Written by Jack’s secondary adoptive mother –
We stood together on the side of the highway as he wrenched out his guts and sobbed. He had just said, “Good-bye” to his 1st adoptive family and we were headed to his new home. I wanted to give Jack (age 9; not real name) a hug, but he would not have accept it. We were his 4th placement in 9 months. From orphanage, to adoptive family, to temporary placement (for the safety of the other children in his family), and now our family, he had been on an emotional journey. As we stood there, I knew with all my heart that Jack was right for our family, and we were right for him. We had the support of three social service agencies (primarily, Wasatch’s Second Chance Program) working with our two families. As he and I stood on the side of the highway, I glimpsed back at the car and my other 4 adoptive children (ages 12-18) with our 3 small dogs, and I knew we all still had a very long journey ahead of us.
I have the greatest respect for Jack’s first adoptive parents, who are experienced and knowledgeable adoptive parents, as they had the courage to do what was best for Jack and their other children. We talked on the phone, we emailed, texted, and met several times in person. They are very kind and loving parents. They were very open and honest with me regarding all of Jack’s medical and behavioral issues. To this day, we have stayed in contact. Why did they pick me to be Jack’s new mom? I did not ask. Maybe because I have a doctorate in developmental disabilities and child psychology, work from home, have experience in parenting older adoptive children, have children who are older than Jack, have a daughter from the same orphanage as Jack, or? I am just very appreciative they trusted me to be Jack’s new mother.
If you were to ask Jack why it did not work with his first adoptive family, he would tell you the facts – he had ongoing dangerous aggressions towards a sibling with disabilities, he did not listen, he lied, and more …. Additionally, Jack has several major medical issues. I have questioned how descriptive to be about Jack, but I realize that for others reading this that it is extremely important to understand how important the Second Chance program was for my son.
It has been 1 year since Jack and I stood together on the side of the highway. In the last year, Jack has had no aggressions, is compliant, has not lied, has bonded with each person in our family, and is an incredible son. On my part, it has taken great flexibility, lots and lots of individual time/attention for Jack, and great patience. He and I have also been to over a dozen medical appointments in the last 6 months and had a school IEP developed to assure his educational needs are being met.
I adore Jack and every second with him has been worth our time spent together! I am so blessed to have him as my son. What do Jack’s siblings want you to know? That they love him very much! What does Jack want you to know? That he is a good soccer player, now wears a size 6 shoe (I guess in comparison to wearing a size 2-1/2 one year ago?), has earned a Gold Medal from President Obama (The President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering over 100 hours in 2015), loves family movie night, is very happy, is great at playing his x-box, and really, really likes his family. We are so blessed to have had the support of Cyndi and our secondary adoption program!