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“More family than we expected”

Ross family
Terri and Paul Ross, with the daughters they adopted and the grandmother who became part of the Ross family.

In many ways, the Ross family’s adoption story is very familiar.

Terri and Paul Ross came to adoption after struggling with what Terri describes as “eight heartbreaking years” of infertility.

They got licensed to adopt and worked with their social worker to find children who would be a good match. It didn’t take them long to realize what they were really hoping for in building their family—to give a sibling pair a good home.

They made inquiries and sometimes got their hopes up, only to find out that another family was selected. In one case, it was a family who lived just down the street! But eventually—actually only four months later—their long deferred dream of family started to come true. An inquiry resulted in a first meeting. And then a second meeting. Followed by overnight visits. And finally, a shared commitment to become a family.

Many adoption stories end—and begin—there. But Terri and Paul’s story is different than most. Because with the two little girls they adopted came a loving grandmother—and an extended family.

This is Terri’s story:

In May 2015, we inquired about two beautiful little girls. They had been removed from their home five months before, and neither of their biological parents were making any of the progress necessary for the girls to be returned to them.

Their grandmother, who had custody, asked that the girls be placed into a pre-adoptive home so that the they would not only have her, they would have a mom and a dad as well.

We found out that we were being considered as a pre-adoptive family for the girls on our 10th wedding anniversary! The girls came over with their caseworker and their grandmother a week later.

Our first meeting was very surreal. The younger girl was running all over our house. Her older sister was more subdued.

We started to get to know their grandmother. Right away, we could see that she was an amazing woman who was more than capable of caring for the girls. But she was making the difficult decision to share them with another family.

Luckily, she chose ours.

After several respite visits, the girls moved into our house in September. It would be two more years before a judge let us pound the gavel and make the adoptions official. But the day they moved into our home was the day the girls became part of our family.

And we became part of their extended family.

We spent that first Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, and now it is a tradition. Their grandmother thinks of me as a daughter, and I feel the same closeness with her. She doesn’t treat us as people who are raising her grandchildren. She treats us like her own family.

Grandma is an integral part of our days and weeks. She helps with the girls in routine and significant ways—from picking them up at daycare to having them over for sleepovers.

After struggling to have birth children for so many years, we almost gave up on family all together. I’m so glad that we didn’t. Adopting from foster care gave us much more than we had hoped for—and was so much easier and less painful than our struggle with infertility.