Two were not enough…
Over the past 1 ½ years we have run a series of blogs profiling our different families who adopted children from foster care. Today we want to introduce you to another family. Bob is a retired California Highway Patrol Officer and Lauri is retired from the business world. They have 4 adult biological children and 6 grandchildren, and now they have 4 adopted children from foster care who range in age from 13 years to 20 months.
What made them decide to adopt? As Bob and Lauri tell the story, “we had 10 years with no kids, we went cross country in our fifth wheel, and when we came back, we looked at each other and said, now what?” Bob knew that Lauri always wanted to adopt, so they decided to be foster parents. They just completed their training when they received a call from the county telling them there were 2 girls, ages 6 and 5 who needed a home. As the county does concurrent planning, they were looking for a temporary home for the two girls, assuming they would be reunified with their mother. Bob and Lauri had one hour to make up their minds. They jumped in, said yes and soon found themselves with 2 little girls, Sabrina and Aliya.
The girls never did reunify with their mother though they did visit with her off and on for 1 ½ years. It’s been7 years since they first arrived and as Bob and Lauri tell the story of those years, they said “We all had to make adjustments.” First, Bob and Lauri learned that it was going to be different raising these two girls from their older children. Sabrina and Aliya had not grown up in a consistent, secure, and safe household from birth like their own children. As a result Bob and Lauri had to adapt their parenting style to work with the girls and teach them in a loving way about structure, rules, and behavior. Lauri told the story that early on it took 45 minutes to give one of the girls a 5 minute time out. Through patience and consistency and “doing the work every day, following the same rules for 7 years” the girls are growing up to be bright and positive young adults.
Over the years Bob and Lauri fostered four more children who were temporarily taken away from their families. Then two years ago, Veronica arrived. She was 3 ½ years old, couldn’t speak, still in diapers, wouldn’t look at them, and appeared autistic. They put Veronica in a special program for autistic children. By the next year, through their hard work, coupled with the special class, Veronica moved to a blended class room. By 4 years old, she started talking. Veronica now reads at a second grade level. Though she is very smart Veronica faces social challenges, as she acts young for her age. As Lauri said, “she has some catching up to do.” Veronica’s parents and school are working closely on this.
Presley is the baby. She came to Bob and Lauri when she was 7 months old. She had been in foster care since she was 2 weeks old. She is Daddy’s little girl, loves to have him feed and read to her. Then she is off running after her older sisters.
Reflecting on Bob and Lauri and their story there are three major takeaways. First is the calmness they both display, the second is their teamwork, and the third is the love and commitment they have for their 4 daughters. By the way, they still have their fifth wheel, but now they go on trips with their 4 girls, creating new family traditions.
To learn more about adopting children from foster care, visit our website Sierraff.org.