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Updated: Aug 1, 2022

By Ben Umbel

Our family just celebrated adoption day. One year ago, we received word that the adoption of our son had been finalized. Due to Covid, there was nothing ceremonial about it, just an envelope in the mail. In fact, the adoption had been finalized a week before we received notice. At that point, the lack of ceremony didn’t matter; he was officially our son. It was a happy day, and it was a heavy day.

The foster care/adoption journey is filled with tension. The tension of welcoming a child into your home and adjusting to a new family dynamic. The tension between holding onto each child tightly and loosely, at the same time, realizing that circumstances can change unexpectedly. The tension between passionately advocating for a child while respecting and cheering on their family of origin.

Tension, as a general rule, is uncomfortable. Just as tension created by lifting weights builds muscle for a bodybuilder, tension created by pressing into challenging situations builds character and maturity as a foster/adoptive resource for families. Character and maturity benefit the whole community, from kiddos in care and their families of origin to

prospective foster/adoptive families and staff at the Department of Human Services.

So, we live in the tension. We celebrate adoption day, AND we will always create space to acknowledge the challenges and pain that brought our family together.

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