Last Mom

The joys and challenges of adopting a tween with trauma and attachment issues.

Rachael is a winner of Top 25 Adoption Blogs by Parents

Why did you decide to adopt?

I have always wanted to be a mother. It has been my main goal in life since I was a toddler! I met my Mr. Wonderful and he had never felt an urge to parent. He told me he didn't want babies - ever! I was crazy in love and so young. I told him I was willing to make that sacrifice for him. In all honesty, I was certain he'd change his mind. We got married and years started going by. He didn't change his mind about babies, but started to open up to the idea of older child adoption. He liked the idea of parenting a child who was already here, needing a home, stability and love. I realized I just wanted to be a mother. How I got there didn't matter to me. We decided to pursue adoption in December of 2008 and started the process in May 2009. Our daughter came to us as a straight interstate adoptive placement from the foster care system in May 2010 at age 9. The adoption was finalized six months later. Being her mother is what I was meant to do!

What was the biggest challenge or hurdle you faced in the adoption process?

1. In our area, prospective parents are on their own to find a child to adopt from the foster care system. We spent hours every day searching photolistings, making contact with case worker and sending out our homestudy. There are thousands of children waiting for homes, but workers are so overloaded most inquiries go unanswered. We inquired on over 200 children in 5 months and rarely got any sort of response.
2. The ICPC process was long and stressful! It went smoothly with the sending state, but our state really dropped the ball. The sending state said to expect 4 weeks. It took 12 weeks. It was 6 months from match to getting her home. I was so anxious during that time that I ground a hole in my tooth in my sleep!
3. We do not have therapists or other professionals who get attachment and trauma in our area - not even at agencies focused on foster care or adoption. We are on our own and making it work, but some professional support from people who get it would be nice.

When and how did you (or will you) tell your child they were adopted?

She came to us at age 9 after bouncing around foster care for 5 years and her skin is a different color than ours, so this question isn't really applicable for us. :-) She found out she was moving to another state to be adopted about 2 weeks before we arrived. She met us on Monday and we left with her that Friday. We were allowed no contact before meeting her (other than sending her a photobook and letter that was given to her when she was told of the adoption). We told her from the beginning of the placement that we were committed to her 100%. She had to live with us for 6 months before the adoption could be finalized, but we made it clear that was just paperwork. She was our daughter in our hearts from day 1 and the judge was just a formality. We talk and read a lot about adoption, foster care and different kinds of families. We also talk about her first (biological) family often. We tell her it's okay to have feelings for them and what she's missed out on and still love us.

What's your family's favorite recipe for chicken or tofu?

Last Mom

My family loves it when cook boneless/skinless chicken breasts on the George Forman grill. I season with a little salt and pepper and spray on a bit of olive oil to help the breasts get a golden grill. My husband eats his as is. My daughter and I like ours slathered with Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce - with extra sauce on the side for dipping! I usually serve this with a baked potato and veggie. I make the sides in the microwave while the chicken is grilling. The whole meal takes less than twenty minutes. For even quicker meals, I'm a big fan of the grocery store's rotisserie chickens. We eat it as is the first night, usually with backed beans and potato salad from the grocery store. Then I'll use the leftovers to make tacos, chicken salad, soup or casseroles the rest of the week.
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