adoption, family life

Foster Adoption: one year later

We spent Scout and Jem’s adoption anniversary at the beach. We didn’t plan it that way; it just happened to work out as the best timing for our family vacation.

foster adoption update

A year ago, at adoption finalization, I couldn’t begin to imagine going on vacation with these two. By that time, they’d been with us six months — the hardest six months of my life. In addition to personal issues unrelated to the kids (including the death of my Dad), we were dealing with the children’s rages, sleep problems, potty-training regression, lying and stealing… and although I was committed to sticking it out, I really couldn’t get my head above water. I didn’t know how I’d make it through each day, and surely didn’t try to think very far ahead because it was too overwhelming. I hoped things would get better, but I couldn’t imagine the next decade or so of my life if things didn’t improve.

One of the best things I did during this time was to journal what was happening. Mostly I wrote in a little line-a-day five year journal. When I started that journal in 2013, I had no idea we’d have so many changes that year, including a foster adoption. Now I’m on the second line of each page, and it’s neat to see what we were doing on the same day last year. In looking back over those journal entries, I remember how hard it was, and how much better it is now. That’s immensely helpful to me on the hard days because I’m reminded that they aren’t all hard now. In fact, most days are pretty good — but there was a time I was begging God for just one day that went mostly okay so I’d have hope for the future.

We’ve come a long way.

I still struggle with in particular with Scout. If I could plan and orchestrate every waking moment of her day, she’d be an absolute angel. But given ten minutes left to her own devices, she almost always gets herself in trouble because she doesn’t think before she acts. I’ve written before about our polar-opposite personalities, but in short, she changes the dynamics of everything around her and flat out exhausts me mentally.

Although our bond is still not what I hope it will be someday, parenting her no longer feels like a never-ending babysitting job for someone else’s child. Over the past year, I’ve talked with other moms who struggle in relationship with their children and I’ve finally learned in more than a head-knowledge sort of way that struggling in relationship with a child does not indicate poor parenting or lack of love on either side — and does not depend on how the child came into the family, whether through birth, adoption, or otherwise.

And there are more positives to celebrate:

celebrating firsts in foster adoption

  • We’ve gotten to experience so many firsts, from first lost baby tooth to a whole slew of firsts on our recent beach trip.
  • We still have run-of-the-mill kid meltdowns, but no more rages.
  • [Almost] no more daytime potty accidents, plus one is out of nighttime pull-ups, and the other is making progress in that direction!
  • We’ve seen big improvements with sleeping, and we’ve figured out how to manage our nighttime explorer.
  • Biggest of all, we see healthy inter-family relationships developing and can tell they’re beginning to know what “forever” feels like.

Like I’ve said before, I refuse to candy-coat adoption. There are days I have to remind myself why we chose this path — but it is worth it. And to all of you who have read along throughout our journey (as well as those who have only recently joined us), I’d like to say thank you for every encouraging comment and/or prayer for our family; your words have made a difference.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I love the idea of a line a day journal! It is nice to look back and think, wow – we had a good day 🙂 I also think some of our kids will always struggle a bit, it’s just the nature of adoption/their early life, but we can be there to guide them and hopefully lessen some of that struggle!


Hi Jamie, I love how honest you are about the difficulties and attachment issues. You’re very brave to put that out there publicly. I’ve adopted four from foster care and I can definitely relate! I just wanted to mention and ask if you’ve gotten into essential oils. I’ve used them to help my children’s emotional issues. I know other ladies who also use them for their difficult children as well. Maybe they can help bring some relief to you and your family. They are one of my favorite stress relievers! I’d be happy to tell you more about what I’ve… Read more »


Gosh! Thank you for sharing all this! I appreciate that you don’t sugar coat adoption … too many people do. It’s rough … we recently celebrated our 1-year gotcha day (the day they arrived) … our official adoption day anniversary is literally 6 months after yours! I remember reading your adoption post, seeing their beautiful little faces, and thinking, “Will we ever get there?” But we are here. And I’m glad I’m not the only one to struggle with these issues. I know recently that you mentioned that you had almost stopped blogging … if you are able, please continue… Read more »


Hang in there with these littles. My husband was the result of adoption at 6 years old after spending a year in an orphanage. My MIL who was a former Social Worker turned foster mom, adopted him. She still says out of the 4 kids she adopted, and over 200 that she fostered, my husband was one of her biggest challenges. Now she notes that she’s so proud of the man he’d become. That she is humbled that the time she had him made such an impact. For her this is a hard win considering so many of the others… Read more »


My grandson has just been with us 1 year on yesterday. So much of what you said, we have experienced with him that is plum scary! In a good way though! Lol. No one knows what we have gone through/going through and I have felt so isolated even angry at times with the situation and the lack of understanding with others. For the first six months we couldn’t even go anywhere with him, at least no more than what was absolutely necessary. We could not take him to church, to friends or relatives, anywhere…safety issues (as he would break from… Read more »


Really really appreciated this post. No sugar coated adoption stories, I think are the most encouraging for those of who are in the same boat. But, like you, as an adoptive mom, I know all about the sweet moments too. God is so good! He hears all of our supplications and our thankfulness. Adoption (we adopted through foster care too) teaches us, humbles us to the point of sacrifice. It’s a whole new perspective of Christ’s love for us. Bless your heart- I am in love with being a mommy all over again as we raise and love these youngins’.… Read more »


I appreciate how you don’t sugar coat what the adoption process has been like for your family. We are in the process of becoming licensed foster/adoptive parents in our state and this is not going to be an easy road. It’s great to read about your success despite the difficulties.


Thank you for being so honest. . We adopted our 4 year old daughter from foster care in January after she moved in with us in November. It has not always been easy but its getting easier- the night accidents are significantly decreasing(she was day trained in Nov at 3y 11m with slight regression, but had accidents almost nightly) She is in speech, OT and PT for dyspraxia which was finally diagnosed in April(before everyone thought she was just delayed) and is making progress. And we are homeschooling preschool with much success.


I needed to read this today, Jamie. We’ve been struggling SO much lately with our new daughter and I need to see a successful story. Because right now? I’m at the end of myself and am trying desperately to see the Light through the fog. I love your honesty and that you don’t sugar-coat the hard road of adoption. I’m not quite ready to share the things going on in our adoption because it has traumatized me, but know that it will ooze out eventually.


I have no experience with adoption, but these are some of my favorite posts on your blog. I love your heart and honesty, and even though I can’t relate to many of the challenges you face I still come away wiser and encouraged from reading your story.


I love ALL your posts but when I see the adoption one’s in my Inbox, my heart jumps a little. Each time I read the stories, and cry with you, or laugh with you, or pray for you, my hope is rekindled. One day. One day it will be me wondering if I’ve lost my mind. One day it will be me falling weeping at God’s feet asking him to help me keep going just one more hour. One day this hard, mad, wonderful journey will be part of my life too. I thank God for your willingness to be… Read more »


Hi Jamie,

Just found your blog and love it! Also, just met your husband yesterday at the Adoption Think Tank and attend and work pt at church. We also adopted 3 children from the foster care system, two of them 13 months apart. That was 7 1/2 years ago which I still can’t believe. While it has been difficult, God has shown himself faithful to our family in such personal ways throughout our journey. I would love to meet you sometime.


Hi! I’m wondering how you dealt with your nighttime explorer?