Hurry Up and … Wait!
Marlon and Jouanna thought they had an adoption plan. In fact, they had been planning to adopt since they began dating in college. “We knew that there are so many kids out in the world who need homes. We always wanted to have kids ourselves,” Marlon says, “but we also wanted to give a couple of kids a good home, too.”
When it came time to start the adoption and foster care certification process, the couple had a clear plan: They began attending classes when their son Pryce was two years old and Jouanna was pregnant with their daughter, Brennan. “We thought we’d adopt when Brennan was one,” Jouanna says.
Then, reality hit and the couple learned that when it comes to adoption you can only plan so much.
Adoption is about finding the right family for a child, rather than finding a child for a family. Most families encounter starts and stops along the journey to adoption day and waiting is a familiar experience. Marlon and Jouanna went through training and waited. Completed their home study and waited. Switched caseworkers and waited. Received a call about triplets and waited.
Three years after starting their adoption journey, the couple was still waiting.
Then one day, in an instant, the waiting stopped. “We got a call from a caseworker at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and she was at the house with Parker and Bella that night at 5,” Jouanna says.
“I was a little afraid of what happens next,” Marlon admits. “It’s a huge change. You get people in your home and you don’t know anything about them. Their caseworker leaves and the kids stay. You have to figure a lot of things out. It’s daunting.”
“You spend years waiting and then all of the sudden you have two more kids. It happens in an instant,” Jouanna says. “You can plan, but I don’t know if you can feel prepared.”
In hindsight, Jouanna and Marlon realize that the wait was worth it, because Parker and Bella found the family that was exactly right for them.
“There isn’t a huge difference in our family dynamic aside from having four kids instead of two,” Marlon says. “There is something distinct, different and great about all of our kids. That’s what we love about them!”