As we approach June 6th, I am reminded of how that day was the day our family really started to change. Christy and I had already made the decision to bring E2 into our family but there were things that had to be done before we could welcome her to her forever home. June 6, 2013 will be the day the Amason family changed forever. Here’s a look back over the past two years.
As we woke up on the morning of June 6, 2013, we never thought about how our life was about to change. It was a Thursday and the kids were finishing school for the year the next day. We were readying ourselves for a family vacation to Washington DC and then up to NYC. It was our last trip as a family of four. We had things to get done for the trip but we also had to get ready to do a lot of work getting our foster care license finished. We had filled out paperwork and had our FBI fingerprinting scheduled but there were classes; lots of classes still to take and we were just beginning that evening.
As the morning progressed, Christy and I went about our day as normal. The only thing out of the ordinary is we had to get our oldest dog, Chester, some shots in order to be licensed. Christy and I both took him to the vet that afternoon and the news we got wasn’t so good. Chester had lost lots of weight over the past few months, which we knew but the doctor wasn’t sure why. As we discussed the shots he needed, he asked us if we could do some blood tests to make sure of kidney function so the shots wouldn’t react negatively. We agreed, because the last thing we wanted, was for him to suffer at all. As the doctor came back in, the news wasn’t good. He said Chester would live a few more weeks, possibly a few months but couldn’t take shots. He said he could send paperwork to the state explaining why he couldn’t have shots but the chances of them allowing us to bring in E2 wasn’t good if his shots weren’t up to date. We discussed the best possible options and it was at that moment, we said goodbye to the greatest dog in the world. Chester was truly a gift from God to us and our kids. He brought us headaches at times but more joy than a pet should ever bring. Saying goodbye was hard but we knew it was a necessary step to doing what God wanted us to do in bringing E2 into our home.
We left the vet’s office and headed straight to our first foster care training class. It took us a few minutes to gain composure but we knew Chester was not suffering and we knew this decision was one we would be facing in the near future anyway. As we got to our first class, we focused. Focused in on what we had to do so we could do what God was asking us to do.
The next day, we went and had our fingerprints done. The lady at the office notified us it would be 6-8 weeks before they came back. This discouraged us because we could finish our classes and do everything but if the fingerprints didn’t come back in time, our girl may be placed somewhere else. This was not an option in our mind. We were going to bring her to our home. We prayed the timing would work and I remember our trainer saying, “God will work out the time. Don’t worry, she will be yours if it’s His will.” Easy to say, hard to believe when you’re relying on the US government to come through!
After a few classes, it was time to take a break and head to DC & NYC for a fun 10 day vacation. We met up with some friends and had an absolute blast in DC with them and our brothers! As a family of 4, we were ready for the changes ahead and thought there was no way better than to end our family of 4 than with a great vacation. And that’s what we did!
As we came back to reality, there were more classes, interviews and things to prepare for inspections of our house. So many inspections and let me say, by becoming a foster home, you have the safest house on the planet. Locks everywhere, medicine locked up at least once, possibly twice, no loaded weapons, more carbon monoxide detectors than you can imagine, smoke alarms everywhere and on and on. We had some wonderful help along the way with this as well. Our faith family came over one night and helped clean, install locks, move things around and on and on. We couldn’t get everything done and they rescued us!
As time went on, we passed the inspections and we only needed our fingerprints. Looking back, I was honestly negative about this happening. Then, out of the blue, Christy said she had received a phone call and we were good to go with the fingerprints and they had come in basically in record time! Yes, God moved in the FBI!! With the prints in, all we needed was a final review and our girl! This process was the worst. Not for any other reason than it was out of our hands. All we could do is wait.
As we neared the end of July, we got nervous something might be wrong. The case workers weren’t responding to our agency and we were in the dark. Then, again out of the blue, Christy received a phone call from E2’s case worker. E2 was in her office and they were explaining to her there was a family who wanted her to come live with them. She was a bit nervous and asked if we could come to the office and meet her. We were a bit shocked and hurried to her.
We sat in the room with the case worker and E2. We talked and she stared. We weren’t sure what she was thinking. She didn’t say much, which is understandable. We told her about E1 & G, her room, the dogs and about us. The case worker asked if there was anything she wanted to ask and E2 asked if she could go with us right then. It was set up that she would come with us over the weekend but she was ready! The case worker made sure with her boss and her current placement. We couldn’t take her from there but we could pick her up later in the day. It was July 31, 2013 and we’ve been a family of 5 since.
Since that day, we’ve had firsts, lots of firsts. We’ve had tears of joy and of sadness. We’ve heard screaming over not wanting to do something and screaming of happiness just because we came home. We’ve had laughs, oh the way all 3 of our kids laugh. We’ve had disagreements and disappointments but we’ve also had agreements and lots of accomplishments for all of us. We’ve been told we are amazing for bringing in this child and ridiculed for “messing” up our perfect family. Neither is true. We are not amazing for bringing her in, we are still amazed God chose us to help raise her. Our family wasn’t perfect before but it’s exactly what we thought it would be now. There are times of ugliness in our house but it’s outweighed by the beauty each person brings in our home. We aren’t to be praised for bringing this little girl in to our home, we are to praise because she has a home that happens to be under our roof. Too many kids just don’t have this and we are proud to have been chosen to help.
Times haven’t been easy for us as parents but for E1 & G, life has been tough but lovely. They welcomed in a new sibling; not by birth but by adoption. They had a say in this journey and have been on board since day one. Times have been tough but through the toughness, they have grown immensely. Major changes to kids later in life is not easy but they have survived and are learning daily how to adapt.
As we have moved through the past 2 years, I am still amazed at how things are today. The little girl we welcomed in has, for the most part, disappeared. Her looks have changed so much and her desires have also changed. She has gone from no hope to having hope. She still has her triggers and as we find out what they are, we do our best to protect her from the world she left behind. She still frustrates us with control issues but we know it’s so much better now that it was a few months ago. She still argues with her mom, leaves stuff out and tries us in every way possible but she also gives us hugs, kisses and only wants to be around us. What more could we ask? The “face” (the one she gives when she is mad or upset with us) still pisses us off but her smile melts our hearts and reminds us, she has come a long way in a short time.
We are asked very often, knowing what you know now, would you make the same decision? The answer is easy. Yes, we would do it exactly like this again. There’s not one thing I would change because with every fight, tear, laugh and first, there has been learning, coping, a chance to hug, growth but mostly, grace and love given and received. You can’t take a few negatives away and still gain what we have gained. Many people also ask about E1 & G and how this has changed their world. Yes, their world has changed. I believe in their minds, it’s been for the better; although at times, I know for a fact how had it has been for each of them. I’ve been proud of them. They haven’t always shown her grace but at times, she hasn’t always deserved it either. They have all three fought like siblings should and we are told often, this is a good sign. But each of them have ultimately shown love to each other when needed. This makes us smile.
The past 2 years have been hard. I’m not going to lie. I tell people often this has been the hardest thing we’ve done in our almost 20 years of marriage. But it’s been rewarding as well. We’ve been blessed over the past 2 years more than we could have imagined. We don’t feel we saved a little girl from a tough life, we believe she was always supposed to be with us. It was just in God’s timing, not ours.
Thanks to everyone who has helped make the past 2 years amazing. You all know who you are. Those who prayed over us, the one who told Christy to go get E2 if she felt it was God’s plan, to our parents for not acting like we were crazy but helping out with so much. We are truly blessed to have 2 sets of wonderful parents to be Grandparents to our children. Thanks to those who have understood we aren’t amazing for bringing her in but how we have been amazed through this process and a special thanks to those who are in the same place we are and understand how hard it is but how beautiful it is at the same time.
I look forward to each June 6th, not because of who we lost that day but because of who we eventually gained because of that day. It’s still hard thinking back to Chester and the joy he brought us but that joy wouldn’t be the same today without our little mess! Thanks to God for allowing us to help raise her and be her earthly parents. We never could have imagined our family being blessed in this manner in such a short period through tears, fights, “the face”, laughter, hugs, kisses and more firsts than we could imagine.
Happy June 6th (a few days early)!
From the Amason family