Adopting during the stay-at-home order
April 23, 2020
I have been through some painful experiences. However, it is within that pain that I’ve grown the most and found the most beautiful gifts within.
In 2010, my husband and I lost our son during pregnancy. It was a rough time in our relationship and the loss of our child threatened to splinter the last remaining fragments of what we had. Somehow we worked through it, but amidst this trauma something deeper had built within me. With the loss of my son, I very much wanted to honor him by being a foster mom to vulnerable and hurting children. In 2016, we became licensed foster parents, and three days after being licensed our first little one came to us.
Many children have come and left our home and our lives in the past four years. The losses pulled us apart at times and other times rekindled a deeper sense of love between us. In 2018, we received a call for a 10-month-old boy needing to be moved from his current foster home just two days after our last little one had left us.
I was no newbie to this world of fostering and I was determined to support reunification with all that I had. This boy was going home if I had anything to say about it because I knew the beauty of reunification was something I wanted to be a part of despite the pain of loss. Unfortunately, reunification was not possible and termination of parental rights occurred. After nine months of the appeals process, we began the paperwork to adopt in January of 2020. Our hope was to adopt in May, but then COVID-19 hit the U.S and we were told it would be much later in the year. With heavy hearts, we accepted a pushed back date, reminding ourselves that others were experiencing far worse than us.
Then, on April 3rd our adoption worker emailed the team and told us the county had decided to begin conducting adoptions by conference call or phone. We were one of eight families chosen to be the first to use this process in our county. The adoptions would begin at 9 am and end at 1 pm on April 22. Our slot was the last one at 12:30 pm. Clearly, there were mixed emotions with this plan: shock, elation, disappointment, etc. In the end, I felt myself reverting to despair over things that simply don’t matter in the big scheme of the new coronavirus reality.
Did we really need all our family and friends physically there or could they appear by ZOOM? Did we really need a big party to celebrate? We were reminded of the gift of being able to provide permanency for our son. My best friend told me, “it's like being pregnant and your birth plan is to naturally birth your child, but then you find out you have to have a C-section. The end result is still bringing life into the world and becoming a mom. The process is just different.”
We feel extremely fortunate to have been given this opportunity to close this chapter in our son’s life and to move onto the next chapter. We hope to support other families who may be experiencing this new way of adopting as our society continues to change.
There is beauty and loss that are interwoven within adoption through foster care. I came to know the biological parents very well during our son’s case and will always love them because we have a common love for one boy.
To the two foster families who raised our son before he came to us: We are beyond grateful to you. It is because of you that our son is so loving.
To our amazing team of Caseworkers, GAL, and parenting time workers: You brought us our son, you kept him safe, you fought for him and walked alongside us in getting him much-needed services, specialist appointments and approvals. Thank you for saving his life.
To our agency, Hope and Home: Thank you for four years of support, meals, love and patience. Thank you for helping us celebrate this momentous event in our lives via a live shout out! We are thankful to have the absolute best home supervisor in the world who has continued to support us through each case.
To Our Son: We promise to honor the roots you come from. We promise to honor your biological parents’ dreams for you. We promise to work hard to meet your special needs and help you reach your full potential. We promise that for every mistake we make in parenting you, you will never question our love for you.
Welcome home son!
(The Munibs are licensed with Hope and Home. Guinevere Munib runs the non-profit organization Meghan's Wish. Photo used with the Munib family's permission.)