So Joy's sisters, Faith (age 11) and Grace (age 10), came to live with us!

We enclosed the garage to make 2 nice bedrooms for them. Our church helped with a money tree for much of the expenses. Faith and Grace were nearly failing school so I held them back a year to catch up. Last school year they both made the A-B Honor Roll, and they are doing great this year too! Faith and Grace, are beautiful, healthy, adorable girls. Hope and Joy,the babies, as I call them are also healthy, adorable, and beautiful. I couldn't have done any better if I had made them myself!

You know, some children grow in their Mommy's tummies, mine grew in their Mommy's heart. I have a wonderful, supportive, incredible husband, four beautiful, smart, helpful girls, and most importantly... I am following the path the Lord my God, laid out for me before I was even born... of this I have no doubt... and it is the most magnificent feeling! God bless!

She keeps our lives full of unconditional love...

Kris and Dave H., adoptive parents in Norton, Ohio

In January 1997, we decided to adopt our second child. We had several heartbreaks of not being selected for a child. After 16 long months of longing to add to our family, Adopt America Network asked us if we would be interested in a soon-to-be 2 yr. old "special needs" Hispanic child in Texas.

After consulting our pediatrician to discuss our feelings about the child's special needs and the issue of raising two 2-year-olds, we had our paperwork sent to Texas. In May 1998 we received some medical information, birth family history, and 3 beautiful pictures of the child we now prayed would become our daughter. On July 1, 1998 I called Texas and spoke to the caseworker. We discussed the medical information, the milestones achieved and the milestones the child may or may not achieve. I was able to talk to the foster mom , who right away, I knew was a great person and she wanted only the best for "her baby" who she had parented since the age of 1 month.

On July 1998 we made a video tape introducing ourselves to our new daughter, Angel. There was still alot of paperwork to prepare for an interstate adoption but we were sent more pictures and a video of Angel so we could introduce Angel to her new brother, 2 year old Matthew. In August 1998, we visited with our daughter Angel and met her foster mom at the airport in San Antonio. At the end of the long corridor stood our Angel, with her long brown hair, slightly slanted brown eyes, slightly broader face with a tiny nose and small mouth, and an extra chromosome. You see, Angel was born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect and will live with a pacemaker but more importantly she was born with a big, loving heart and a big, beautiful smile. Angel keeps our lives full of unconditional love and happiness. She reminds us to live life to it's fullest today and enjoy what God has sent our way. All children are gifts from God and we need to remember this everyday!

It is amazing what you can do...

Cindy J., an adoptive parent in Houston, Texas

We became foster parents in June 1995. The first child Child Protective Services called us about was a little 2 year old Hispanic boy at a shelter. I went to meet him and he was just a wild child! After three more visits, I brought him home.

Adoptive FamilyIt was a learning experience! Lalo did not speak any English and it was like playing charades for about a month. It amazes me how fast a child can learn English. We got a lot of early intervention for Lalo, such as early childhood development and finally Headstart. I also got help from other foster parents who were a wealth of information.

We also heard that Lalo had a younger brother named Joey who was in another foster home from birth. Child Protective Services tried to place Lalo with a relative but couldn't. Just before the boys were going to became available for adoption, the birth father expressed an interest in them and they were placed with him. Since Lalo was our first foster child and because he had been with us for so long, it was very hard when he left. We received a call in October 1997 informing us that the boys were coming back into care. When we were asked if we were interested in adopting them, the answer was YES! After a lot of work, we finalized our adoption in December 1998.

We still remain in contact with the birth father and his mother because I think its very important for the boys to stay in contact with their birth family. Joey's former foster parents play the role of grandparents. If someone had told me in the beginning all I would have been dealing with regarding Lalo (night terrors, ADHD, developmental delays) I would have said there was no way I could handle it. But when you tackle each problem and educate yourself it is amazing what you can do. I tell everyone I know not to be scared off by the term, "special needs". Lalo is now in kindergarten and doing great. He has just been tested and is considered gifted. Amazing for a little boy who did not speak English until he was three. Joey is in Headstart and loving it and is right on target for his age. Neither of the boys have emotional problems, at this time, though we did have two years of counseling to help with the adjustment. We have been blessed to have these boys and I thank God every day for them.

One thing I had a hard time with is that I am the type of person who wants things done now and I know I drove Sandra (my social worker) crazy. I could just see her listening to her messages and saying, "Not her again"! So be patient and remember they have a heavy case load and are doing the best that they can. Now that the boys are settled and doing so well we are going to start foster care again and are seriously thinking about adding one more child to our family through adoption. I think the hardest part for me has been going from a parent of one to a parent of three and making sure all my children have my attention when they need it. I would like to thank the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for all the help we received with our adoption.

We have truly been blessed...

Rose D, an adoptive parent in Houston

We decided to adopt a child after trying for many years to have a child. We read a article about a successful adoption though the One Church, One Child program in Houston. We inquired and received information and immediately started the process. We wanted a girl within a specific age group in mind but by the end of the training we just wanted a child. The program training truly prepared us for a child.

Several months later, after completing the process we adopted a beautiful 2 year old boy. W never thought we could love anyone that did not come from us, as much as we love him. We have truly been blessed. Our son is a gift from God. We had some stumbling blocks, but nothing that we can not handle. The One Church, One Child family has been very supportive. We thank them every time we see them, because they made our dream come true.

We are looking forwarded to adopting again, a girl this time. We recommend adoption to anyone who has extra love to give to a child. It takes a big heart and lots of prayers. For anyone who is considering adoption, please pray and then open your heart and home to little or big child(ren) who needs a place to call home. Our son believes in telling everyone this is my house, my room, and most importantly he tells everyone this is my DAD, and my MOM.

We jumped at the chance...

Barry and Melissa B., adoptive parents in Abilene, Texas

My husband and I found out after many years that he could not have children. This was not devastating news to us. Adoption was merely the natural next step. We began to look into adoption, but found that we couldn't afford any private agencies-neither within the United States nor overseas. We are a middle class family with a modest income.

We heard about a class being offered to become foster parents and then further heard that many adoptable children are available throughout the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. We signed up and hoped that the Lord would provide the perfect child for us. After completing ALL the classes, paperwork, and time restraints, we were full-fledged potential adoptive parents. Time went on and on and we didn't hear a thing.

After nearly two years, we received a phone call that there was a child for us, if we were interested. We were informed of his serious developmental problems, but decided to proceed. We jumped at the chance and met our "son" on his second birthday. His foster parents invited us to his birthday party and after initial visits and an overnight stay, we brought him home with us to begin the long process of "legal risk" placement.

Our first days together were not without trials. We had never been parents before, but we doted on this child and loved him. The child that doctors told us would never walk and might never talk, with a lot of work and encouragement, became a healthy, normal, "chatty" boy. He is now excelling in Kindergarten and thrives in a Christian environment. We thank God for this little boy and the agency that introduced us into his life. May you all have the joy of adopting a child who truly needs a loving home. God Bless.

It has been a dream come true...

Laura W., an adoptive parent in Pflugerville, Texas

I am a single mother of an adopted 13-year-old daughter. I have always wanted to adopt but wasn't sure how difficult it would be as a single parent. I attended the orientation at the Child Protective Services office in Austin and signed up for the training classes in the fall of 1997. I completed all the required paperwork by Dec. 31, 1997 and my caseworker found my daughter in January 1998. I went to a presentation staffing of my daughter in February 1998 and she moved into my home in March 1998 as an at-risk legal placement. I was dual licensed at this point until her termination hearing. It was very emotional not having her parental rights terminated, but I had agreed that she would live with me until she was 18 so this would be her last placement. The termination hearing was in September 1998 and the adoption consummated in November 1998.

Looking back, the process was smooth and moved quickly. Going through it did not feel that way. I always thought that she may possibly be returned to her birth family even though her situation did not give me any reason this could be possible. My daughter is a very happy child and has really blossomed since she has been adopted.

It has been a dream come true for her because she never thought anyone would want her because of her age. Besides being behind in her school age reading level, she has no other physical or emotional problems. We have a lot in common such as pets, horses, camping, riding bikes and playing basketball. She has definitely increased my activity level over this past year. Neighbors, friends, my family, and coworkers all enjoy her and have been very supportive about the adoption.

We would like to consider adopting a sibling in the future, but want to take the time to develop our relationship first. We are presently attending family counseling that began when she first moved in.

As a single parent, I have reached out for many areas of support. We also attend the COAC Adoption Support Group. I have used respite care and the Post Adoption Services. The company I work for also has a program to help employees with personal life situations. I received counseling from a licensed family therapist throughout the adoption process who was also a single adoptive mother. Since most of my expenses were reimbursed by the State of Texas, I did not submit for any reimbursement to my company. They offer up to $5,000 towards adoption expenses that are not reimbursed elsewhere. In addition, I submitted items that were not reimbursed by the state with my 1998 IRS Income Tax return with the new Adoption Credits allowed. I believe our adoption has been success because of the support we have sought and received. I could not have done this without it.

Scholastic Star

Victor and Rhonda L., an adoptive family in Georgia

It sounds corny, but Brandy filled the void in our family. She came in as the middle child and the changes she has brought about in us cannot be expressed in words. The changes she has made in herself are unbelievable! She went from barely getting by to a scholastic star.

In her words:

"It was very confusing when I was in foster care because I got moved a lot. It was hard for me because most of the time I was stressed and I really didn’t have anyone to depend on. I really needed someone to talk to about how I felt and what I wanted. Whenever I got to know somebody I got moved.

BrandyGoing to school was stressful because I had to learn different things at each school and so much was rushing through my mind that I couldn’t handle it. It was coming down like a heavy rock. Too much pressure was being put on me. Just before I met my parents I stayed with Rosa, my foster mom. She was great and helped me get ready for my new home. I really miss her and her husband, Frank. Rosa was like my best friend. She made me feel like I could talk to her anytime. When I moved, it was really sad because I did not want to leave.

I had two blue bags filled with my stuff when I moved in with my parents. I am very happy, but school was still hard. When I was living in Texas I made all F’s. I was never an "A" student. When I moved to Georgia my mom and dad helped me in everything and now I am an "A" student. I’ve been an Asian Tiger throughout the year!"

Brandy has been selected to go to Washington for "People to People". I want to thank her worker, Nicole, who went above and beyond in her job and we still email her from time to time. We are very proud of what Brandy has achieved and who knows what other achievements are in her future!


Victor and Rhonda L.

We never thought of giving up...

Linda H., an adoptive parent in La Feria, Texas

It all started the day after Christmas. Something was missing. With two professional careers, time off over the summers, lots of holidays, and no children, we decided to adopt.

Wednesday's Child, a weekly look at children up for adoption with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, was impetus start there. We called the local office and asked lots of questions about the process thus, began our adventure. We returned forms the next day, but soon learned we were only at the beginning of a process. Eventually, we leaned about things like requirements for annual first aid and CPR, health and safety inspections, 12 weeks of training, interviews in our home after a walk through with the social worker, securing a lawyer, and more paperwork. Finally, in our own home town two blocks away, we found our Joey.

Would we do it again? Yes, three times over. What got me through this was a journal -- I filled two of them before Joey. Did my husband and I hate the wait? YES! We now, however, have a healthy boy who loves to talk and sing, who is healthy, and a typical little boy. In fact, one thing that really seemed to help our "case" was making a photo album of our home, our interests, child's bedroom waiting, jobs, family, friends; better known now as a hobby called "scrapping" as in scrap book.

By the way, we are currently looking for another child or two, again! So, how bad could it be? We never thought of giving up that is just not our style. We went on with our lives during this process although not a day went by that we didn't think of what the future might hold for us. The best advice is to leave this up to he one who decides all things. He will provide. By the way, if you didn't have faith before this process you certainly will afterwards. Good Luck!

Small Age Difference

Kim and Russell C. from Dallas, Texas

Kim and Russel with their childrenWhen my husband and I started out, we only wanted to adopt one school-age child. But in four years, we ended up adopting six of the 24 foster children in our care and have never looked back. Once we got to know our foster children and saw the need for permanent loving homes for all the kids in the Metroplex, how could we say no? Only one of our eight children (we later had two birth children) was adopted as a baby. All the others were older children (ages 3 to 13 years). Two of our girls were preteens and we were in our 20s.

The small age difference and thoughts of not being able to afford college and life in general made us hesitant to adopt older kids. Now we can't imagine life without them. Our house is loud and hectic, but we love our kids and are always ready to advocate for adoption through CPS/DFPS. Thanks to a caseworker who knew our family intimately, as well as post-adopt services, our family is a series of success stories!

I want that said about me

Tony and Tiffany K. from Redwater, Texas

Photo of Tony and Tiffany K.Our birth son, T.J., was 1 year old when we considered adoption. Family members and friends all wondered why we would adopt a child if you can have your own. Our answer is very simple: While watching a talk show one day about African-American families not adopting African-American children, it seemed to strike us hard. We're Christians and wanted to help a child in need. We took the PRIDE classes, had our home study, and were even allowed to bring our 1 year old to the classes.

One day a year later, our caseworker showed up with a lot of files and pictures and we picked out our child. There he was, with a few internal medical problems and 4 years old. We thought he even looked like us. We did visits, all got to know each other, and suddenly he moved in. Seven months later, the adoption was final. The court hearing in the judge's chambers only lasted 20 minutes.

Our adoptive son is 5 now and he's incredibly smart. We all have so much fun together, taking the kids to ride in their Jeep and on their bikes. Our new son loves church and loves to worship the Lord with us.

When you adopt a child like we did you have the opportunity to give them a clean slate. The same week the adoption became final, his foster mother, the brave woman who cared for him from the time he was a baby to the age of four, died of cancer. Sitting at her funeral, with tears in our eyes, we listened to the all those who spoke about her. "She loved children, took care of so many, and had a big heart," they said.

All I could think to myself was when I die, I want that said about me.

Whispers of Angels

Gayla & Anthony S. from Tyler, Texas

Photo of Gayla and Anthony and their 3 children.My high school boyfriend and I decided we would adopt a child or two after we got married and settled down. This thought was inspired after reading about a celebrity family who had adopted many children. Then after 5 years of marriage and trying to have a child we knew adoption was our only option. We found private adoption agencies would be too costly. I called TDFPS in Tyler and they informed us of the 30 hour PRIDE training required. We felt this was a bit much but we attended every class. We are glad we did! It was a wonderful program that helps couples prepare for the changes ahead and how to be good adoptive and foster parents. We finished the course run by Julie O'Brien in May and were told it would take time to locate a child.

We were getting discouraged when I received a call at work from our case worker. They had an emergency situation with a 2 1/2 year old boy that needed an immediate placement with the possibility of adoption.

I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was so excited and could not wait to share the information with my husband. We did not hesitate for fear he would be placed elsewhere. We still hadn't completed everything and had to rush through a 6 month process in 2 weeks. He is the greatest thing. He has brown curly hair and immediately called me "Mommy" which made my heart melt. We knew he was a gift from God to our family.

His foster parent, Annette Smith, wrote a book and a short story of our first visit was published in her book "The Whispers of Angels". Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, I received a call at work from our caseworker. She said there was a 14 month old girl and her soon to be born sibling eligible for adoption. I couldn't reach my husband, but I immediately said YES, put us on the list! I knew nothing about these kids, but I put my faith in God. My husband was hesitant to expand our family from 2 to 5 in less than 2 years. But with God's help, the determination of our case worker, and our desire to be a real family, we were chosen. I thank God everyday for my family. I have mailed a photo to be added of our happy family.

WOW! Has it been a year already?

Shonna, H., a foster and adoptive parent in Houston

Cameron's PhotoI started out as a foster parent primarily because I love children and have worked with them in some capacity all of my life. Although I had thought about foster care before, it was due to my late fiancé that those thoughts became a reality. I can't say I always loved being a foster parent but I absolutely loved working with the children in foster care. They have their challenging moments to say the least, but I love a challenge. Every time I saw improvement or goals met, I couldn't help but feel overwhelming joy and pride in how incredibly strong these children are to have overcome such obstacles so early in their lives. It truly is inspirational. I admit I am not sure who got more out of the experience, the children or myself.

After fostering the same group of children for nearly three years, I finalized the adoption of my son, Cameron one year ago. WOW! Has it been a year already? This young man has done tremendously well and has had quite a year. He was baptized and had his first communion in April. He is doing wonderfully in home school and has made up the year he was held back before going into foster care. He is an outstanding young man and I am super proud of him.

It is my desire to adopt five more children, three of whom are a sibling group, one is the sibling of my son, and one young man who was with us for only 4 months but became a part of our family. I love these children dearly and I promised them I would never give up on trying to get them home.

I cannot tell you how important adoption is, especially to these children in foster care. Yes, they have some behavior issues but every child does. These children need love, understanding, patience, and discipline. They need parents that love them unconditionally forever.

Something We Always Wanted

Tammy C., an adoptive family in Humble, Texas

My husband and I wanted to adopt for years. We finally went thru all the paper work, training and everything else with CPS. Then we received our first call on December 14, 2004. The happiest day of our life was when we met our three year old little girl De'shauna. She was the best Christmas present that we could have ever asked Santa for. She made us so happy. She is the joy that we have been missing in our life.

Then another call and here comes our second joy of our life from CPS. On February 23, 2005 we met our son De'vonta. He was our New Years baby and we brought the whole family out to receive him into our home. He has made our family complete. This is something we always wanted - a girl and a son.

We thank God for our little girl and son and we thank CPS. They made our family complete and made our dream come true. We want to thank CPS, especially our case worker and our children's case worker. They were so sweet, wonderful and understanding. We will go to court on our little girl this month, in June.

We want to tell CPS from the Charlo family - Thank you so very much!

The best decision my family has ever made...

David and Angela H., adoptive parents in Weir, Mississippi

My husband and I wanted so much to have a child on our own, but have been unable to do so. We turned it all over to the Lord and prayed for guidance in the way we should go. We were lead to Harden House where we were introduced to the staff and eventually to our son.

Our son was 10 years old when we adopted him. Now 12, he has been the joy of our lives. He is an only child and I guess you could say he is a little spoiled. When he came to us, he had a lot of physical and emotional problems. We did'nt’t quite know whether or not we could make it through. Little did we know then, that he had already made up his mind--he was going to make this work. With the Lord’s help, we made it through our ups and our downs successfully.

I can indeed say that this was and is the best decision my family has ever made. I love my family and now I would like to try and find my son a sister or sisters, because for Christmas this year he asked Santa Claus. He prays everyday that the lord allow him to have a sister or sisters. I think he wants to be a big brother!

My Son

Gwen B., adoptive parents in Killeen, Texas

February 6, 2005 was the 14th anniversary of the day we brought our son Michael home. I will never forget the caseworker saying "go to Walmart and buy size large diapers. He weighs 26 pounds." That is all we knew until we read all of the paperwork.

It has been a life of "Survival of the Fittest" and many hours of prayer. Michael has overcome many neurological and behavioral hardships. We still attend weekly therapy to reinforce our skills and his coping skills.

Michael is now mainstremed in a 2,000+ High School and runs track for the school district's Special Olympics team.

Five years after adopting Michael we found out I was pregnant with our first birth child. Michael savors his time with his beautiful ten year old sister. Reagan is a gymnast and plays competitive soccer. Michael is her #1 cheerleader.

Michael is very active in the youth group at our Church, he assists in the Church nursery, and attends a neighboring Church for Awana's each week.

Life can be tough but as I look how far we have come. I am proud to say Michael is "MY" son.

Every day I thank God for my children.

It may be slow... but it is well worth the wait.

Anonymous adoptive parents in Texas

Corien and AntionetteCorien and Antionette are the joy of our lives. We adopted two wonderful "specal needs" girls. It was the best thing we ever did in our life.

I would tell anyone who thinks that adopting a "special needs" child is not for them to think again! They need love just like everyone else. They may not return that love immediately and it may be slow...but it is well worth the wait.

Every day I thank God for them.

Dear Adoption Exchange:

I live in Wyoming and I recently adopted our first child. We fostered our 13 year old son for 10 months and were overjoyed to become first-time parents.

I'd like to let others know that being a parent although trying at times is an AWESOME experience. Especially knowing that we have forever changed this child's life as much as he has changed ours.

The benefits of adopting an older child are enormous both mentally and spiritually. I just wanted to share this with others who may be thinking of fostering or adopting older children.

Terri R. , Adoptive parent in Wyoming

Treasures in my life.

James McSwain, adoptive father in Houston (full name used with permission)

I am a single parent. Originally, I planned to get married, but I also was serious about adopting kids. When I looked into it, I learned that many adoptive parents in Texas were single. So I did it. CPS workers were wonderful. The training I went through was thorough and really helped me parent my kids. All the things the workers told me and prepared me for were accurate and on target. They told me that this would totally change my life and they were right.

Without question, being the father of my two sons has and continues to be the most wonderful experience I have had. It is impossible to express in words the depth of the bond that exists between me and my boys. It has also been a difficult and, at times, a heartbreaking experience. However, I would tell anyone that adoption is worthwhile.

McSwain FamilyMy boys, Phillip and Anthony are birth siblings. I adopted Phillip at age 12 in 1989. He was the oldest of four children in one family. All four were separated due to the nature of their abuse. Anthony was the youngest of the group. He was only 5 when I adopted Phillip. Unfortunately, Anthony's adoption disrupted and he was removed from his adoptive family. Anthony at age 9, had difficulty bonding or interacting with anyone and was placed in a treatment facility.

I followed up on Anthony with his caseworker and we agreed that Anthony still had an attachment for Phillip. In 1994, he was placed with Phillip and me. We hoped that he might trust Phillip long enough to allow him to bond with me. That's history now. The little guy who was unadoptable and emotionally disturbed is now in college, has a sweet girlfriend, and hugs his dad every day and says "I love you Dad". He even says, "Yes Sir", and "No Sir" on occasion.

Caseworkers knew that Phillip needed to be placed with a single adoptive father because he just couldn't compete with anyone for attention. I continued to try to date and consider marriage after I adopted him, but I soon found that he just could not bear to share my attention with anyone. I had a choice to make. I could continue to pursue a personal relationship and lose my son, or I could put personal things aside for a while and do what I was committed to and raise my boy. That was a hard thing to do at the time, but it was the right thing to do. I committed to be his dad and I was not going to abandon him when he needed me most. He grew, graduated from high school, started college, and then got married and gave me my first grandson.

Then an illness came in his early 20's. So - our expectations for Phillip changed. Fortunately, good doctors and family support have allowed him to have a good life and live independently. He will never finish college or do some things others take for granted - but he hugs his dad and says "I love you Dad". He's my son.  And now, I have a wonderful daughter-in-law and beautiful grandson to help raise and to spoil.

And that's the point, the human point. These two boys are able to live and enjoy a life that would not have been possible for them without adoption.

In reality, there have been many hardships and difficult times. But - nothing worthwhile ever does come easy. To be a good adoptive parent, you need to be loving, tough, creative, patient, and just plain hard headed and stubborn. You can't give up on a child- no matter what. It really helps you get prepared for life as an older person too. I am now "embarrassment proof." You just can't do anything to me in public that can embarrass me. It’s all already been done. So - as I get older - that really gives me a lot of freedom to laugh at myself and not take myself so seriously.

In my professional career, I've been very fortunate to have received some wonderful honors and recognition's. I have the plaques and trophies to prove it - but those items are not the things that adorn my desk at work. On my desk are all the misshapen wooden race cars and art projects that have been lovingly crafted by two growing boys for various Father' Day and birthday gifts over the years. Those are the greatest tangible treasures in my life. I look at them and touch them every day. They keep me grounded and close to the things in life that really matter. At the end of my life, I don't really care if anyone even remembers what I did professionally or how good or bad I was at doing it. I just want my two boys to say that they had a good dad and that they knew I loved them. That is success in life.

With that, I can't think of any better argument for adopting older children and kids with difficulties. There will always be excuses for not doing it. You just have to get up and act. It’s wonderful! And to all those critics who like to throw rocks at Texas Department of Family and Protective Services - you just don't know what you are talking about. My experience was great. They helped me, supported me, and trained me. They did everything they could to make our adoption work. They told the truth about what I was getting myself into. I thank God for the people in this agency and for the work they do to help children. So - adopt. What else are you going to do with your life that could be more important than this?

I encourage you to consider older children...

Anonymous Texas adoptive family

We began our search on the "net" and we were so pleased to receive a phone call within two days of our initial inquiry. We then attended an information meeting and then we entered our training program. That was in Feb of 99 .... now we are the very proud adoptive parents of two of the sweetest, best kids you could ever hope to have! Adoption will be official in 6 short months.

They are brother and sister and they are ages 13 and 14. We are so very proud of them and it seems as if they have always been a part of our family. We have two grown children, ages 22 and 29, who are also excited about having a new brother and sister in their lives.

During the time of our "MAPP" classes, we could only try to imagine what it would be like to have two or three children come to be a part of our family. Our caseworkers assured us they had just the perfect "match" for us! They were right!!!! We already loved them before we ever met them on Mother's Day weekend. We like the same things, for example, we all love animals (we have dogs, a cat, and horses) ... and our animals love children .... so we are having a great time!

For all of you out there who are looking for children to adopt, I encourage you to consider older children. Our kids wanted to be adopted and they seem to love having us as their new parents. They say we are "normal" ...that's good to know! They have added so much joy to our lives. I could not even imagine not having them, everything is really such a perfect match! Once again, I encourage you to take a look at all the advantages of adopting older children .... they are out there hoping and praying that you will consider them. We are so happy with our decision ..... good luck to all of you!

A Joy, Struggle, Challenge and a Blessing

John and Cindy R., adoptive parents in Seguin, Texas

It has been a joy, a struggle, a challenge and a blessing all rolled up into one. John and I adopted our five year old son Austin two years ago. There were times when I honestly did not know if we we were ever going to be "a normal family". We did not know if Austin would ever truly fit in and feel like without a doubt he belonged to us.

He was behind in learning and he behind emotionally. Two years down the road, with our commitment to God and our committment to Austin we are as much a family as anyone.

Austin is a straight 'A' student and we are Mom and Dad without a doubt. We owe a lot of our successes to our friends and family. Their love and support has been and still is a God send. Thank you.

Lady Charity

Janice B., an adoptive parent in Dallas, Texas

I was encouraged by friends to get involved and become a foster/adoptive parent. I am so glad that I did. I was a single female but now I have a family. I am a single mom who was blessed to foster and then adopt a baby girl that was only 4 days old when she entered my life. She is now 14 months old. She has brought so much joy to my life and the life of my family and friends. I thank God everyday for putting us together and allowing me the opportunity to be in her life.

She was the first foster child placed with me just after getting licensed on May 28, 2003. She was born on May 2003. I was nervous and excited all at the same time when the placement worker called to see if I could take her in my home. I did not have any children so asking me to take care of this little treasure was going to be an experience. Thank God for my family that supported me through this new experience. My family has been awesome since day one when Lady Charity arrived at my home.

On the day Lady Charity arrived she had many arms that were waiting to meet and greet this little Princess. She has beautiful blues eyes and everywhere we go she draws a smile of some child or adult.

She captured my heart and it has been amazing to see her grow. The one thing I did'nt like was the wait for the adoption to become final, but I thank God that He gave us the peace and grace while we waited and on June 2004 we finalized the adoption.

Lessons that have enriched my life...

Shane and Stephanie R., adoptive parents in Abilene

My husband and I moved to Abilene in 1993. We had been married for over 3 years and had no plans on having any children soon. I wanted to finish school and start teaching. It was at this time that I got a job working for a local day care. There I met three very special children who were placed in a foster home. The moment I laid eyes on them I knew it was love at first sight. They had a way of getting into your heart before you knew it. There hasn't been a person yet that isn't or wasn't touched by these children in some way.

My husband and I began taking the two older kids, Robert and Richard out on weekends and evenings for fun. We had the role of big brother and big sister. During this time of about a year, their sister Brittany was moved to a new home for adoption. I still remember those long faces when the boys told us. It was really hard. They were already separated from a brother that was in his legal risk adoptive home. After about 1 year an adoptive home was found for the two boys. My husband and I spend lots of time debating the adoption of the boys. The timing in our lives just didn't seem right. We didn't know if we could handle two boys. Much less our own child we hadn't had yet.

The boys left town and we didn't even get to say good-bye. My husband and I knew within a week that we had probably made a big mistake. But, it was done now, and we had to live with our decision.

In December of 1996 I ran into the boys former foster-mom. I inquired about the boys and she shared the latest. The family, after a year, had decided they couldn't handle the boys. Therefore, the placement disrupted. One more rejection for the boys.

I immediately went home and told my husband the whole story. We knew now was our chance. We couldn't make the same mistake twice. After putting some phone calls in to Child Protective Services, we found the boys had been separated and would now be adopted separately. Word was that Richard was already with a family, so we concentrated on Robert. Robert had gone to stay with his sister's adoptive family until a placement could be found. They even had considered keeping him as well.

We started our classes in January of 1997. We drove an hour and a half to San Angelo every week because it was the closest class. Abilene didn't have one until the summer. That was too long for us to wait. We weren't even guaranteed that we could adopt Robert, but we weren't taking chances.

After 6 months of paper work and driving caseworkers crazy, Robert moved in on June 10, 1997. I can't tell you want a blessing it has been during the last 2 years. You see, we may have only gotten to adopt Robert, but we still have Richard in our lives. To make it even better, we have gained two more children. Robert's younger brother and sister, Patrick and Brittany. We have all gained from the experience and have been blessed.

I truly believe that God knew we weren't ready at the time. He had a plan, and we had to be patient ...and for that we have all been blessed. We now have an extended family that I never dreamed possible. All of the adoptive families have made our children the focus. We believe that the siblings bond is so important in the healing process. That is why today, we continue to visit. In the beginning we met once a month and on birthday's, but a recent move of Richard and distance has slowed down our visits. However, thanks to e-mail, the kids can drop a line when they want. We have a special Christmas party each year and they exchange gifts. We do week-long visits during the summer and hope to have a family picture made soon. Family is a bond that is important to children. I have learned many lessons and have been enriched in my life through this experience in ways you can only dream about. I have a new special extended family through my son and for that I have been blessed.

May God bless you in your adoption search. I hope that everyone experiences the joys that we have had as an extended family. Remember, we are making memories that last a life time. For my son Robert Anthony I love you! Thanks for being so special and making my life complete.

Fantastic teachers saw the same potential I did!

Cecilia R., an adoptive parent in Texas

I was single at 29 and decided that if I were not attached to someone by the time I was 35, I would adopt. Well the time went by quickly and I began the adoption approval process in August 2000. I was approved in Feb. 2001. Mackenna and Mom

My worker Sharon and I started working and we had alot of misses. In June 2001 I came across a little girl with cerebral palsy on the TARE website and submitted an interest form on her. I'm a therapist so this didn't frighten me. After learning more about her I decided that I could do it.

MackennaI joke with people who ask me about her and say that my little girl arrived on August 31, at 7 PM weighing 37 pounds and was 42 inches tall.

Everyone in my daughters life before believed she was not ever going to walk and that she was mentally retarded. After therapy and lots of help with her school work and with fantastic teachers who saw the same potential I did, she is walking and her therapist thinks that in 2-3 years she'll walk without a walker or crutches. She is making progress in school. She still has difficulty with math but is making steady progress.

She is beautiful and has a sense of humor that is beyond belief. She is now 10 1/2 years old and we are fast approaching the end of our third year. I feel like she has been mine forever. She thinks "her world" will be perfect when she gets a baby sister or brother. God has truly blessed me.

Special needs children have so much to give...

Susan L, an adoptive parent in Jemison, Alabama

Our fourth adoption began as our third, when we received a copy of Hi Families, a publication of Holt International. We had decided from the very first adoption that we would request only special needs children, so the section of the magazine, entitled "Waiting Children," was our favorite place to search for a child. The Feb. 1993 issue included a tiny photo and write up about a 2 yr. old girl with Down Syndrome available in Korea. We called and were told that a family had already been found for that girl, so we went on with our busy life and never expected to hear about her again.

Two months later, the phone rang and it was a worker from Holt. It turned out that the girl's adoption did not pan out. Six weeks later, we went to the Birmingham airport to meet our daughter, Mary Beth. She was our first Downs child so we did not know what to expect of her. We set out on a round of doctors and therapists visits and made sure that her vision, hearing, and general health were fine. Because we live in a rural area, we decided that homeschooling would be best for Mary Beth, and I began to research information about how to teach a child with Downs Syndrome.

At first, she was very distant and lethargic, and made little eye contact. As the weeks passed, she began to bond, at first, only with Mom. We began to learn sign language together, because I learned that even though Downs Syndrome children usually speak, their speech is delayed more than their understanding of language. By age 4 Mary Beth had more than a 100 signs and at 5 she was beginning to speak. Her progress was never compared to that of any other child, we just rejoiced over her every accomplishment. She developed articulate speech and a funny sweet personality.

Over the next 6 years we adopted four more Downs Syndrome children. Later, we learned that Mary Beth also had autism. She achieved a level, which we now know, is remarkable for a child with both conditions. This said to me that there is no power greater, than the power of God's love. Mary Beth is only 6 years old, and will always have great challenges, but she is a precious, special child who has already overcome enormous difficulties. Adoption gave her a chance for a happy childhood and a loving family. We are committed to this child, as we are to all of our children and will be forever grateful to those who believed in her worth as a child of God. Special needs children have so much to give and deserve the opportunity to give and receive love. The success of our adoptions and of our family is due to the grace of God.

Accept them in your world

Steven W., an adoptive parent in Conroe, Texas

Mrs. Waldrep with the twinsUpdate: November 2004
"Hello, this the Waldrep family again. I'm back to express how wonderful the gifts from god and CPS are. It's been well over a year that we adopted the twins and we have a new addition to the family. Our twins 8 year old birth sister!

We found out she was waiting for adoption and we wanted her to be with her sisters and with us. She has adjusted very well. I can't express how much we appreciate what CPS has given us. It's the way to go if you want to adopt a child of any age or race.

Mr. Waldrep with his three girlsI completed my loving family with children who were in foster care. Children in foster care want a loving family. Keep in mind, there aren't perfect children and foster children especially have suffered losses and pain. You just have to guide them, love them, show them that you accept them in your world. Then they will adjust and you will begin to see how wonderful they are and how much they need your love.

I have three wonderful girls that I will never give up. I want to thank the lady from CPS that brought my twins birth sister to them and my third daughter to my wife and I. So if you want to adopt, adopt through CPS! I hope my story helps the next person who wants to adopt!"

Original Story
We were not able to have children of our own and the doctors said there was a risk of trying to have one. I did not want to put my wife through that so we decided to adopt. We talked about it and agreed. We went to the classes and then viewed the children on the Internet. There where alot of them that we wanted to adopt. We submitted our interest to several case workers. We did not give up and then this one wonderful lady called us from Amarillo. She was a case worker there and she said she had twin girls and we immediately told her we would take them. We didn't even ask what their names were until a week later when she called. We didn't get their picture until the second week and then drove down to meet OUR GIRLS.

Of course my wife and I were scared they would not want to bond with us. We took them to Chucky Cheese and within the hour of us playing together they said, "mommy and daddy lets go play". My wife and I cried with joy and now they live with us. In May we will have two twin girls with our last name and our lives will be complete. I want to thank CPS for everything.

If anybody wants to consider adoption, CPS is the way to go. These kids need loving homes. They thirst for love and understanding. There are bumps in the road because the kids have a past and they will test you, but when they know they're not going any where then they start to adjust to your way of living and then you see their smile shine brighter than the sun ever will.

We have never regretted the decisions we made...

Owen and Velma C., adoptive parents in Ferris, TX

My husband and I decided to adopt when the youngest of our three older children turned 16. We decided to become foster parents and already had several children live with us through the years. We have had many ups and downs through the years but we have never regretted the decisions we made at any time. We have fostered 62 children. And we have adopted 10.

We still have 9 at home--our oldest is 16 and our youngest is 3. We lead a very full life. We have a multi-racial home and a special needs daughter. They are all great blessings from God. My oldest daughter (34) also has adopted two sons making her house a grand total of five. We spend great amounts of time together with her family and it is always a party. People think we are some kind of home and are always asking us questions but we always just tell them these are the kids we were supposed to have we just had to go about getting them in a different way!

Savannah, the desire of our hearts.

Kevin and Ruth H., an adoptive family in Kingwood, Texas

My husband and I knew when we were transferred to Texas that we wanted to try to adopt a child. After 15yrs. of marriage, we had not been able to have a child. We contacted CPS and started our PRIDE training.

In March of 2001, our home study was approved. Later we found out that was the same month our daughter was born. In November of 2001 we got a call from our foster/adopt worker. She wanted to know if we would be interested in a "legal risk" 8 mo. old baby girl. We said we would be. The very next day, they brought Savannah to our home and placed her in our arms. That was the day our lives changed forever.

Ater 10 months of loving and caring for her we were finally told we could adopt her. Almost a year and a half after she came in to our lives she was leagally ours. She is almost 3yrs. old now. She is smart and funny and so beautiful. God heard our prayers and gave us the desire of our hearts.

Children are waiting for forever families...

Karen U., an adoptive parent in California

I adopted my son 2 weeks before his 2nd birthday in 1982. Many people from across the country had applied to adopt him, I was the only single applicant. The professionals had tested him and said he would be "moderately-severly retarded" in addition to his cerebral palsy. When I went to meet him, I found a very sparkly, bubbly cognitive boy who I really felt I would enjoy parenting. My background was working with special needs children and I had worked in many institutions where kids with special needs were provided with minimal custodial care. I sensed so much wasted potential in the kids I worked with.

I did adopt my son and though there were/are many challenges, the rewards have been many! He was able to prove everyone wrong, he is far from "retarded". All his school classes have been regular classes and he has been on the honor roll for his entire school experience. My son, now 19, has been a joy. Last week I watched my son drive his power wheelchair across the stage to receive his high school diploma as his fellow students and the crowd cheered for him. He graduated with a 3.9 gpa and plans to attend a local college and then transfer to U.C. Berkeley to major in journalism.

Adoption has made a big difference in my life, one of my only regrets is that due to my age and certain health issues, I can't do it again. There are so many children out there waiting for forever families. So if you are considering adopting, hang in there. At times the process takes a lot out of you and it seems that you can't go on, but press on. The family love and guidance you provide for a child in need will change their life, your life, and make the world a better place for us all.

The Gift My Parents Gave to Me and My Siblings!

Elizabeth Ann "Betsy" M.-T., from Owensboro, KY

I can not comment on the joy of adopting but I can on the joy of being adopted!

I was adopted into a family of 5 adopted children and 1 foster child. My father was a band director and youth minister and my mother was a substitute teacher for a few years in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Our family included 4 ethnicities including Asian, Hispanic/Latino, African-American, and Caucasion. My brother is from the Philipines, my sister is from South Korea, I am from Texas, and the list goes on. We grew up in a family that was filled with love, encouragement, understanding, and just plain old fun! We grew up in a small town where race was not always accepted but our family helped to change that and I am proud of my parents and siblings for playing a vital role in that! I learned through my family to be accepting of things and people who are different, to embrace diversity, to love all people but most importantly to always spread the words of peace, hope, and unjudging love! This is the gift my parents gave to me and my siblings!

Our lives are enriched forever...

Barbara S., an adoptive parent in Garland, Texas

My husband and I tried to conceive for about 4 years and we unsuccessfully received fertility treatments. Our last resort was in-vitro fertilization but we put that on the back burner for a couple of years to relieve stress. Some friends of ours adopted a child. We contacted agencies and found ourselves eliminated due to our ages, at least for an infant. I was 42 and my husband was 49.

Then I met a woman who had been a foster parent and one thing led to another. She gave me some people to contact. I contacted Adoption Resource Consultants and they walked us through the steps of a home study, interviews, and writing our biographies. We told everyone we knew what we wanted and prayed constantly. At times I wondered why adoption was such a lengthy process. We never gave up and two years later on a Monday, we got "the call."

What a whirlwind of activity! We went on a shopping spree and arranged for my substitute teacher, finished the baby's room, and picked up our 12 day old daughter on Friday, five days later. Just one look, that's all it took. We were in love! We have been so very happy with her and the whole experience. She brings us joy each and every day. We feel truly blessed by her being in our lives and blessed by the people who supported us throughout our experience. She is a very busy six year old now and we are enjoying all the joys of summer.

We have all the funny stories that all parents have. My favorite one was following a discussion regarding her adoption with her she said one night in her anger. "You are not my mother and this is not my bed and you can't tell me to go to bed!!!" I was quick witted enough to go to the office and whip out our copy of her birth certificate, which lists me as her mother, as I showed her the document. She said, "Oh. OK," and went to bed. Whew, you've got to stay on your toes! She loves her two older brothers and her entire extended family. She is truly ours and we are truly her mommy and daddy. We don't strive hard to make her feel special. She just is special. We get mad and frustrated, then we make up. Our lives are enriched forever. God is good and he answered our fervent prayers.

There is nothing that we have done as a family that has been so meaningful...

Anonymous Texas family

My husband and I are the proud parents of 4 adopted children. We were young, infertile and adopted the first 3 children through a private adoption agency. All three were adopted at birth. The oldest is in an academy for gifted children. The next child has some problems behaviorally, but is making A's and B's in school and doing well. The next child is 7 and quite an artist. When our children were 8, 5, and 4, we decided to become foster parents for Child Protective Services. There is nothing that we have done as a family that has been so meaningful!

Our kids learned so much about caring, and what a family meant. I say we were foster parents, but just as importantly, the children were foster siblings. We had six children come into our home all under the age of one. When a child is hurting and scared, having the foster siblings was the key to bringing the foster children out of their shell. We had two drug exposed infants and several abused infants, requiring alot of our time and attention. When my husbands arms and my arms grew heavy, there was always a child who would hold a baby and watch cartoons. The children were more interested in that the children would be OK and happy when they went back to relatives or rehabilitated parents.

When our sixth foster child came, the children were very excited. After 6 months, we found out that this baby needed a permanent home through adoption. This child was drug exposed and went through significant drug withdrawal for 6 - 8 weeks. Our family rocked, carried, and loved this child. A year later, he legally became our children's brother. He is a miracle, now a 2 year old who has a great sense of humor, talks constantly, and loves Barney and baseball. He is our little miracle and daily I feel the warmth of him cradled in my arms as he looks up and says, "Mama, I love you." We know there will be more problems, but the truth is that their is no greater love. Adopting or fostering from TDFPS is not always easy, there were nights in emergency rooms, children who were hurting, visits with families hoping that they could be reunited, and social workers that were at my door constantly. I miss fostering so much, but I have this little boy forever now. If you have the guts to do it, foster--there are children that need you desperately. And in return, you will gain so much more!

My Joy and My Heart

Jan M., an adoptive parent in Houston, Texas

Picture of Jan and her daughter LeraWhen I faced turning 40, single after 18 years alone, and after trying to adopt in the US as a single parent, I decided to seek out how to become an adoptive parent. My mother and I were best friends and I have a rich, loving heritage from both sides of my parents.

Faith was always instrumental in the family so I wanted to pass that heritage down. When I recommitted to finding a child, within a week, God led me to a woman who helped fund adoptions, and through her to a woman who started an agency to find homes for children in Russian orphanages.

This April will be 8 years since I went to Russia to bring my beautiful daughter home. She was almost 5 and this June she will turn 13. We are active in the Christ Church United Methodist, and Lera (short for Valerya, the Russian version of Valerie) is my joy and my heart. I'm blessed to have found her, and she's blessed to be safe and fully engaged in being an American. God Bless...

On December 23, 1997, Alexandria was placed in my home at the age of 20 months. We instantly bonded and the challenges of being a parent began i.e. diapers and potty training. I describe her as my Christmas present and she has grown and flourished into a beautiful and talented 7 year old with the maturity of a teenager. I can't remember life without Alexandria and I can't believe that this little baby is now a big sister. Yes, Alexandria wanted a sibling and I wanted another child and we were blessed with a new addition.

In August of 2003, Julianna was placed in our home at 4 1/2 years old; she's described as my birthday present. Julianna and Alexandria instantly hit it off and are inseparable. It's amazing to see these two little girls grow so attached to each other and to see how easily Julianna fit into the family dynamics. When asked how Julianna is adjusting all I can say is "She's just happy." She is full of so much love and affection and is truly happy to have a mommy and a sister. My caseworker is amazed ho well adjusted my daughters are and how smooth each placement has been. I can only attribute that to God, my family and friends, and my church. The saying holds true "It takes a village." I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that I have been blessed with the adoption of my daughters.

I always knew I would adopt children.

Carole S., adoptive parent in Fresno, TX

Alexandria's photoI always knew I would adopt children. People would ask me, "How did you know?" That question doesn't have a simple answer; it's something that can't be explained except for the fact that you know deep in your heart that is what you are supposed to do. There are so many children in need of parents and I figured I could help one...two...

As a single person I believed that a child with one parent is better than a child with no parents and so I prayed about it and then contacted TDFPS and began the process. My family and close friends were and still are very supportive of me and my endeavor. In June of 1997 I completed my MAPP (now known as PRIDE) class and began my journey.

On December 23, 1997, Alexandria was placed in my home at the age of 20 months. We instantly bonded and the challenges of being a parent began i.e. diapers and potty training. I describe her as my Christmas present and she has grown and flourished into a beautiful and talented 7 year old with the maturity of a teenager. I can't remember life without Alexandria and I can't believe that this little baby is now a big sister. Yes, Alexandria wanted a sibling and I wanted another child and we were blessed with a new addition.

Julianna's photoIn August of 2003, Julianna was placed in our home at 4 1/2 years old; she's described as my birthday present. Julianna and Alexandria instantly hit it off and are inseparable. It's amazing to see these two little girls grow so attached to each other and tosee how easily Julianna fit into the family dynamics. When asked how Julianna is adjusting all I can say is "She's just happy." She is full of so much love and affection and is truly happy to have a mommy and a sister. My caseworker is amazed ho well adjusted my daughters are and how smooth each placement has been. I can only attribute that to God, my family and friends, and my church. The saying holds true "It takes a village." I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that I have been blessed with the adoption of my daughters.

I quickly learned to negotiate...

David A, an adoptive parent in Mobile, Alabama

I began the adoption process 15 years ago. I went through several training's and made contacted the state agency. Finally, after almost two years, I saw a picture of a 9 year old little boy who was available for adoption and who needed a family. My social worker checked into this and within several months visits began. I visited him and then he visited me. This child was considered "special needs." After being with him, I mentally committed to adopt him. We had adjustments to make.

As a bachelor, I was rather set in my ways. As a 10 year old, he was rather set in his ways. I quickly learned to negotiate. This was the beginning of a relationship that grew one step a time. Today he is 22 years old, in college, and as fine a young man as one could hope. Within two years after his adoption, I adopted a 6 year old boy, a year later a 5 year old boy, four years later an 8 year old boy, and two years later a 10 year old boy. I currently have a foster child who has been with me for more than two years and I might be able to adopt him if he becomes available. By the way, my five adopted children are doing well, have made tremendous strides emotionally and socially. I am considering adopting again.

Our whole lives changed forever.

Vivian and Pete , adoptive parents in Sequin, Texas

Vivian and Pete, adoptive parentsMy husband and I would have our whole lives changed forever. We had tried to have children for many years, but we eventually gave up on that ideal...but God had other ideals for us. In 1999, I received a phone call from a friend of mine who knew of two children who were in foster care and were needing a forever family. She thought the children would fit us perfect.

To say the least, we adopted those two wonderful children in 2001, and have never looked back! My son is a special needs child, but ever day that he strives forward and accomplishes a new task makes my proud heart swell even more. My daughter is now a beautiful teenager, and doing very well in school. Everyday that I get to spend with my children in my life is truly a God sent blessing.

Both of my children were older, and had a lot of problems, but with strong devotion, love, a lot of attention, and the Lord in our hearts, we helped our children over come their past emotional problems. Now we have two wonderful, healthily, loving children. I pray that more people will get involved and adopt older children, and not be afraid when they hear special, ADHD, bipolar, or any other condition, and give up on these children. They all need good parents to love them, and help them.

We thought our family was complete...

Carlos and Vickie R., adoptive parents in Victoria, Texas

My husband and I always wanted children. It was never a question. After four miscarriages and fostering several children we decided that we needed to adopt.

The first child we adopted was Jonathan, a 7 month old through Christian Homes of Abilene. What a joy he has been. He is now almost 13 years old.

The new familyOur second child was adopted through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and she was 8 months old at placement. Her name is Anna. She is now a happy 10 year old. At the time of Anna's placement I was pregnant and gave birth 6 months later to another healthy girl KD. KD is now a happy 9 year old. We were also foster parents through all of this.

We thought our family was complete and we continued sharing our home with foster children. We thought fostering was a good way for our children to understand the process they themselves had gone through. Six years later we were called to foster Desi, a crack addicted baby. It was love at first sight. The mother gave up rights to the child and she is now our daughter. We had adopted all of our children as infants and thought we would never adopt an older child. When Desi came to us we were fostering an older child named Richard. Richard had been moved many times during his 9 years. He had 3 other siblings and all were separated. Some had already been placed in at risk adoption placements but Richard and his older brother came back into foster care after an adoption disruption. We took in Richard and another family took his brother.

All four children have now been adopted and what a blessing it has been. All four families hired the same lawyer and adopted Richard's siblings the same time we adopted Richard. They were all adopted on the same day and at the same time, just with different families. The judge pronounced them adopted at the same time. We not only added a son to our family but added more extended family. The families of Richard's siblings have all become close and cherish the time we and the children can spend together. Adoption has been a true blessing for our lives. After 14 years we are no longer doing foster care but devoting our time to our children. For our family adoption has been an answered prayer. It may be your answer as well.

We feel so blessed to have these children

Kathy B., foster and adoptive parent in Lubbock, Texas

My husband and I were foster parents for seven years before we decided to adopt two of the childen that came into our home. One of the children came back to our home three times. We feel so blessed to have these children in our lives. We also adopted a special needs child fifteen years ago.We have three birth children.

I really started out like everyone else...

Lynn F., adoptive parent in Pearland, Texas

People always ask why I wanted to be a mother of 5 (especially since I'm single with a full time job). I really started out like everyone else thinking of a two parent family with two children, a dog and and SUV. After many years spent in job training, I was ready to meet Mr. Right. Mrs. Right, however, had married him several years before. I decided to skip a step and consider adoption.

The Lord led me to my first two children on the internet, before I had even started PRIDE classes. Against the odds, I finished the classes and was approved while they were still waiting. Seven months from the first time I saw their photos, Stephanie age 11 and Michael age 10 came home. We had some typical rocky moments in the first 6 months, but all of us were committed and with the help of our social worker from Spaulding for Children we did well.

Photo of Lynn's five children riding horses.The kids had come from a foster family of 5, and they wanted brothers and sisters. A couple years later we decided we had room for one more...but then we found three more. Thanks to the efforts of our Spaulding worker and a super CPS worker, Damon Treadway in Lubbock, Laura (5), Ian (4) and Sean (3) were placed in mid-2003.

We don't have much quiet time at our farm, with 6 people riding horses, doing farm chores and raising various pets. But we have lots of fun and I would do it all over again in a minute. Friends and acquaintances are always commenting on how wonderful my children are. I can't take all the credit, but I can recommend older child adoption without reservation! Oh, and I never did get that SUV, but we may have to if any more children join the family...

I couldn't see our lives any other way

Niki B., adoptive parent in Troy, Texas

My story starts when I was three months old. I was adopted from a children’s home and grew up with a wonderful family. When I turned 20, I married and became pregnant in the first year. Three years after having our first son, our second was born, but the pregnancy had complications and as a result I could no longer have children. At the time, our newborn and his special needs was our top priority.

A few years went by and we decided adoption was an option. We couldn't afford private adoption so we looked at other options including Child Protective Services, and soon after, we took PRIDE classes. Six months after we graduated, I received a call from my caseworker - two half sisters aged 5 months and 17 months became available. The older girl had some special needs - we couldn't take her anywhere with a lot of people or noise - and it was quite an adjustment because one of my sons was into several different sports and played in the band. I’m happy to say we adopted both girls and over the years, our daughter has overcome a lot of problems with help from special schools and doctors.

Although we went into this with the intention of just adopting, we have taken on more responsibility. Two and a half years later, we have now also fostered 13 children. I couldn't see our lives any other way. God had a purpose for me 37 years ago when I was at the children’s home waiting to be adopted. We will continue to foster children as long as God blesses us with them.

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