Toddler adoption is always a bit different than your typically infant adoption. A lot of times Gift of Life gets to know these kiddos, and their moms, during the adoption process.
When I think of toddler adoption, I always think of one particular little boy and his mother. This is the story of Sara and Dylan.
Sarah was one of those people that you instantly liked. She had a good outlook on life and a laugh that I can still hear today. Her two year old son, Dylan, had the same contagious laugh. When I met him for the first time, he was in their motel room watching cartoons, eating Cheetos, and dancing in his pajamas.
Sarah was struggling with keeping a roof over their heads. Dylan’s father was no longer in the picture, so she was on her own. It was becoming harder for her to maintain work, as well as child care for her son. She told us that there had been a number of nights that they had slept on the streets together.
Sarah was familiar with adoption because she had previously placed another child a number of years prior. She saw how her other child got to go to the beach, and had his own bedroom. She also saw the siblings he had. She felt so proud to know that he was happy and had a large family. Sarah could see how happy and loved her child was that she had placed and wanted the same life for her son Dylan.
Sarah had thought about adoption for a number of weeks before calling. Calling is always the hardest part for most birth mothers.
Sarah wanted to place Dylan with the same family as her other son. She wanted the boys to have the opportunity to grow up together in an environment that, she knew, was loving and stable. She struggled with feeling defeated and guilty about not being able to provide for her son, but ultimately, she wanted more for him.
It takes a very strong person to realize that sometimes the best option means saying goodbye.
Over the next couple of weeks we worked together to transition Dylan into to his new forever home with his older brother.
We had the last visit at the park. It was a joy to see Dylan blossom. Dylan felt comfortable running around the park (still eating his favorite food, Cheetos) and bouncing back and forth between Sarah and his new adoptive mother. You could tell he was happy to be a part of both of their lives.
Sarah also got to visit with her older son as well. It was a blessing to see their conversations unfold into something that seemed so natural.
I will always hold a special place in my heart for Sarah and Dylan. She continues to call in periodically to check in and to see how everyone is doing here at Gift of Life. I admire her and her strength. She is an incredibly brave woman!
Adoption stories like Sarah’s remind us why we do what we do.