The Journey to Becoming Family

Nov 04, 2021 - In the News, Success Stories, Foster Care and Adoption

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Will and Tracy’s path to adoption is similar to the path many families take. They married and enjoyed their time as newlyweds before attempting to add children to their family. When infertility disrupted their plans, they needed time to heal and explore new options.


The couple talked about adoption and when they were ready, they attended informational meetings to find an agency. They felt comfortable with the honest information they received at PCHAS. They liked how the team was hopeful but realistic; recognizing the effects of trauma and the child’s ability to heal. Will and Tracy walked away understanding it could be hard but knew they would have support from staff who would walk with them through it all. “That ended up really being true,” shared Tracy.


Nearing 50 and 40, respectively, neither felt an infant would be the best fit. The team at PCHAS got to know Will and Tracy and discussed their desires and strengths, eventually asking them to consider school-age children, even siblings. The couple considered what it might be like and decided ages 5 to 13 would be a good match.


PCHAS provided Will and Tracy with training and worked closely with them on all of the required documentation. The agency completed a home study assessment and approved the couple for adoption. A few months later the couple was ecstatic to be matched with Alexis and Jeremiah. The children had been in foster care for several years and were living in a group home. Will and Tracy read through their files and asked questions of their team before confirming they wanted to move forward and meet the children.


Will and Tracy were finally able to meet Alexis and Jeremiah through pre-placement visits. These visits aren’t an audition, but rather a chance for everyone to get to know each other over the course of several weeks before the children move into the adoptive parents’ home. “Everyone was nervous and apprehensive; the kids were friendly but suspicious,” Tracy shared. Their trust had been broken before and it was only natural for the kids to be guarded.


The new parents took this seriously and felt an extra level of responsibility to try to make the kids comfortable by taking things slowly and respecting their level of comfort. “They, understandably, had trust issues. We knew their trauma wouldn’t go away as soon as they were in our home. We see it as a safe, loving home, but it will take a significant amount of time for them to feel that,” Tracy reflected.


Will and Tracy tried their best to make the transition easier. “It’s a new environment, new rules, different expectations. We told them they could call us whatever they were comfortable with and took their lead and made sure we weren’t pressuring. We let them make their rooms their own space. He loved sports and she loved everything pink and unicorn, but she is more likely to pick up a worm and chase him,” laughed Tracy. 


The children lived with the family for six months before the adoption was finalized. Becoming a family on paper was just the beginning, though. “We have a great relationship with our kids, but we didn’t become a close family overnight, it’s happened over time,” Tracy said. The couple is still learning as parents and admits to making mistakes and having to apologize to their kids. This honesty has strengthened their relationships. “There have been times they’ve really opened up to us, and told us, ‘you’re the first person I’ve felt comfortable telling that this happened.’ We feel awful about what’s happened to them but are grateful they trust us with that,” Tracy said.


The greatest challenges in their journey were those they weren’t prepared for. “They’re doing awesome now, but it took a very long time for it to get better. We got help from the professionals. They reminded us it’s not all misbehavior, it’s trauma-related. We used a lot of patience and awareness for a year and a half,” Tracy shared.


A big part of their success as a family is their support systems. “When we did have difficult times, our PCHAS Case Manager was amazing. She was incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. We had long conversations and she gave good, calm suggestions on how to handle things when I felt out of depth,” Tracy said. The couple also recognizes adoptive families need a community to encourage them. “Our friends and family were very supportive and warm to our kids; they made it a lot easier,” Tracy said.


Will and Tracy have overcome difficulties in their journey and they see it all as completely worth it. They are in love with the family they’ve created together. Tracy shared, “The best thing is that our kids really and truly have become our kids.” Will and Tracy are so glad they said yes to Alexis and Jeremiah. “We love our kids like crazy and wouldn’t trade them for the world!” 


In Texas, there are more than 2,700 children like Alexis and Jeremiah waiting for an adoptive family. Could that be you? Connect with a Foster Care & Adoption Guide at 512-212-5700 or fosteradopt@pchas.org to learn more.


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