After 2,629 days in foster care... another exciting adoption story took place yesterday. One of our teens was adopted by one of our Seven Homes Staff!
I remember the first time I saw these three together... Katelyn Hall, our Community Relations Director, was a volunteer turned foster parent at the time. She came the week before our Easter party to help stuff eggs with her husband Zach and their newest addition. A teenager named Ronnie who had moved in with them that week. I remember Ronnie’s excitement over seeing how many packages of candy could fit into his pockets instead of the eggs. I recall Zach’s sweet attempts to remain upbeat and talk to our Seven Homes staff about the fun things they had all been doing together since he arrived, even though Zach’s voice had a nervous uncertainty and his eyes serious as he was taking in this new way of life. I watched Katelyn walk that fine line between boundaries and keeping things light, not too serious as she cautiously asked how many packages of candy now were in Ronnie’s pocket. As I watched their new, awkward interactions and noticed the nervousness of the new little family they were embarking on I remember praying for smooth sailing. Two twenty somethings taking on a teenager as their first parenting endeavor. Surely this was bound to be an adventure with many interesting twists and turns.
If you would have told me a year later I would be writing a post about their adoption I would have been stunned. It worked? They clicked? They’re going to be a forever family? With children from hard places this can be a difficult path to adoption, especially so swiftly. However, I write this with the utmost confidence in my heart that they all landed exactly where God wanted them as a family. I have seen our hard-working volunteer, turned foster parent, turned staff encounter hard times on this foster journey. I have seen them as a couple struggle and work and grow together as they navigated their way to permanency, to family. I have seen Katelyn’s eyes fill with tears of sadness as she fostered, tears of frustration parenting a teen and tears of joy as a new mom. I have heard Zach speak of the challenges of being a dad, but I have also heard his voice beam with pride. I have watched Ronnie slowly learn to trust and connect and thrive and settle in with Zach and Katelyn. What a remarkable journey to see through from the first few days to their adoption celebration. From those early interactions that had us all watching as if we were in a comical reality sitcom or Instant Family sequel to now. What a gift to see our staff living out their professional and personal mission to take care of vulnerable children. It has been a blessing to see God bless the Halls, first through marriage and now through adoption. Somehow this year they have moved from being strangers each figuring out their roles and their places at home together to now officially holding the title of family. Fostering to adopt is a journey that is not for the faint of heart and it has required vulnerability and hard work from all of them. Yet, they made it and now when I see them all together, it is hard to imagine that it was ever any different than it looks right now in this moment. To the incredible Hall family, you each evolved and grew and shaped each other over the year to fit perfectly together in your hearts and home to create one of the most meaningful phrases we here at Seven Homes can say… “You are officially a forever family!”