At Gateway Longview we offer comprehensive Foster Care & Adoption Services to support families in the Buffalo, NY area and throughout Erie County. We work to match children in care with safe, nurturing foster home environments where they are set up to thrive. Today we are spotlighting Megan and her experience fostering to adopt through Gateway Longview.
GL: What interested you in adopting?
Megan: "Three years into our marriage, my husband and I were introduced to a fifteen year old girl who needed an emergency place to stay. What was supposed to be a weekend turned into two years and permanent guardianship- and her becoming a permanent member of her family. During that time, we realized that we could be helping more kids that needed help and began the certification process for foster care through Gateway Longview. Honestly, adoption was not a part of my life vision- but I am so glad that we collided courses with a young woman who made us realize we could be helping to benefit children and families. We never anticipated the powerful impact it would have on our own lives as we offered permanency to three additional daughters, one in August of 2017 and two more (biological sisters through foster care) in June 2018."
GL: How was your experience with the adoption process? What was it like?
Megan: "Adoption is a practice of patience. There is paperwork, court proceedings, and most of it is out of your hands! We tried to keep our focus on the fact that while no day is promised, every day is an opportunity to impact the lives of the children in our care for the better. In particular, the slowness of the process was very challenging for our oldest daughter (then 8.) Feeling in limbo was very challenging for her, and reminding her that we could trust that everything would work out the way it should was important. In the end, it was a beautiful combination of grief and celebration- our daughters had to say goodbye to the potential of returning home to their biological mother at the same time as they said hello to a future that offered stability and permanency with us. The complexity of those feelings are enormous for all of us, and the strong relationship we maintained with their biological family has helped us to navigate that."
GL: How has the experience of adopting changed your life?
Megan: "Our family is so much bigger! I love how crazy and blended it is. My girls have two mothers, two fathers, and TONS of aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas to love them! It’s awesome to spend time with my girls and their biological mom, and hear stories of their earliest days (before we knew them.) We celebrate holidays so many times- as a Christmas and birthday lover that’s alright with me! When I think back to the couple that were sitting on the couch by themselves watching TV at night, I am so grateful that we opened our home and our hearts to the complicated system that is foster care and adoption. Our lives are so much better for it! We also have learned so much about leaning into the uncertain, living life with open hands, and loving people where they are and through the most difficult parts of their lives. We have grown so much as people from our experience with adoption and foster care."
GL: What would you say to those thinking of adopting?
Megan: "I think lots of people are afraid to take a chance on things that are uncertain and make life more difficult. I honestly could not imagine my life without the joy that my daughters bring. They are the best gift I have ever received. I would encourage people to reach out, to talk to those who have adopted or are in the process of adoption, to ask the hard question. For every risk that might threaten our ideas of what comfortable is, there are so many joys and privileges you receive from walking this road. In my new role as a recruiter of adoptive families for children who have been stuck in the system long term, I would also encourage people to ask themselves to be open to adoption of kids that are a variety of ages and from a variety of backgrounds. There is so much good that these kids offer the lives of the people who are willing to dig in and get a little messy walking this road (and so much good we can offer in return!)"