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July 2020

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My husband and I decided to become foster parents when we learned of the thousands of children in need of a safe home. We agreed we wanted to help. We were licensed for less than 48hrs when we received a phone call about a 22-month-old little boy in need of an emergency placement for “3 weeks.” It was 5pm when we received this call and by 7pm we had a new little boy in our home! We fell in love with him immediately. We were thrilled to have our first placement so quickly! But the sadness of why this baby was with us could not be ignored. He was scared and had the typical challenging behaviors that come from a history of trauma. He also has speech delays and could not always communicate what he wanted. We all worked hard to adapt and learn.

Every day we made progress and grew into a stronger and more connected family. Jackson spreads joy wherever he goes and he fit in perfectly with our family! He took a particular liking to my husband right away. The three boys bonded over cars, dirt and all things “boy.” My daughter and I reveled in the love and affection this adorable toddler offered us and we took every chance to dote on him. He made us laugh and smile endlessly. We rooted for his biological family to get healthy again and one day get him back. We knew it would be unimaginably hard to say goodbye but we have always wanted what is best for him. Well, 3 weeks turned in to 3 months which turned in to forever. 

The foster care journey was hard, very hard. We all had to be vulnerable in a way no other experience requires. We chose to embrace the uncertainty and risk loving this sweet boy with all our hearts even though we did not know how long he would be with us. The reality that we could lose a child is hard to face every single day as a parent. In December 2019, there was an incident and the primary permanency plan switched from reunification to adoption quickly. 

We started working with new social workers and adoption support workers and Mark Iverson’s office. Mark and his team were a great comfort to me as we moved through the adoption. I am a Type A planner! I like to know when, what, who, why, where… did I say when? Well, adoption from foster care does not answer these questions so easily! Mark and his office put my mind at ease on several occasions. I called often with questions and always felt supported. They gave me very helpful information and clear direction on what was going to happen next. They worked quickly along with our adoption social worker to get our son adopted! 

June 19th was one of the best days of my life! Our son officially became our son! The relief was indescribable. Our family was stretched thin throughout fostering and we all came out closer, stronger and able to love in a whole new way! We thank God for the privilege of being called mom and dad by our sweet James Jackson Heydorn! I wouldn’t trade one second of this journey for anything in the world because this finish line is worth it all!