Love isn’t always easy. It requires dedication and sacrifice and, many times, the person you love might not immediately feel the same way.
If anyone understands this, it’s adoptive parents. After all, it requires an awful lot of sacrificial love to welcome children, often from difficult circumstances, into your family and then build a parent-child relationship from scratch.
But there are plenty of special people out there who do just that. Here are two heart-warming stories about the love of adoptive parents.
Shamber Flore was exposed to gangs, prostitution, drugs, and abuse all before kindergarten. The children of a prostitute, her and her siblings’ lives were marked by instability. “We were dragged from apartment to apartment, never knowing what the next day would bring or what the next meal would be,” Shamber remembers.
Unfortunately, even after she and her siblings were taken into custody by Child Protective Services and placed in foster care, another kind of instability began. “I was bounced from family to family, and I almost never saw my brother and sister,” Shamber said. “Each time I came to a new home, I got my hopes up that this would be my forever family. But it always felt like once again, I was packing up my bags, moving on to the next strange place.”
But in 2005, Shamber did find her forever family. That’s when St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Michigan stepped in and placed Shamber and her siblings with the Flore family. “I quickly came to know them as mom and dad,” said Shamber. The Flore family provided Shamber and her siblings with the stability they so desperately needed.
Currently, there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system nationwide. Many of them will age out of the system before ever finding a loving home. Thanks to the Flore family, Shamber escaped the foster care system and found a stable home and, more importantly, a family.
“Finally, I was able to begin real healing,” writes Shamber. “I had a chance to lead a happy life. And in my new family, I’ve learned what love feels like.”
As a young child, TJ Magee experienced the kind of pain many of us will never have to endure. As her biological parents struggled with addiction, she and her younger brothers spent their early years just trying to survive. Even after being taken into custody by Child Protective Services at the age of six, TJ’s early childhood still left a scar on her heart that would affect her future relationships.
“Hands down, the most painful part of my story was the fact that I was not wanted,” said TJ. “When you have felt extreme rejection and neglect, it creates a framework inside of you that you see the world from that place of neglect.”
When Mark and Angel Magee adopted TJ, she was overcome with joy. But the new family still had a long road ahead of them.
Because of her painful past, TJ had difficulty forming a relationship with her adoptive parents. “I think as the hard work of actually building a relationship began, that brought up so much pain for me. I avoided anything and everything that would create intimacy or vulnerability,” TJ remembers.
But the Magees did not give up. With the support of their adoption provider, Bethany Christian Services, the family got the counseling they needed to work through TJ’s past and form a loving relationship. “Through that process, my adoptive parents sat with me in those emotions and that really started to form a bond with them,” said TJ. “And that allowed me to begin falling in love with them as my parents.”
As the Magees’ story illustrates, adoption is not over after the papers are signed. It takes a lot of work, sacrifice, and vulnerability to form a loving family.
The Flore and Magee families remind us of what true sacrificial love looks like. But neither of these stories would be possible without faith-based adoption providers.
Unfortunately, many such providers are being forced to end their adoption services. Some states and local governments are enacting policies that effectively shut faith-based adoption providers out of the market. Why? Because these providers want to place children with a mother and a father based on their beliefs about the best environment in which to raise a child.
That is why Alliance Defending Freedom has partnered with several organizations to form Keep Kids First.
Keep Kids First is a coalition of organizations dedicated to standing with faith-based adoption and foster care providers to ensure that every child has the opportunity to find a loving home. When faith-based providers are forced to cease adoptive and foster-care services because of their beliefs, it is the children longing to find a family who lose.
Keep Kids First exists for children just like Shamber and TJ. Because, after all, the only reason for an adoption provider to shut its doors, is because every child has found a loving home.