November 2016, when two-day-old Baby Girl arrived, Adam and Katie became first-time foster parents and first-time parents. They describe the day Baby Girl arrived as “exciting chaos”. Eight months later, when asked how we could pray for them and other foster parents, Adam and Katie quickly responded with one word – Peace! (Excerpt from August 2017 Newsletter)
Peace. When Adam and Katie shared their story in 2017, they didn’t know just how much they would need your prayers for peace. This month, after 1,371 days in foster care – their care – Adam and Katie adopted Baby Girl, better known as Harvest Lynn. They also adopted her little brother, Wynn Robert!
“The last four years have been like a roller coaster!” Adam shares. Change was a hallmark of their experience. Changes in the biological parents’ treatment plan. Changes in court personnel and case workers. Changes in visitation, including extended visits with out-of-state family in person and via video call (this was pre-COVID!) According to Katie, “Through all the changes, we had to learn to trust the process, trust that the case worker really had Harvest’s best interest at heart.”
One of the biggest changes occurred in early 2018 when Adam and Katie were asked if they would also foster Harvest’s soon-to-be-born brother. “It was heartbreaking to know that this was happening to another child. At this point we knew more about the birth family, their challenges and what this baby had been exposed to.” Katie says, “We’d never considered a second child, but this was Harvest’s sibling and the only possible answer for us was yes!”
When Wynn arrived, Adam and Katie questioned how they were going to manage. “Wynn upped the ante!” says Adam. Wynn’s prenatal experience made attachment more challenging. There were more visits. Moving Harvest (and now Wynn) to live with extended family was being considered by the county workers. Adam and Katie were determined that the siblings would stay together.
It didn’t take 1,371 days for Adam and Katie to fall in love with the two children. They describe Harvest as all “sass and smarts”, a cuddler. Katie fondly describes how Harvest will lie in her bed and say, “I just need a hug from you.” Even as a toddler, Harvest was a protective big sister, nurturing little Wynn when he was struggling emotionally or physically. Adam, who struggled to bond with Wynn at first, now describes him as gentle-hearted, tender and kind, always moving! Katie adds, “He is a piece of my heart. I’m really enjoying being a boy mom…being his mom!”
As first-time foster parents, Adam and Katie had front row seats to an extremely complex child welfare case. A pastor friend described it as “a long series of pitfalls that seemed like mistakes but are all part of God’s design”. Both Adam and Katie will tell you God’s design is easier to see now. Katie shares, “God was always there, but we couldn’t always see Him. Sometimes we lost our faith. Subconsciously, when we said yes to fostering, I think we knew it would be hard. We needed faith-based training to get us through. I’m not sure we would have stuck out the long process without that.”
Two other things got them through. Their love for each other and their love for Harvest and Wynn.
Adam and Katie had been married 11 years when they started fostering. They have very different parenting styles- Katie is strict and Adam is lenient. When they disagreed, they would focus on the end goal. When parenting was hard, they would say, “Tomorrow is going to be better. We will do better tomorrow. We will figure this out.”
Fostering was hard, but Adam and Katie determined they were not giving up. “We had seen what the children’s alternative could be, and our hard days would never be as hard as that. We were determined to love and protect Harvest and Wynn. That’s what you do for your kids!”
One last note on God’s design!
Before the 1,371 days began, Adam and Katie heard at church about the need for foster and adoptive parents. After completing Project 1.27’s training, the couple became part of the foster and adopt care group at their church, eventually becoming part of the leadership group. Wynn and Harvest have been loved and cared for by a trauma-informed children’s ministry team. God’s design was evident when due to COVID restrictions, the family’s adoption finalization was held virtually in their church. The family describe the “full circle” as God’s plan to show them His promise of permanency for them and their children. “Being able to finalize our adoption at church just completed our journey and reaffirmed our faith that God loves us.”
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