Adoption marks an incredible milestone when families get to publicly and legally declare their new child a part of their household forever. We sometimes consider “Gotcha Day” as the end goal, but adoption is a lifelong journey full of ups and downs, affecting the whole family. In the Brown family’s case, Wendy and James had four biological children before deciding to adopt. They’re now the proud parents of 12, but unifying a family from various backgrounds and traumatic circumstances posed a significant challenge.
Thankfully, the For Others Collective showed up to help. We and our partner, Chosen Care, know how important it is to support the whole family, and our faithful donors made it possible for us to step in where the Browns needed it most. By all of us working together as a collective, Wendy and James found the support they needed. Now, the family is stronger than ever. We sat down with them to hear their story.
Wendy and James started their family the traditional way, but the couple felt God put adoption on their hearts over the years. After having four wonderful biological children, they felt ready. Over the next 15 years, the Browns adopted six more children. The couple decided they were done adopting after that, but they wanted to continue serving children in need. They turned to foster care as an alternative, confident that their years of experience with adoption and parenthood would give them an advantage.
Their first placement immediately proved them wrong. A 2-year-old boy came to them from a difficult home situation. As a result, he struggled with big behaviors. Wendy and James loved him, but they were lost on how to address his behavior. James recalls those months as some of the hardest in their lives as a family. In addition, some of their other children needed extra care, as well. A few were behind on education, acted out, or needed counseling for past trauma. Over time, the family relationships became strained. The older teens were inadvertently thrust into parental roles when Wendy and James became stretched too thin. Some kids admitted they felt invisible next to their siblings whose behaviors or struggles needed more attention.
“There’s the old phrase, ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil,’” Wendy explains. “I think I was blind to the wheels that weren’t squeaking.”
Then, their 2-year-old boy from foster care and his younger sister became available for adoption. Wendy and James never planned to adopt another child, and they had told the rest of their kids the same thing. As a result, the rest of their kids kept him at arm’s length, but the plan changed when Wendy and James felt God put it on their hearts that he and his sister belonged with them. Their kids were completely surprised and unprepared, adding additional stress in the house.
Supporting the Whole Family
Wendy and James loved each of their kids wholeheartedly and were doing their best, but they needed help. Thanks to you, they found it.
At a support group for adoptive families, Wendy and James heard about our partner, Chosen Care. Along with many other services, Chosen offers counseling for adoptive families to heal past trauma and strengthen family bonds. The best part? Because of your faithful donations, the counseling sessions are cost-free for the family.
The Browns signed up for counseling with Chosen, and they saw results almost immediately. The family’s “rockstar” counselor (their words) listens without judgment and provides professional advice and psychological insight. Wendy and James leave each session with an action plan tailored to their needs. In addition, their counselor can direct them to classes provided by Chosen to help them along their journey as a family.
“After every call,” says James, “there was hope.”
Wendy and James see the positive results both in their children and in themselves. Their little boy’s behaviors rapidly disappeared, and the couple saw some of their own shortcomings start to turn around. Now armed with knowledge and resources, they took what they learned during their sessions and applied it to their entire family. Many of their responses to stressful situations have changed, and they’re now more intentional about spending time with each child. Wendy and James went into counseling thinking they were going for their kids, but they ended up benefitting just as much.
“We needed help so that we could help them,” says James.
Your generosity makes victories like these possible. Because of you, adoptive families get the support they desperately need through counseling and other services we and our partners offer. This is the power of the Collective. For Wendy and James, their whole family is now stronger than ever, and it’s brought them a new sense of togetherness and hope.