Adoptees, Why Supporting Each Other Matters

I remember the day when I stood in the home of my birth mother and held her. We were in England and she had pulled me into her bedroom to “speak privately.”

Mum looked me in the eyes and said, “I never wanted to let you go. And, I need you to know that.” She then folded herself into my arms and we both began to cry.

It was just a few years ago, yet I recall the moment like it was yesterday. Mum handed me the original papers of my relinquishment. I had always possessed a copy. But, now I was staring at the actual document. Stained with her tears. The piece of paper that had been signed by my birth mother on the day she gave up her rights to parent me. How I hated that piece of paper.

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Welcome to Parenthood, by Susie & Sean Spencer

Welcome to Parenthood! Here’s Some Pink Eye.

My husband, Sean, and I always dreamed of having kids. When we married in 2004, like any fresh-faced couple we planned out our future—we were going to make babies and start a family. Finding out that the traditional path to parenting was not possible caused us intense anguish. Since the desire for children still beat in our hearts, we started looking into other possibilities. Thus, began a twelve-year journey from Alaska through the Midwest to finally land at the bottom of Texas. On the way, we survived the pain of fertility treatments, explored the unpredictability of private and international adoptions, and when one door after another—mind-blowingly—closed, we turned to foster care.

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Episode 7: Zoe Johnson, A Former Foster’s Story of Reuniting with Her Birth Father

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Zoe Johnson. She has an incredible story to share! She’s a former foster child, orphaned as a little girl. Today, Zoe is a wife and mother, and a woman on a journey of faith to sharing the amazing story of finding her bio father through ancestry.com

Anyone who is searching, on any level, for truth in their life will want to listen to Zoe’s insights as she walks the real and raw path of reunion. Zoe’s journey to truth and to her bio dad is inspirational. Her ability to forgive and to start right where she and her bio dad are, is something we all can learn from. To learn more about Zoe, you can find her on YouTube.

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Elegance: Three Essential Steps to Living and Loving Well

I used to push and run and barely breathe. Life was an uphill climb to an unknown destination. Like a hamster on a wheel, I frantically peddled my feet forward, never really arriving anywhere.

I felt out of touch with myself, short of air, and numb to feel. It wasn’t elegant. I call this stage in my life my “time of roughness.”

I kept my life rough on the surface—jagged and sharp—in order to keep people away, to keep feelings from entering, to keep memories from coming too close.

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Adoption: Helping Foster Children with the Transition, by Dr. John DeGarmo

Adoption?

It was never a thought or consideration for me, for many years. Yet, as it is in so many areas of life, plans change, and people change.

Through the years, my own family has been granted the blessing of the wonderful joy that is adoption. As recounted in the book, Love and Mayhem: One Big Family’s Uplifting Story of Fostering and Adoption, my family and I have had the opportunity to adopt three children from foster care. Sadly, we have also experienced the realities of four failed adoptions, as well. Without a doubt, these adoptions have changed our family and our lives in wonderful and unanticipated ways. Yet, there have also been times of great anxiety, too, when it appeared that the adoptions might not go through as first planned. Fortunately, three adoptions did take place, and my wife and I are now loving parents of six children. Three of these are biological, three are adopted. To be clear, there are no labels in our home: no adoptive, biological, or foster children. They are all family, and all our children, and we love each unconditionally.

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Give Your Loss to God: Reflections on Living with Unending Peace

It’s early morning, here in England, and much is quiet except for the sounds of sheep in the field. I’m in the English countryside, where I was born, and enjoying the soothing melody of home.

It’s been nearly three years since I’ve been back here. Just as it always has, my birth country greets me and meets me with memories: a past and present intertwined with gratitude and grief; my journey as an international adoptee.

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Episode 6: Uplifting Children & Youth in the Foster Care System with Author Chavis Fisher

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with author, Chavis Fisher. We discuss how we can uplift the children and youth in foster care and raise their voices. In addition, we share the importance of foster children understanding that they are not alone in their journey—that there are people who love and care for them.

With over eighteen years of legal practice, Chavis Fisher has worked with hundreds of foster children, adoptive parents, Court Appointed Special Advocates (better known as CASA) and Department of Child Services agency employees. She received the prestigious Congressional Angels in Adoption Award for her commitment to improve the lives of children in need of permanent homes.

Chavis Fisher is the author of the book, Adopting Tigerwhich explores foster care through the eyes of a child. It’s a number one best selling book on Amazon. I couldn’t put it down!

To learn more about Chavis Fisher, please visit: chavisfisher.com.

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Three Women, One Love: Honoring Bio, Foster, and Adoptive Mothers

I’m not an adoption professional. What I am is an expert on how it feels to be adopted.  I’m an international adoptee. I hold a wealth of knowledge and understanding about living in the skin of adoption.

I was born in England. Not in London, but in a smaller place known as Bury St Edmunds. Bury St Edmunds is a town in West Suffolk on the River Lark.

It is of an ancient ruin and is said to have been the site of a Roman villa and later a royal Saxon town. Bury St Edmunds is named for Saint Edmund—king of the East Angles—killed by the Danes around 870, and is buried there.

I tell you this not because I’m a historian, but because I hold a deep sense of pride in where I am from and from where I was adopted.

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Episode 5: Open Adoption and Cultivating Love Between Bio & Adoptive Families with Molly Rampe Thomas

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Molly Rampe Thomas. Molly is a licensed social worker, and Founder and CEO of Choice Network, a pro choice adoption agency that, at its very core, is founded on Molly’s love for her daughter’s biological mother.

We discuss open adoption and inspiring a culture of honor, gratitude, and respect between bio and adoptive families. In addition, we discuss the immense need for  families to consider adopting older children and sibling groups from the foster care system. To learn more about Choice Network and Molly’s work, visit: choicenetworkadoptions.com.

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Family Building from Foster Care: Out of the Blue, by Debi Cantu

Perhaps many people can say what I am about to say: when I first began fostering children I had no plans on adopting. I was experiencing a bit of the ’empty nest syndrome’ and wanted little ones in my home once more. I also wanted to foster children on my own terms with the choice to stop when I felt the time had come.

I received a phone call from a social worker asking if I wanted to foster a baby who was still in the hospital. I immediately said, “Yes.” The social worker began informing me of the baby’s health condition. “This baby was born three months premature, weighs only four pounds at six weeks of age, and has tested positive for crack and alcohol.” She added, “The baby needs to be picked up today.” I raced out of the house and headed to the hospital to meet a tiny little girl.

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