More than she expected


Janet Kerin and family

“Having the boys has made me a better person.”

Janet Kerin knows how being separated from brothers and sisters can hurt a person. Her father lost touch with his siblings at an early age, and she saw how it haunted him as an adult.

“For his whole life he wondered what had happened to them. It created an underlying anger that tore him up inside,” Janet said.

When Janet decided to adopt from foster care, it was an opportunity to right a wrong—to ensure that at least one set of children did not spend their lives wondering about their siblings. When Janet registered on the AdoptUSKids website in 2007, in her profile she wrote that she would take a group of up to two children.

The reality of her plan set in when a caseworker called and told Janet she would be a perfect match for three little boys ages 4–14.

“My head was spinning,” Janet said. “I could barely hear what she was saying because I was still trying to comprehend taking in three boys. But at the end of our conversation I asked her to tell me more.”

Janet liked what she heard.

On Christmas Day 2007, Joe, Cody and Brandon arrived at Janet’s house. In November 2008, the boys’ adoption was legalized. Janet says that a shared interest in outdoor activities—and a concentrated dose of family time during winters spent at their ski house—helped bring them together and develop a strong and lasting family bond.

Today, the little boys Janet taught to ski and ride ATVs are on their way to becoming successful young men. Joe, 21, is completing a stint in the Army and heading to college. Cody, 14, is a freshman in high school with plans to pursue a construction management degree in college. Brandon, 11, is successfully navigating the last year of elementary school, while taking drum lessons and playing football.

Joe, Cody and Brandon tell people that being adopted is one of the best things that ever happened to them. Janet agrees.

“Adoption—the process of becoming a family—has been more fulfilling than I ever thought it would be,” Janet said. “People think that by adopting, you are helping the children. But it goes both ways. Having the boys has made me a better person.”

Adoption has been such a great experience for Janet that she is currently in the process of bringing another 11-year-old boy into their family. It will become official on November 22—National Adoption Day.