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“I never thought adoption would be possible”

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Deb and Bell Lowe
In this guest post, a a mother in Virginia talks about adopting a teen as a single parent.

I’ve had several friends adopt from foster care over the years, and they often encouraged me to consider it. One, who adopted seven kids, messaged me one day in 2013 and said “I’m done, it’s your turn.”

I pretty much laughed off this idea. Because even though I wanted kids, I didn’t think it would be possible. At the time, I was a single woman with a full-time job and no biological children. I didn’t think an agency would accept me.

A few months later, I saw another friend of mine doing great as a single dad. Seeing this inspired me to look into foster care. And as I did, becoming a mother started to seem like a possibility.

I signed up for training and started my home study. I told my worker that I’d like to adopt a teen, because I knew the need was great. And at my age, I really didn’t want to be up all night with a baby!

One day, my worker emailed me a profile for a beautiful young lady who was 16, saying she thought I would be a good fit for her. I opened that attachment, and with one look at what I now call my “sonogram,” I fell in love with this child.

From that first moment, I felt committed to her.

Deb and Bella Lowe at Hershey Park
“At the end of every day, even the very worst day, it’s always, ‘I love you.’ “

We had two months of visits, and during that time, she became committed to me too.

Bella is now my daughter. We finalized her adoption in 2015, two months before her eighteenth birthday.

The last four years have been full of growth and learning for both of us. I’ve worked to give Bella the childhood she was denied for so many years and the skills she’ll need to lead an independent life. It’s been a balancing act.

Bella’s been a typical teen—now young adult—who wants to do everything on her own and also wants support from Mom at the same time. We both admit that we drive each other nuts at times! But at the end of every day, even the very worst day, it’s always, “I love you.”

Today, Bella is 21 years old and living on her own. We talk on the phone every day and see each other about once a week. Shopping and lunch is our favorite way to spend an afternoon.

After Bella moved out, my nest was not empty for long. I’m fostering a child who is in elementary school. I joke that I seem to do things backward in life! Get divorced, then have a teen, then a young child!

I am also trying to inspire other people to adopt, in the same way my friends inspired me several years ago. When I talk with people, I tell them that yes, adoption can be hard. But if this is what you really want, don’t give up. There will be ups and downs, there will be pain, there will be “I hate you.” But you will be helping a child grow and making sure that they have at least one person who will always be by their side. And what could be better than that?

Read more about why teens need families—and how that family could be yours—on our website.