Part of the Dads Take Over Series: Post by Jason Daniels
Throughout our foster care journey we waited for this day, the day of finalization. We started down our foster care journey with this as our goal, to finalize an adoption and grow our family. I wasn’t interested in fostering when we began. I would get too attached! It would break my heart when they left! We’ve all heard these excuses before. I was right about that, at least partially; it did break my heart. But as I sit here tonight and reflect on the the past few years that led up to this day, several things cross my mind.
I’ve made big mistakes. Mistakes that I’ll never be able to let go of. I would give anything to do our first placement over. We were chosen as an adoptive home for two little siblings. After a very short time, the big behaviors came out and we honestly just didn’t know what to do (or not do). I was afraid they would rip our family apart. Had we had experience under our belts going into that, had we felt supported by the professionals, had I heard of Dr. Karyn Purvis back then, had I known what RAD was, maybe things would have been different. But we learned. I learned to ask lots of questions, to consume knowledge in mass, to not be afraid to admit something is beyond my experience and expertise. I mourn what could have been, but knowing those children were placed in a forever home that was better suited for them gives us some peace. And without the things we have learned on this journey we would have never know what was to be.
Next, came a baby. We brought her home from the hospital and wondered if it might be forever, but that wasn’t meant to be. She went to live with grandma. I thought my heart would break. When we took her to her grandma, the pain and apprehension was awful. As I placed her in her car seat and they drove away, my heart raced and the tears flowed. I was afraid of what her life would become. I was afraid that somehow she had to have us to have a full and safe life. I learned from her too. I learned that family is best. It turns out grandma was a great choice and she has a forever there. I miss her every day but I learned that her future and being with family is more valuable than my lack of pain.
Then there was C. I didn’t know until this little man that my heart could exist outside of my chest except for in my bio kids. He was with us for 11 months before he went home to his amazing, wonderful momma. A momma who did EVERYTHING she was supposed to do to get him back and radiates love for her kids! This little man stole my heart completely and I freely gave it to him. To tell you all that he taught me would take volumes. But the main thing he and his momma taught me is that foster care can work. These parents can recover. The bad stuff doesn’t always win and that God, even when I couldn’t see it through the tears of his departure, has a plan and His plan is perfect. Getting to play a part in that has been the most amazing thing.
Now, Bella is here. Our beautiful, sassy, spirited and smart Bella challenges us every day. We were picked to be her forever family over a year ago. After a TPR hearing and appeals and lawyers, we get to finalize our adoption! She will become ours and we’ll become hers! I doubted this day would come. My apprehension and fear refused to let me believe it. But again, it was His plan and it is perfect. To say that I love this girl is just not true enough. She is part of me. Somewhere, in God’s infinite wisdom, in His plan, I was meant to be her dad. I don’t know what her future holds but I do know that no matter what, I’ll be there. I’ll be there to protect her, to guide her, to love her. I’ll be there to be her dad.
Then, there’s our current foster baby. Who knows where this little guy will take us. But, I know for sure that this beautiful, anger-inducing, tear-producing ride that is foster care is worth it. These kids are worth it. Love is worth it!
Jason just celebrated a 21st wedding anniversary with his wife, Stephanie, as well as their first adoption! They began their foster journey 5 years ago, and currently have kids ranging in age from 4 months to 16 years old.