Disclaimer: This story contains details of miscarriage which may be upsetting for some.
“March 21st, 2022 was the best day of our lives. We adopted our middle daughter and our family was complete. But what got us there? It’s easy to see all the highs of adoption, but few know all that goes into getting to that point.
The Beginning Of Us
Our story starts back in 2012, when Jared and I (Taylor) met at a softball game. Jared and I went to the same small high school in rural Indiana but did not know each other well as Jared was a few years older than me. After high school, I went to a softball game with a friend to watch her boyfriend play. I was then introduced to Jared and we became friends.
We started dating in the beginning of 2013, and we were engaged just before Christmas that year. We bought a house in May, adopted a couple dogs, and married July 26, 2014.
It was a quick engagement but we were both so confident in our decision and commitment to one another. Early on in our relationship we knew we wanted to have kids. We always envisioned having three or four kids and had always tossed around the idea of foster care and adoption, but were really enjoying just being married.
Two years after getting married, I found out I was pregnant! We were so excited and couldn’t wait to begin our lives as parents. I had a relatively easy pregnancy and our daughter, Claire Kristine, was born December 6th, 2016. She was a perfect 9-pound baby, and we ‘oooh’ed’ and ‘ahh’ed’ over her for days. We quickly settled into our roles as parents and tried our best every day to raise Claire with love and kindness.
The sleepless nights were rough and the exhaustion was catching up with us, but nothing could wipe that new parent glow off our faces. Around Claire’s first birthday, we bought some land in our hometown and decided to build a home so we could raise Claire (and our future children we were dreaming of having) in the same small-town we grew up in.
We dreamt of farm animals, land to run on, unobstructed sunsets, and perfectly clear starry nights. We lived with my parents during the (longer than expected) building process and were beyond grateful for that opportunity, but were anxious to get back into our own house. We closed on our newly built home on Valentine’s Day 2019!
At this point in time, Claire was two years old and we had started getting the dreaded questions: ‘Are you going to have more kids?’ ‘Claire needs a brother or sister!’ ‘Is she going to be an only child forever?’ We knew we wanted more kids and now that we were finally in our new house, we felt comfortable adding to our family.
After months of negative pregnancy tests, we were referred to a fertility clinic just to ‘check’ on everything. The questions from well-meaning people started to hurt and I started to feel like there was something wrong with me. Maybe we would just have one child.
Lots of tests and blood work was done and I had a procedure scheduled. A week before the procedure I found out I was pregnant! I told Jared right away and we were beyond thrilled. I giddily called the fertility clinic and they asked me to come in so they could draw labs and check hormone levels. A couple days later I confidently walked into the clinic to have my blood drawn and was told my due date, June 14th 2020.
Not long after that, the bleeding started and my hormone levels dropped. I was having a very early miscarriage. My world shattered. What? A miscarriage? How is this fair? Didn’t that baby know how loved they already were? Did God know how much we wanted this? We were doing everything right; this shouldn’t be happening. But it was. Our very wanted child was gone and I was broken.
Thankfully, we were still working with the fertility clinic, had wonderfully supportive family and friends, and clung to our faith. All together they were helping us navigate how to move forward. I remember listening to the song ‘Even If’ by MercyMe on repeat day after day, just trying to remind myself it would all be okay.
Several doctors appointments and trips to Chicago later, I was told my fallopian tubes were blocked and it was very unlikely I would have more children naturally. The doctor recommended IVF. The state of Indiana does not require health insurance companies to cover fertility treatment, so very few do. The cost, as so many families know, is extreme and it wasn’t something we were ready to look into yet. After much prayer and discussion, we decided foster care was the right path for us.
Choosing Foster Care
Foster care wasn’t a new subject for us. I grew up with an aunt and uncle who fostered children and ended up adopting 2 boys. I have cousins adopted from other countries. We had friends who fostered and we had talked about becoming foster parents in the past. Both of our families are extremely supportive and we knew we would have endless help on this journey.
Shortly after our miscarriage, we contacted our local DCS agency and started the literal mountain of paperwork. The paperwork is long and intense. The questions get personal and it took months to finish.
After we submitted our paperwork, a caseworker came over and studied our home. You talk about fire plans, how to properly store cleaning supplies, and they look into every part of your home and life. We took classes, were re-certified in CPR, had forms filled out and physicals done by our doctors, and asked for references to fill out forms for DCS. Once all of that was said and done, we each sat down separately with our caseworker and had a five-hour interview. Yes, you read that correctly, five hours.
In this interview they dove into our childhood, our past, our traumas, and the highs and lows of our life. They asked hypothetical questions, and attempted to learn every part of our life. Though it seemed daunting and excessive, I understand it now. If my child had to be placed in a stranger’s home (even if the reason for removal was my own doing) I would want to know they were staying with a family who could appropriately love and care for them.
I remember during one point of my interview, the very nice lady who was interviewing me asked why we wanted to foster and what we were hoping to ‘gain’ from becoming foster parents. I explained our past fertility issues, the miscarriage, our desire to grow our family, and wanting to share the love we had to give with other children, even if it would only be for a short period of time.
The woman looked at me, gently placed her hand on mine, and said, ‘I need you to know, you will get your heart broken. Not might, will. In this journey, your heart will shatter into a million pieces, things won’t always go how you think they will, and your heart will break. Please reach out for help and get support to help you through those inevitable times.’ She wasn’t saying that to scare me but rather to prepare me, and I often thought back to her words during our foster care time.
Growing Our Family
We became officially licensed foster parents in March of 2020, right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Life went on and we didn’t receive any phone calls for placements. We had specified we wanted to only foster children younger than our daughter for the time being; we felt that would be best for our family. DCS was more than happy to accommodate our wishes, but did let us know we might not get a call right away.
One month after becoming licensed, I found out I was pregnant again! Joy and fear filled our souls as we anxiously fumbled through the first trimester. Our fear began to subside as bloodwork showed rising hormone levels and we got to see our sweet babe on the ultrasound.
June 14th, 2021 came and it was a hard day. It was our miscarried baby’s due date and although I was pregnant again, I longed to have that baby in my arms. It was a Sunday and after church Claire and I went to watch Jared’s weekly softball game. The game had barely started and my phone rang… it was DCS.
I answered and they explained to me they were looking for a placement for a three-day old baby girl. Without even talking to Jared, I said yes. DCS told me to head to the hospital with a car seat for the baby and to have Jared go to the house to meet the social worker and go over everything for the placement. I pulled Jared out of the game and excitedly told him what was happening. He was completely on board and we all headed home to prepare.
As soon as I got home, I grabbed the infant car seat, gave Claire and Jared a hug and a kiss, then headed for the hospital while they stayed behind to wait for the social worker and prepare things for the baby. Upon arrival at the hospital, I was put in a room and told to wait.
A few minutes went by and the nurse wheeled in this tiny, precious 6-pound baby girl. I held her, rocked her, and told her how much I loved her while the nurse went over all the basic discharge information. During this process it hit me: I am in the hospital, holding a newborn baby, on my miscarried baby’s due date.
God knew what I needed and He provided, like He always does. After lots of paperwork, I carefully drove home and introduced Jared to our foster daughter and Claire to her foster sister, Addisyn.
Our First Placement
Addie was such an easy baby and the love we felt for her was no different than the love we felt for our biological child. Our family fell in love with her just as quickly and they were all so helpful as we adjusted to life with a newborn again. Addie had visits with her biological mother on a regular basis as well as several court hearings. It was hard to get used to the ever-changing schedule of visits, court, and caseworkers stopping by but we managed.
Time was flying by and Addie was growing so quickly. Before we knew it, summer turned to fall and Thanksgiving was approaching. During various court hearings and conversations with our caseworker, talks of adoption began to happen. We tried not to get our hopes up, but we couldn’t help it. The thought of adopting Addie made our hearts soar. We carried on and were so excited for the holiday season with Addie and the upcoming due date of our baby.
The day before Thanksgiving 2020, Claire and I were in the kitchen baking pies while Addie napped when my phone rang. It was our case worker telling me they needed a home for Addie’s older brother immediately. We were the only option and he would be at our house in a few hours.
We couldn’t turn down a child in need of a home but we were in no way prepared for a 2-year-old boy! I frantically called my husband, my parents, family members, and a few friends, and cried to them as I tried to figure out what to do. (Eight-month pregnant Taylor was very overwhelmed at this point).
Jared came home from work, rearranged Addie’s room, and put together the extra bed we had in our basement. My dad went to the store to purchase a mattress and bedding. My mom and sister helped me pick up the house and get everything ready. My aunt and grandparents dropped off diapers, clothes, sippy cups, and toys (because this girl mom didn’t have anything for a little boy!).
My boss and her husband dropped off more diapers, clothes, and shoes in a variety of sizes. My two best friends came over and made dinner, folded laundry, and reassured me everything would be okay. Our friends and family rallied together and made so much happen in such a short period of time. I’ll never be able to appropriately express my gratitude toward them.
The sweetest little boy came to our home that night, scared and confused, but thanks to our amazing people, we had everything we needed to help make him feel comfortable and loved. The next few weeks were an absolute whirlwind. We often weren’t sure what was happening from one day to the next; we were just trying our best to make the world a little calmer for our kids.
We moved on with the busy holiday season, making it special for everyone in our home. We went Christmas shopping, cut down our Christmas tree, sent out Christmas cards, looked at the lights, and tried to soak up the magic of the holiday season.
A Heartbreaking Goodbye
A couple weeks into December, shortly after Claire’s 4th birthday, our caseworker called to tell us Addie and her brother’s grandparents were going to be taking both kids. Our hearts sank, we couldn’t speak. We knew these children might not be permanent members of our home, but that didn’t ease the heartache.
We packed up all of the children’s belongings the best we could and spent every last second showering them with love. Addie’s brother left first as he already had a relationship with his grandparents. Addie’s grandparents graciously let us have a few extra days with her.
Over those days we finished packing up Addie’s whole life into Rubbermaid totes, taking her to see family and friends so they could say goodbye, and soaking up every last second with this perfect 6-month-old baby girl. We were fortunate enough to be able to meet Addie’s grandparents and actually drop her off at their house. While it didn’t make saying goodbye any easier, it was nice to get to know the people who would be caring for her. They even agreed to exchange phone numbers so they could text us pictures and updates.
Claire, Jared, and I all gave Addie one last hug and kiss, as we sobbed getting back into the minivan we had purchased that summer to fit all of the kids. The heartbreak DCS warned us about was happening and it was awful.
Jared and I tried to get back to normal as quickly as possible in order to make things easier for Claire. She had been through a lot over the last six months and we didn’t want her to be any more sad or confused than she already was.
The three of us enjoyed a nice Christmas, prepared for the arrival of our second biological baby, and thought about Addie every single day. We were able to stay in touch with her grandparents on a semi-regular basis but we missed her like no other.
Life As A Family Of Four
We decided to be listed as ‘on hold’ with DCS as we grieved our last placement, and to give us time to adjust when our baby arrived. January 15, 2022, I gave birth to another beautiful baby girl, Piper Kate. She was the sweetest baby and she healed our hearts.
Claire was loving being a big sister again, but often asked if we would always get to keep this baby. Jared and I reassured her Piper was here to stay, forever. We carried on as a family of four, getting into a routine, and enjoying every moment (except maybe not the ones when Piper was screaming nonstop).
In April, when Piper was four months old, Addie’s grandparents reached out to us. They asked if we would be willing to take Addie back into our home and family. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, they felt it was best if we raised her, but they would still like to be a part of her life. We said we would absolutely love to foster her again and they would 100% be involved as grandparents.
We talked to and arranged everything with DCS, and a few weeks later Addie moved back in. Our home was so full of joy! Life was hard but so incredibly full. It took time and a lot of support from our family and friends. We slowly settled into our roles as parents of three girls.
In the following months we had lots of court dates, caseworker visits, and Addie had visits with her biological family just like before… but things were a bit different this time. Addie’s permanency plan was changed to adoption. We were cautiously hopeful.
That winter our caseworker advised us to hire an attorney and start getting paperwork ready to adopt Addisyn. We found an amazing attorney to represent us and she began drawing up everything we would need for adoption.
During this time we began to develop a relationship with Addie’s birth mom. I sent her pictures and updates periodically and she mailed us letters to give to Addie when she is older. She expressed her gratitude to us for caring for sweet Addie and we did our best to express our gratitude to her for blessing us with such an amazing little girl, though there’s no way to every thank her for that beautiful gift.
March 21st, 2022, we gathered in a courtroom to officially make Addisyn our daughter. The room was filled with people we love: parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, caseworkers, and even Addie’s biological grandparents. We hired a photographer to capture every moment of this special day so we would never forget.
We promised to love, care for, and provide for Addisyn, just as we would Claire and Piper, for her entire life. There were tears, smiles, fist bumps, and cheers because Addisyn was officially an Emmons! Addisyn Kay Jean Emmons, forever.
Our days are chaotic but full of love. Claire is 5, Addie is 2, and Piper is 1.5. They wear Jared and I out every single day, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would have daughters just seven months apart in age, but God had other plans for our family!
Our foster care license is temporarily suspended so we can focus on our three young children and not losing our sanity. I’m not sure what the future looks like for us as foster parents, but we love to help any way we can. There is a great need for loving people in the foster care system and even if you can’t foster, you can still help. Adopt, foster, donate, or volunteer. Everybody can do something to make the world a little brighter for our future.”
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