Hi, my name is Tracy Dee Whitt. My husband, Justin, and I have adopted two children from foster care. We adore them and we can’t express what blessings they have been in our lives. They both have special needs. Our daughter’s stem from her early life of neglect and trauma, and our son has Autism.
Besides having a full and exciting life, I am in the process of writing a book that focuses on improving the lives of adopted children, with special focus on the neglected and abused.
My husband and I were married in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2007 that we decided to grow our family through adoption. We began with applying for a China adoption, but soon found the wait at the time to be extraordinarily long. My husband, thoughtful soul that he is, had the great idea to do foster care in the meantime. Obviously he wasn’t thinking of me, because I had no interest in foster care whatsoever. It scared me to death. I was like an old dog being pulled to the vet, I wasn’t moving. I knew there were children who needed someone to love them, but like so many other people, I worried about the problems that would come with fostering. I didn’t believe I was a strong enough person. What if I got attached and then I had to “return” them? Could I handle a worker from the state being in my home every month? What if the children hurt my animals?
One day I found most of my fears no longer existed (and there had been many). I can only attribute the turn in my perspective to God. Since my husband isn’t blessed with the gift of nag, it wasn’t him.
We signed up for the eight week course the Department of Human Services in our county requires foster parents to go through, and anxiously awaited the day a child would be placed in our home. Little did we know that day would come so soon. Our daughter came to us the day (in 2008) we received our certification. I was jumping out of my skin with excitement, calling friends and family, panic shopping for everything an infant would need.
When her other foster-mother walked up our sidewalk holding Payton, I was already crying with joy. I fell in love before I held her in my arms.
We had to take Payton to visits as DHS made efforts to reunify her with her biological parents. Many parts of the process were heart wrenching, but one year (in 2009) after she came through our door, she was adopted into our family forever.
You ask whatever happened to the China adoption? We stopped the application because one month after Payton’s adoption we got a call about a three-month-old boy who needed a home. No one would take him because of his biological parent’s extensive history of mental health issues. How could we say no to a baby?
Once again, I fell in love immediately. The state made great efforts to reunify him with his biological parents, but it didn’t work out and a year-and-a-half after we met him, we adopted him (in 2011).
Both of our children have special needs. Our daughter has multiple diagnoses due to her early neglect and trauma (RAD,
ODD, PTSD, and a Mood Disorder to name a few). Our son, Jeremiah, began life struggling to survive, from the beginning we knew he was delayed. We worked with speech and developmental therapists, and when he was almost three, Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder were finally mentioned.
*You can view my opinion of diagnoses/labels in just my opinion on “labels”.
I always referred to adopting as “our journey,” but I have come to the realization that our lives are a journey with so much purpose. Our children’s struggles didn’t end within months of the adoption finalizations. We have the good, the great, and the ugly thrown at us all the time, and we hope that we are learning something in the midst of the ups and downs. Our hope is to share what we have learned with anyone who will listen, because two is better than one on this expedition, and I am glad you have joined us!