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Our children were 1 and 5 years old at the time of placement nearly 4-years ago. Makala and Jeremiah are from the US Foster Care system and biological siblings. Since they were placed two more siblings have been born and we were asked to adopt them as well--however the needs of Makala are so extreme we were not able to take the new babies. Thankfully, both are together and were adopted by the same family.

Our daughter was sexually abused before the age of 4 (when placed into Foster Care) and is Alcohol Exposed she has Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders. This was only recently diagnosed after four years of a VERY difficult life for the whole family. Makala has had two--9 day-psych hospital admissions, for violent behaviors, and attended 14 months of day treatment (full-day, 5-days a week-year round with only one week off last Christmas) She is also Diagnosed with PTSD, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Things are starting to settle down--but, as soon as I type this I am sure something new will come up... But, I love her like my life depends on it.

Jeremiah was born addicted to Heroin and is developmentally delayed about a year. He was toilet trained just before he turned 4. We just got done having his tonsils removed as he suffered Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and there is a possibility of Narcolepsy which is still too early to completely diagnose. He has never slept through the night.

He had some adjustment issues, but not the kind of attachment issues his sister had and has no memory of life with other parents.

Parenting my little ones is very different then parenting my biologicals (23 and 22) was. Some of it is due to the special needs they have but a lot is due to their different personalities my little ones are much more strong-willed.

There are some great points in adopting pre-school ages, I think the best was that I still had some time with Jeremiah before he started school. I did NOT have time with Makala before we had to get her enrolled in kindergarten and If I had it to do all over again I would have home schooled for the first year at least.

My life has been very blessed by the adoption of my little ones, but I am thankful that I have no biological children living in the home, especially younger children. As it is my college kids don't get as much of me as I had hoped I would be able to give them... It has been tiring at times and if we didn't have a rock-solid marriage there would have been some real issues come up over the amount of stress-daily life can become.

There have been some terrible injuries because of the violent behaviors of our daughter at nearly 9 now she weighs 105 and is almost as tall as I am... When first placed she shoved me backward over the baby gate and 9 months later I had back surgery... Just when I think she is done with violence she has a fit like she did the other night--and I got kicked in the mouth!

It isn't always very happy and It is difficult to deal with her anger. But, we keep advocating and doing what we can to find her all the help we can. I still believe she will do well in the end... I guess it just takes a lot of faith.

At the end of the day I can't imagine anyone else taking care of my babies the way I do--and I know my life is more because I have the chance to love them unconditionally.
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