Branch Street Means Family
We are taking a departure from our usual coffee related writings. Over the past three years, Branch Street has grown to become more than a coffee shop to us. We have met amazing people who have gone from “regulars” to friends, and our team has transformed into what can only be called family. We have learned that Branch Street means family.
Recently, our family has begun to grow. Most of you likely know our manager Sam, and he and his wife Megan are on a journey that is unique to many of us. They are excited to share their experience with adoption in hopes to raise awareness of this exciting time in their lives.
We are committed to helping them along the way. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the costs associated with the adoption process.
Pt 1: Babies Come From Airports
For most, families are built biologically, through a mom and dad who love each other. For some, babies come from an entirely different place, through foster care or adoption. And sometimes, those who are adopted or in foster care, come from airports. For Sam and I, our baby came to our home by way of an airport.
From the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a mom. I thought I would grow up, get married, and have a couple kids. I got to marry the most perfect guy, and a few years later we started trying for some kiddos. After several years, there were still no kids and no explanation as to why even after all the routine tests they do on couples with fertility issues.
This brought so much heartache and frustration to both of us as we wondered about what God’s plan was for our family. I didn’t want a baby from an airport, I wanted one to grow inside of me.
Eventually we started thinking about adoption. I told my husband Sam that I only wanted to do private adoption and not go through foster care. There was too much risk in foster care; at least that was my thought at the time. I prayed that if we were supposed to adopt, God would basically drop a baby in our laps. In October of 2016, we heard about a distant relative of mine who was five months old and was not being cared for properly.
This was it! God was dropping this baby in our laps. Plus, her name was Grace! How perfect! The whole situation ended up being a miscommunication, and the grandmother of this little girl was not ready to give up on Grace’s mom and hand Grace over to someone else. We grieved this loss, but then decided to move toward becoming foster parents, the one thing I said I would never do.
In the spring of 2017, Sam and I attended twelve pre-service classes for foster care in Mahoning County. We learned a lot that opened our eyes and broke our hearts. After the classes, we started our home study, the tedious process of a caseworker coming into your home and asking you every personal question you could ever think of. The goal of this is to make sure your house, finances, and relationships are all secure enough for a child to join your family.
This process was very frustrating for me but it seemed like it was what we had to do in order to grow our family. I was unsure about what God was asking of me and what He was trying to do in my life.
In the middle of our home study process, which takes about six months to complete, we got a call from that distant relative asking if we would still be willing to take Grace. Absolutely, yes! We were so excited! A few weeks later, we flew to Las Vegas where she was living with her Grandma. Grace was now 14 months old and toddling around. We stayed a few days to get to know her and then we got on a plane and brought her home!
As excited as we were about her arrival, I was also terrified. I deal with anxiety and have for years, but this took it to a new level. Everything I thought that being a parent would be, changed instantly. I hear many stories of families adopting kids and immediately connecting with the child and just having a bond right away. This was not the case for me. Bonding with Grace came very slowly. She was a crazy toddler who really wasn’t into cuddles or sitting still.
A Family of Three
We discontinued our home study and just spent time getting to know Grace. As a family, we’ve gone camping, taken a trip to the ocean, and we’ve dressed her up for Halloween. We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas being parents for the first time. Every day got easier, better and a little more fun.
This is only the beginning of the amazing story God keeps weaving in our lives. I am so blessed by how He has provided and given us this amazing gift of Grace. She fits so perfectly into our family and I am in awe of her every day. Despite living in four different homes in her first year of life, she is well behaved and joyful.
I am also blessed to be able to share our story with you. I love being able to share with others what our journey has looked like and I hope it will bless you as well.