Adoption is like working a puzzle. You can’t see the picture in the beginning. It comes together piece by piece.
For me, the picture started forming when I was a child. I told my parents that when I grew up, I wanted to help other children. It came from my grandmother. She didn’t have much, but she was always giving things to people who had even less.
When I married my wife, Victoria, she had one lovely daughter, Virginia. We knew we wanted to have more children and decided to foster.
We were living in Ohio at the time. I was finishing my bachelor’s degree and preparing to join the military, and Victoria was working as a military reservist. We got licensed and were foster parents for about a year before we had to move to California—and start the process all over again! But our caseworkers were wonderful—and we were determined.
Once we were licensed in California, we started looking at the state photolisting. We were open to any possibility. Our motto was essentially that all children need love and a home, and who are we to say that we would only take certain children that fit a certain prerequisite? Who were we to make conditions?
Our only criteria was that we wanted to adopt siblings, because we know how important those relationships are. And our daughter, who was 12 at the time, wanted to be the oldest.
Our openness made the search kind of hard! We looked for quite a while before a group of five boys jumped out at us on the California Kids website. I can’t say exactly what it was—we certainly hadn’t planned on adopting five children! But they just looked like really good kids.
We made an inquiry, and their caseworker got the ball rolling really fast. It probably took a few months, but it felt like before we knew it, the boys were placed with us. That was in March 2018.
Last December, we officially became the proud parents of Isaiah (3), John (4), Elijah (6), Elias (9), and Issac (11).
It’s only been a year since they moved in, but the boys are doing great! It was surprising how quickly they integrated into our family. I credit a lot of their progress to Victoria. She’s worked hard with them on an educational level, pushing to have them assessed in school and to get the attention and support they need. I’m a psychiatric nurse, which helps me understand their mental and emotional health needs.
My wife, daughter, and I are cheering our boys on and helping them have wins—socially and emotionally—every day. Their self-esteem and self-confidence have increased immensely. They’ve grown in ways we can measure and in others that we can only observe.
We’ve also included the boys’ birth family in our life. We had Mom over for Thanksgiving last year, and she stayed with us for a few days around Valentine’s Day this year. The boys talk with her on the phone regularly, and my wife sends her regular text updates. It’s helping the boys now to stay connected and know their mom is safe. And I’m sure it will prevent them from having unanswered questions in the future.
It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, my wife and I had a quiet, routine life. We’d come home from work, eat, sleep. Sometimes I would sit on the couch all by myself. The house would be quiet.
Of course, I do appreciate the quiet times now, but I love it when the house is full! And sometimes at dinner, I look at all of us sitting around the table and say thank you, God!
This is not the picture I had in my head when we started putting this puzzle together. It is much more beautiful.
Read more about the benefits of adopting siblings and the importance of keeping them together on our website.