Dear Child.
August 13, 2012

Dear Child,

We recently learned from our adoption agency that our family is eligible to accept a foster-adoptive placement at any point after January 2013.

This is HUGE for our family.  Huge.

After discussing it, your father and I made the decision to wrap up our foster certification process in the early months of 2013 and open our home to a placement at some point during the spring.

We will need to purchase a different family vehicle because our sedan cannot fit three rear-facing car-seats.  We will need to launch a few big home-maintenance projects to bring our house in compliance with Los Angeles County foster care standards.  We will need to prepare the bedroom that you will share with your older sister.

It sounds like a lot so a few people have asked me why we would bother.

In the year since your father and I decided to pursue foster-adoption, we have heard seemingly millions of variations on this theme.  Why bother?  It’s so much work.  You’re just adopting someone else’s problems.  But you don’t know what you’ll get.  How can you put your family at risk that way?  Two is enough, you don’t need to start a collection.  Can you not have kids biologically?  It’s not like you can love them the same way you love a kid you birth.  Those kids are broken, you know, they aren’t normal.

Someone once told me that the hardest part of becoming a foster-adoptive parent for her was the realization that she was going to have to put aside the lamb she had always wanted to be and find her lion.  “There’s a time for tact,” she said, “and there’s a time for standing up for your child so fiercely that they can never doubt that you will protect them.”

Why bother?, someone asks.

Because you are our child, I answer.  Because you are not a problem at all, you are a gift as every child.  Because you are not a second-class citizen; you are a human being deserving of love and respect and family and community, as all human beings are.  Because you are OUR CHILD, as loved as any of my children, as yearned for and hoped for and eagerly awaited as any of my children.  Because families stand by one another, no matter what.

You are valued.  You are loved.

Your father and I crafted a space in our lives for your older sister that is all her own.  We bought cloth diapers, we laundered onesies, we read about natural childbirth, and then when she came we gave her everything we had.

Your father and I are crafting a space in our lives for your younger sibling that is all their own.  We cobbled together a postpartum care kits, we are racing to finish the big yard projects, and when your sibling comes we will give them everything we have.

And your father and I are crafting a space in our lives for you that is all your own.  We are reading about adoption, we are plugging into a support community, we are filling out paperwork, we are preparing our home, we are looking for the right vehicle for our family.  And when you come, we will give you everything we have.

We cannot wait until you arrive to claim just that.  It is your birthright.  Do not ever let anyone tell you differently.

We love you more than bears love honey (and everyone knows that’s an awful lot),
Momma and Daddy

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  1. By on August 13, 2012

    My goodness. Some of those questions anger me. Faced with them, I’m unsure how I would react.

    I love love love that you are continuing your adoption process even after you got pregnant. There are so many children out there that need homes and your family is amazing for already making a place for one of them.

    By the way, the letters to your children that you write are some of my favorite blogs. Those and the lists of things Charlotte has done lately. =)

  2. By on August 13, 2012

    Why bother feeding the homeless, there’s always going to be homeless people?  Why even bother being nice, there will always be a grump out there somewhere.  Geesh.  So glad you’re hearts are big and ready for a big family filled with LOVE.

  3. By on August 13, 2012

    This was a beautiful letter. Your child is going to be well loved.

    I’m curious, what kind of home maintenance projects do you have to do?

  4. By Ashley on August 13, 2012

    It makes me so incredibly happy to think of the child that will one day call your house home. I can’t think of a better place for them to be loved, cared for, and shown the true meaning of family.

  5. By on August 13, 2012

    so beautiful! we have 2 boys and are currently waiting for our “match” through our state foster-adopt system. i feel this exact same way. it is possible we will have a boy and girl added to our family at the end of this month - depending on the outcome of court. i am fiercely protective of them, even though they are not “mine” yet.

  6. By on August 13, 2012

    Congratulations! I suggest the Ford Flex for a new family car. I know it seems huge but with 3 or more kids and 2 dogs, you’ll need the space and flexibility. I have one and a 22 year old step daughter plus 2 large dogs and I’m thinking about getting one.

  7. By on August 13, 2012

    This is a totally unrelated comment/question—since you said that you need a car that holds three rear facing car seats—do you still have Charlotte in one?  If so, where do her legs go??  My son just turned one and he needs to rear face until at least age two, but he is already quite big (30 lbs), and tall as well so I ask—as they get bigger, where do the LEGS go?!

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  8. By on August 13, 2012


  9. By Sarah Christensen on August 13, 2012

    Jessica - We have a Diono Radian, which for starters gives a little more legroom rear-facing than our old Britax Marathon did (the Britax is now forward-facing in my dad’s car for when they have her).  We use their angle adjuster (fancy word for a big hunk of thick foam lol) so that it fits better in the back-seat and isn’t at such a significantly reclined angle - if we didn’t, I imagine there would be even more legroom available.  The reason we made the car-seat switch was because she outgrew the rear-facing height-wise in the Britax.  The Diono gives her a couple more inches (she’s around 41 right now) and she can remain rear-facing through 45 pounds.  I don’t remember what the rear-facing weight limit for the Britax was, but we had a bigger problem with the height.

    The interesting thing that we’ve noticed about Charlotte having remained rear-facing for so long is that she likes having her legs cramped up.  She loves facing forward in my parents’ car because she can see everything that’s going on - but she always complains that her legs have nowhere to go, they just dangle there.  So I guess it’s not as uncomfortable as it looks!  She usually just sits with her knees folded out toward the sides and her feet together (so that she forms a diamond between her hips and her feet), but sometimes she uses them to prop up a book or toy, and when she falls asleep in the car she frequently lets her legs fall off the edge of the car-seat.  I imagine that each child probably just picks the position that they’re most comfortable with, though.  As her legs have grown, Charlotts has picked all manner of different positions for her legs and she seems to have just picked one or two standbys to work with.

  10. By Sarah@CrazyLoveGambleStyle on August 13, 2012

    Awesome.  I love your passion for each of your children!!!  It’s so refreshing! 

    Also I have 2 of those car seats, couldn’t love them more.  They made it so I can actually fit 5 people in my accord : )  I can only fit Norah’s in the middle rear-facing though so I would need a new car if I was you too.  I wish they fit rear facing in all 3 positions in a small vehicle.  I really want to separate the girls sitting by each other, I can’t tell you how many times Norah antagonizes Ava and at least 3 times I have gone to get her out and noticed a huge chunk of Ava’s hair in her hand, rude baby! : )

  11. By on August 14, 2012

    I wasn’t even aware people still thought those things about children in the foster system. I mean, “someone else’s problem”? For real? How horrible.

  12. By Sarah Christensen on August 14, 2012

    Ciera - Oh my goodness, so many!  Our house was built in the 1950s and neglected for about ten years before we moved in, so the kids’ room has some big projects in terms of electrical work, blocking up holes to the outdoors, etc.  We have wall heaters in the bathroom that have to be covered up and turned off at the brakers.  Etc.

    Most of the home maintenance projects are, luckily, just things we want to get done before accepting a placement so that the house is a little more child-centric.  For example, we want to tear down the disgusting wallpaper in the dining room, sand and paint the walls, repair random holes and water damage, and then turn the room into a kid-friendly space - we can put a large chalkboard on one side, move all our homeschool and art supplies into the closet in the room (why the dining room has a closet larger than the bedroom I will never know) along with our electronics (no cords running along walls, they’ll run through our attic instead), and put a make-believe closet area along an opposite wall.  These sorts of things are projects that we know we want to get done and we keep thinking about how traumatic it would be to come into a new home as a child and then have the entire home start changing on you, so hopefully we’ll get the big ones done and then not touch anything for several years.  By then, our assumption is that a child would be more emotionally prepared to handle changes and might enjoy being a part of positive changes for the family as well.

    Sheila - The good news is that alot of people use those types of terms ironically, they’re just joking and I know they would never say it to a child because they don’t believe it…but some people really mean it.  We’ve had people tell us that they could NEVER adopt because they love their biological children too much to “do that” to them.  WTF?!  And the argument that someone cannot love their adoptive child as much as they love their biological child really ticks me off.  By my estimation, if you cannot accept a child for who they are and love them unconditionally then you shouldn’t be parenting them, biological or adoptive, the end.

  13. By on August 14, 2012

    This is so beautiful!





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