Today is World Adoption Day, and we'd like to share one incredible adoption story with you. Adoption holds many emotions with it. To some, it's scary and an unfortunate result of tragic events. Becoming a parent is an answered prayer and a dream come true for others. This story holds it all but leads to a few precious boys feeling a true sense of belonging and not only them but one loving couple finding their forever family.
"Restoring Hope is so much more than a job. It truly is a family. Sometimes it can even be the cornerstone of building a family." - Paige Hurd. Every adoption story is different, but most stories often start from a painful place, where a child is separated from its immediate family by an unfortunate death, and in many cases, for the safety and wellbeing of the child or children involved. It's heartbreaking to witness and become enlightened on the travesties some children walk through, and it takes passionately driven and patient people to create positive change. For couples experiencing the pain of infertility, adoption can be a beautiful and fulfilling way to become a parent.
For Paige and Evan Hurd, this is where their story begins. Having been married in 2013, they immediately knew they wanted to start a family. After receiving their infertility diagnosis in February 2016, they found Restoring Hope, and their lives have never been the same. Once they became fully licensed as Host Home Providers, the Hurds felt they had found their life's calling with Restoring Hope. And just as fate works out, only two months after returning from his 10-month deployment, Evan and his wife Paige received a call about a sibling group of boys who needed to be placed separately until behavioral progress could be made. Paige says, "We thought about it for all of 10 minutes before calling our Program Manager back and accepting placement."
Although adoption doesn't typically occur with the population we support, there have been instances, such as in the Hurds story, where it works out. Amber Johnson, Restoring Hope, LLC Placement Coordinator, shares, "When they are in the system for so long, adoption can be way scarier than bouncing houses multiple times. The majority of families we work with would need to be home full-time to care for the individuals they support due to medical appointments and school-related issues. Once they adopt, the income they were receiving to stay home and give 100% is gone." Fortunately for the Hurd family, they could take on other placements at that time to counter that loss financially. Still, unfortunately, most of our homes do not have the space to make that work. Amber shares, "I do think that we provide the next best thing to adoption as we are always trying to gear placements to be with their forever family. It just might not be a name change. I think most of our homes have their hearts in the right place and consider their individuals as a member of the family. It really does take a village!"
Above is the reaction of one of our individuals being told he can remain with his Host Home once he transitions out of the Children's Division. We proactively work with our Host Homes to assist our individuals as they age out of the Children's Division and into the Department of Mental Health Services. We've seen the benefits of creating a smooth process for our individuals, and our agency ensures we do our best for our individuals and our Host families. We love seeing our individuals feel they belong and are loved!
Although it's been just over two years since their official adoption, Paige shares, " ...our lives look a lot different than they did when the boys first came into care. We are meeting developmental milestones, communicating, and even beginning to show preferences and likes/dislikes. Their personalities are shining through their past, and we are learning more about each of them every single day. We have so much hope for their future and are enjoying every moment of their present."
Many other kinds of people adopt - those who find joy in assisting individuals needing more support, empty nesters, child advocates, or even those with a great deal of experience with the Foster Care System. Today, November 9th, we honor and celebrate World Adoption Day and have loved sharing the adoption story of three little boys and their loving adoptive parents, Paige and Evan Hurd, once again. Adoption is a journey that brings with it pain, trauma, hard work, commitment, a new level of love, and keeping your WHY forefront and ever-close to your heart. As an agency, we are immensely blessed to have the opportunity to partner with families such as the Hurds.
"We will forever be grateful to Restoring Hope for giving us the opportunity to build what we have always dreamed about. The family atmosphere and support we have received through this process is completely unmatched. Our story didn't end with adoption. The boys will forever have a team of people standing behind them, cheering them on and wishing them the best! As a mother, that's the best feeling in the world!" Paige couldn't have shared that more beautifully and could not be more spot on. Our placement team works diligently to place individuals with loving homes who they feel will be a great fit and will, in turn, allow our individuals to thrive! Our program managers support individuals' needs and goals and ensure their overall contentedness with their Host Home placement. We celebrate accomplishments, milestones, developmental growth, joy, and a true sense of belonging at every step when achieved. And when it's not, we work harder to get there for our individuals!
Our mission is to support individuals with disabilities by encouraging and assisting them to accomplish health and fitness goals, valued personal goals, and a sense of belonging in their home and community. With the partnership of our Host Home and Relief Home Providers, we work to provide a supportive atmosphere of love, care, acceptance, dignity, and respect towards our individuals. Paige shares, "From the moment we met the boys, we knew that we wanted to be their forever family." It was a slow process in rehabilitating each boy concerning behaviors and social development before placing them together. This work is challenging. Being a parent and caregiver is difficult, but it can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling roles one can hold. As we take the time to honor World Adoption Day, I can't help but reflect on a discussion I recently had with a pending Host Home Provider. She shared that when she was young, she was adopted along with her siblings by two incredible people. They changed her life forever, and she now feels the call to make a difference in a young person's life. I also reflect on what Amber stated previously in this blog: "It takes a village!" That is precisely what we have built at Restoring Hope - a village. It's a team, a family, a tribe - of incredible human beings fighting for positive change in the lives of those we support and partner with. It is our passion to restore hope in the lives of others, one relationship at a time!