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Opinion: Adoption can be tough, but there is help as you grow your family

I met each of my two children when they were just a few days old, and they have had my heart since.

My children are bouncing, bright geniuses, and like any parent, I know they are the cutest children on earth. 

I adopted Jacob in May, and he will be 2 next month. Alex is now 3 and a half and was adopted in September. Both of my children were adopted through the foster care system, and during National Adoption Month, I wanted to highlight how important this sometimes long and complicated process is for children and families, and why our non-profit child welfare agencies are so essential. 

When I began fostering, my end goal wasn’t adoption, but I was certainly open to it because I know that’s the only permanent option for some children. I began working with Orchards Children’s Services a few years ago and started accepting foster care placements. 

Once a child is in your home, you love them. They are part of your family and your community. It feels like they are your forever family before they really even are.

Foster care is a complicated process. With Alex, I went through three long years and some very big emotions, especially when something so impactful and intense — a child’s future — hangs in the balance for multiple parties.

Orchards Children’s Services was there for me every step of the way. I never had a phone call go unanswered or a concern that wasn’t addressed. Throughout my four years as a foster and adoptive parent, Orchards has been professional and knowledgeable at every moment.

Nonprofit, accredited child welfare agencies like mine are essential to our child welfare system in Michigan. These agencies have the expertise needed to navigate a complicated system, and they provide so many resources for children and families in our state. When you adopt a child, you are adopting that child’s entire future and past.

These agencies are equipped to set birth and adoptive families up for success, and they deserve all the resources they need to continue serving children and uniting and reuniting families. 

While there were trying times throughout the adoption process, it was really a no-brainer. There are a lot of nuances in adoption. For my children, their foster care cases were coming to an end but their families still exist. We will spend forever honoring them and understanding how we came to be a family. 

When it’s all said and done, our family isn’t exceptional in any way, and that’s kind of the point. I struggle like any other mom would struggle. The boys do things and participate in activities that young boys do. Adoption is a part of their life, but it does not define them.

It’s true, there was a complex process that’s brought us together. We’re thankful to all the highly trained case workers who got us here and helped make us a family.

April Beaton is an adoptive parent from Hazel Park. November is National Adoption Month.