A Day To Remember
by Greg Linscott
One of the most radical life changes our family has experienced began in in 2011, when Jennifer and I became certified foster parents with the state of Minnesota. Jennifer had wanted to adopt children since she was a child herself, and I was certainly not opposed to the idea. Leading up to this moment, Jennifer and I had been discussing the idea of adoption, and even looked into the agency route. We found the costs to be rather intimidating, though, and while we didn’t rule it out, we were somewhat skeptical that we would be able to fund an agency adoption without disrupting our family’s financial stability.
Then one day, Jennifer and I noticed a flyer on our refrigerator, promoting an event held by our local social services agency to recruit potential foster parents. When we asked our three girls about it, they readily confessed and almost demanded that we attend, though neither Jennifer or I had mentioned our interest in adoption to them. We couldn’t help but smile at their enthusiasm, and before too long we were signed up to take the required training needed to secure foster parent certification.
Our expressed intent from the beginning was to pursue foster-to-adopt. Our first placement took place in October, when we took a little girl directly home from the hospital. We loved little Z, and were certain that she would always be our little girl. Two weeks later, however, the agency informed us that the birth parents had gotten things together enough to regain custody of their daughter. We remembered that “reunification is always the goal” of the foster system, but somehow that didn’t make the tears and sense of loss any more tolerable.
A couple of weeks later, we were asked to do respite care for a couple of severely autistic children (respite care is essentially giving the regular foster parents a weekend off). The children had left their blankets with their foster parents, though, so one of their neighbors, also foster parents (we had taken training sessions together) agreed to deliver them to us. They brought their foster children with them to deliver the blankets, and that ended up being the first time we would meet Emma and Caleb.
They left an unmistakable impression the first time we met them. The autistic children we were watching were very calm, and were pretty much content to sit by themselves with a single toy, singing quietly to themselves. When Emma and Caleb came over, it was like a tornado had been unleashed in our home! One of the first things they did was find our game closet, and literally began taking the contents and slinging them over their shoulders onto the floor behind them. As disruptive as they seemed at first, though, they also had an enthusiasm that was infectious. It also made us smile that they immediately started calling us “Mom” and “Dad.”
Shortly after that, the agency asked us if we could consider taking them in, as well as their yet-unborn brother, due in December. Initially, we were hesitant, because we had originally thought that we could handle one, maybe two- but three? Again, the Lord used our girls. When they found out that we had been asked about Emma and Caleb, they immediately begged us to take them.
So, in November of 2011, Emma and Caleb began their time in our home with a foster care placement. They fit in quickly, as did their brother, Hayden. From that point on, there was never any question in my mind… these were my kids!
Still, like many things, you had to wait for paperwork. The filing process moved along slowly, but in October of 2012, we received noticed of our court date to finalize the procedure. Being the sentimental guy that I am, I compared it to getting the title in the mail after we’d already driven the car off the lot several months before… but it was truly a day I will never forget, when they finally took my name as their own.
I won’t pretend that it has always been “they all lived happily ever after.” There have been moments where we all have had to adjust. Tempers sometimes flare. Patience wears thin. Then again, those things were true with our own offspring (and still are!). Having 7 children has its moments (especially for Jennifer, who home educates the lot pretty much single-handedly). However, if you asked any one of us, we are convinced that God knew exactly what he was doing when he placed us all together, and we are profoundly grateful that he did so.
Happy Adoption Day to my beloved daughter Emma and son Caleb. I am so thankful to be called your father!