Jennifer always wanted to be a foster parent. Later in life, as she and her husband Eddie contemplated starting a family, they decided they would fulfill this dream first. But they soon fell in love with the children in their care and found themselves the adoptive parents of first one, then two, and finally three and four children: Lily, Molly, Olivia and Chloe. All four girls had been exposed to drugs during pregnancy. They were removed from their parents' care and subsequently adopted by Jennifer and Eddie.
About a year ago, officials from Texas approached them as a potential placement for a fifth girl, Abby, Lily's biological sister. But Abby had some potentially severe problems: She was underweight, having difficulty walking and crawling, didn’t want to be held, and wasn’t making eye contact.
Eddie and Jennifer just couldn’t say no. Southwest Human Development’s Kinship Care and Adoptions program was able to help; the program provided an adoption home study, monthly supervision, and adoption finalization services.
Southwest Human Development brought in its disabilities team to provide a full developmental assessment for Abby. The family followed through on all of the team’s recommendations and worked intensively with Abby to build attachment and help her with communication and motor skills.
Today Abby is happy and healthy and loves playing with her sisters. She was legally adopted by Jennifer and Eddie on January 24, 2011. Jennifer marvels at how easy the whole adoptions process was with Southwest Human Development and how supportive the staff were. Jennifer says it was literally the easiest adoption of all of their children.
Photos by Duane Darling