Becoming a parent was like Christmas for me
I always wanted to be a mom.
As children, my sister and I would pretend to be pregnant, placing balls under our shirts. As a fourth-grade teacher, I saw my future child in my students. And following marriage, I dreamed about what it would be like to be a parent.
Despite those dreams, we were unable to conceive and then an emergency hysterectomy forced me to face a truth—if I wanted to be a mom, I would have to take a different path.
Although many foster and adoptive parents have children born to them, for some of us these services offer a means not only to help children but also to become the parents they need and we want to be.
At first, however, my husband was hesitant. The grueling highs and lows we had experienced in our 10-year quest for parenthood had earned him the right to ask for a timeout. He also privately wondered whether he could love someone else’s child.
I wanted him to be sure he was ready for such a life-changing commitment, so I pledged to giving him time to figure out what he wanted. Nearly two years later, that decision came out of the blue. We were watching TV when a commercial about fostering came on and he asked if I still thought about being a mom. Of course, I did!
While I immediately tried to play it off very cool, inside it was like Christmas. I had a glimmer of hope again.
After determining that the costs associated with private adoption were out of our reach, we pursued the foster-to-adopt process with Berks County Children & Youth Services in August 2018. With a few weeks left of my summer break, I threw myself into completing the heavy load of paperwork. But it wasn’t until months later that we were approved and the waiting process began.
Staff members at Children & Youth knew our intent was to adopt, so they were very careful to look for foster children they did not expect to reunite with their parents. With the possibility of fostering a newborn being low, we prepared ourselves for an older child. In fact, because we both were older than 40, my husband thought an older child might be the best fit. But when I took the call on Jan. 16, 2019, asking if we would accept a little boy who was born the day before, I didn’t hesitate. (I did, however, run to Target and bought everything we would need for an infant!)
The second Kayden entered our house, there was no doubt we were going to love him. But as quickly as we adjusted to being foster parents, we realized we had no idea if he would be ours forever. The placement coordinator reminded us the entire time that there were no guarantees. While those days were difficult, we lived with that uncertainty until Kayden turned 1 and the court terminated parental rights.
Shortly after, we turned to Diakon Adoption & Foster Care to begin the adoption process. While going through the necessary steps would be emotionally exhausting, Roxanne, our adoption coordinator, made it a wonderful experience. She became part of our family, spending hours with us, explaining every step of the way. She took something we were very nervous about and put our minds at ease.
On March 2 of this year, we adopted Kayden, officially recognizing the family we had become on Day 1.
But, looking back at the heartache, tough times and disappointment it took to get here, we wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again knowing it brought us to Kayden. We can’t imagine life without him.
We have no doubt: He was meant for us.
Jessie and Dave Marburger live in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, with 18-month-old Kayden, the light of their lives.