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How to Support a Family Who is Adopting

Apr 25, 2018

April Fallon invites her mom, Mary, and her husband, Noah, to share what they have learned during their seven adoption experiences.

On this episode, you will hear how to support your adult children as they grow their family through adoption.

To start this episode, April takes listeners back to 2010 when they finished their first home study. The agency had told them it would be a couple of years before they were placed with a baby. After planning on doing their fair share of traveling, April suddenly got a call from their agency: there was a baby in the hospital!

For April’s mom, this all just happened so fast. One day she saw her daughter, then the next her daughter had a child. 

Mary says that it happened so fast, it took a while to get used to it, but she knew that God was in it, and that He was overseeing the whole adoption. 

April then asks her mom if she thought that she would struggle to love her daughter’s non-biological child. Mary said that the first time she laid eyes on AJ she couldn’t help but love him. There was never really a struggle.

April then recounts the tragic story of their first loss. They said yes to an older baby, a nine month old who was in the foster care system. The baby was sick when he came to their home so they took him to the hospital. The birth mother found out and became angry and aggressive in the process. She changed her mind about the adoption and the state came in. They found out the birth mother had been abusing the baby by starving him. April and Noah could not even foster the baby because she started to threaten them and the state felt her threats could make their home unsafe. While they were grieving this first loss, Mary shares how she felt during that period of time.

April’s mother said it was hard for her, and she was extremely worried about how aggressive the birth mother’s threats were. So once the baby was placed with another qualified foster mom, Mary found more peace.

Then, April and Noah were matched with Lily. April describes the match as wild. Noah builds on that description and calls the whole adoption an intense journey that they never thought would happen to them. 

During Lily’s adoption, drugs were involved, a lawyer was stealing money from them, Lily was sick, and then wait...the possibility they would not get her after all. Through the chaotic chain of events, April could at least count on her mother’s unwavering support. Lily’s adoption was tough, and Mary was definitely there for them.

But when they were first venturing into the unknown of Lily’s adoption, many people told them not to travel to Florida unless they had peace. April says that’s not necessarily true:

“This is a battle. Often times we’re going into a situation where we are fighting for that child. We are trying to change the destiny for that child. Sometimes you don’t feel peace. I am not saying that you never do. But I am telling you in this situation I did not.”

The next thing that April and Noah asked for was prayer warriors. April remembers going to her mom and asking for help from her church congregation. In addition, they prayed constantly, asking God for His strength and guidance.

April’s mom said it was a very hard moment for her, as well. She says that the only thing you can do is just pray and trust in God’s plan, and because we don’t know God’s plan for us, there’s not much advice that one can give besides trusting that He has a plan for His children. 

But because Mary was a part of the struggles, and she gave her unwavering support during those radical times, she was able to share in the victory of Lily’s finalized adoption.

April says that when you involve your parents in the adoption journey, and they can be ‘in it to win it’ with you, it’s a very special thing. Noah agrees, saying that the support they get from their parents really saves the day.

Soon, five months after Lily was born, April and Noah were matched to another birth family. The birth mother had been through a lot and was very broken. Seeing an opportunity to minister and help her, April and Noah traveled to Florida.

Even though the hectic elements of Lily’s adoption still loomed over Mary, she realized she needed to let go and support April and Noah.

April says they did not get that baby in December, though, because the birth father showed up, but they were matched with another child whom they fostered. They would find out that the baby had severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and was not a healthy match for their family long-term because of his intense needs. At the time, AJ was three and Lily was nine months. 

Noah and April relied on her mother a lot during that adoption. April herself had broken a rib, contracted bronchitis, and then was sick with pneumonia. It was a difficult period in their lives.

At one point, April wondered if she could keep their new addition to the family. They felt like they had failed and given up on the child despite their continuous efforts. Mary reminded her that they had saved the boy’s life, and that they were a part of his journey now. She made both of them feel like there was a purpose to the hardship. And sure enough, there was.

After they got advice from therapists and social workers they realized the little boy would heal faster in a home where he was an only child or with a family with much older children. Noah and April  helped transition him into a forever family who could meet his needs. Although painful, it was clear this was for the best. After healing from that situation, they got ANOTHER call. It was from the same birth mother where the birth father had decided to raise the child. She was pregnant again with a baby she guaranteed would be theirs.

They named the child Aliviya because the name means ‘peace’, and her adoption was an amazing experience. Then two years later, they got a call about a surprise baby, a biological sibling to Aliviya! They named the baby Maliyah which is the Hawaiian name for “Mary.” This adoption was the hardest for April’s mother because the birth mother was putting April through the ringer and playing games. Mary said it was hard to see her daughter go through that. But ultimately it all worked out!

Despite all of the struggles and hardships, April and Noah received support from Mary, and they trusted in God. There are so many important things to remember in this episode of ADOPTION NOW.