ADOPTION STORIES : I've been waiting a long time for you

In February 2018 our lives were forever changed when we met our 2 sons and daughter for the first time. Our world transformed as we went from just the two of us to a family of five.

We first expressed interest in adopting in June 2016 and were fortunate to move relatively quickly through our P.R.I.D.E. training and our home study. We were approved as perspective adoptive parents in the fall of 2017. On November 16th we got the call with a potential match- a sibling group of three, ages 4, 5 and 13- and although we tried hard to remain cautious we could hardly contain our excitement. The discovery process of reviewing our children's case files took several months to complete but we were certain by the end of it that we were meant to be with these children.

We first met our oldest son, Anthony. Many emotions ran through us as we got ready for this first meeting. Our excitement remained but we were also nervous and unsure of what to expect. Fortunately, the worries subsided when we met him and he immediately referred to us as Mom and Dad. I will never forget how speechless I felt when he turned to me and asked "What's your favourite hockey team Mom?" Not only did it seem so real to be called Mom but I also know very little about hockey and couldn't even pretend to come up with a favourite team...luckily Dad spoke up and saved the day. Anthony too was nervous on this first meeting but his excitement shone through as he finally, after over 2 years in foster care, could start to picture the next part of his story.

Next we met our son, Skyler, and our daughter, Bella. Skyler pretended he was shy but his true personality shone through as he ran through the kitchen of his foster home, jumped behind a chair, and then loudly stated "I'm shy you know". Bella sat on the couch, in a dress that she insisted upon wearing to meet us, and didn't say a whole lot initially as she tried to process what was going on. However, before we left that evening she gave me the biggest, tightest hug and said "I'm so happy you're here...I've been waiting a long time for you."

The next days of our journey flew by as we visited our kids daily and traveled from home to work to daycare to foster homes and back home again. Overnight visits, establishing family expectations, creating new routines and maintaining as much consistency as possible took tons of energy. At times we were all exhausted but this hard work has proven to be so worth it and has allowed us to fulfill our dreams of becoming a forever family.

Our kids officially came home at the end of March 2018. To say it was easy would be a lie. Some parts of our journey have been so natural- like how we stepped into our roles as parents and how quickly we all grew to love one another- while many aspects have also taken lots of hard work, dedication, sweat, tears and unconditional love. We are so fortunate to have a core group of true supporters who have been with us from the very beginning. Words cannot express how thankful we are for them.

Although our story is only just starting to unfold, in many ways it feels like we have been together for much longer than just under 2 years. None of us can imagine not being together and we look forward to growing and supporting one another for the rest of our lives. We have truly been blessed in so many ways and we are so proud to be a forever family.