An eventful journey to a forever family
Corey had tried to conceive a child naturally a few times over the years without success. At the suggestion of a co-worker, she attended an infant adoption information class at Boys & Girls Aid, but eventually stopped pursuing it when life got in the way.
In June of 2013, she was visiting family in northern Washington when a cousin told her that a family friend was unexpectedly pregnant and thinking about adoption.
Would she consider adopting her child?
Something clicked into place for Corey, and she agreed to meet with the birthmother that weekend. Their first meeting went well as they talked about the life histories, and Corey shared pictures of her home. The birthmother was four or five months along at the time, and had serious health problems and a history of substance abuse. She just wanted to find a stable home for this child that she was carrying.
When Corey headed back home after the weekend, they agreed to keep in touch over the phone. Corey approached Boys & Girls Aid to learn more about the adoption process and began taking the necessary classes and steps that would allow her to welcome a child into her home.
In the months leading up to the due date later that fall, they worked through some very important issues and the birthmother was provided with a lawyer who would advocate on her behalf. They discussed what level of openness that they wanted in their relationship after the child was born, and how Corey would raise their son. Things were moving along slowly but smoothly.
On October 6th, a healthy, blue-eyed boy was born. Dylan looked exactly like his birthmother, and she realized that she couldn’t say goodbye to her child.
“She decided to give it a chance and take the baby home,” Corey shared.
In Washington, like other states, birthmothers have a holding period before they can sign paperwork terminating their parental rights. Corey had always known that an adoption disruption was a possibility, but nothing can really prepare a hopeful parent for this turn of events.
Corey poured herself into her work and her daily routine to try to move on.
Dylan and his birthmom were doing well for a few months on their own before she experienced a relapse, and Dylan was removed from the home and placed into foster care.
He spent a few days living in a temporary foster home before moving in with a second family. They soon asked to have him removed because they were struggling with taking on another child.
As Dylan moved into his third foster home in less than a year, his birthmother was working very hard to get him back. She was taking all of the steps necessary to gain the stability she needed so that Dylan could move home with her.
She didn’t want him to bounce from foster home to foster home.
After carefully and thoughtfully considering her options, the birthmother made the tough decision that it would be best for Dylan to be adopted into a stable home. She approached Corey once again and asked if she would be willing to adopt her child. Corey agreed and they put the wheels in motion for her to bring Dylan home.
Boys & Girls Aid helped walk Corey through the steps of adopting from foster care across state lines. This is a more complicated and lengthy legal process than adopting an infant, but Corey was willing to do whatever it would take to bring her child home.
During the summer of 2014, she began making the hours-long drive to northern Washington for supervised visits with Dylan every other weekend. After a few months, she was able to take him for a few hours on her own during the day and then return him to his foster home at night. This process was very long and grueling, but it was designed so that Dylan could get to know Corey better and transition comfortably from the foster home where he was living.
Dylan was finally approved to move home with Corey in January of 2015. She took off two months from work so that they could bond and spend time together. He had grown close with his former foster family, and they were an integral part of this transition and still remain in his life.
Dylan and Corey grew closer as a family, and she was delighted to see him become more comfortable in his surroundings. As the months moved on he began bonding with his new family and Corey’s close group of friends.
“Everybody adores him,” she said. “And he adores everybody else. He’s just a happy, active kid.”
Ten months after Dylan moved in, he and Corey headed to the court house to finalize his adoption and make his forever family official. He was too young to fully understand what was going to happen that day, but from now on November 30th will be celebrated as their family day.
“During the whole process of her signing, it only took minutes really,” Corey said. “I was just sitting there with Dylan in my arms. It was a surreal feeling. This is really ending. I was very, very nervous until then. And then it was just this big relief. And excitement. And coming home.”
It’s been a complicated journey. Their relationship with Dylan’s birthmother isn’t as open as Corey had originally hoped, but it’s something that they’re working through. Corey sends photos and emails about the milestones he’s reaching, and she talks regularly with Dylan’s biological grandmother on the phone.
“It was an amazingly long process, but definitely worthwhile,” Corey explained. “So he could have a stable home. And that’s why his birthmom made this decision. She didn’t want him going from foster home to foster home.”
As Corey and Dylan navigate his toddler years and beyond, we don’t know what adventures they’ll go on or where their journey will take them. What is certain is that Dylan will be surrounded by a big family — foster, birth, and adoptive — who love him very much and will help expand his horizons and encourage his sense of adventure.