The Duda Family
I first started my journey to become a foster parent in the winter of 2016. Little did I know at the time what a crazy journey it would be. In May of 2016 I received a call asking if I could take in a 5 day old baby girl. What a scary thing it was for me to make that decision. I was a single woman working a full time job and I had not imagined my first call would be a newborn baby. With prayer and the support of family and fellow foster friends I jumped into the unknown and yes. And on the same day I said yes I was able to go and meet Rylee. After spending some time in the hospital Rylee joined me in my home. The next several weeks were a complete whirlwind of workers, visits and appointments. There’s case workers and CASA workers and doctors. I had no idea the amount of people that would visit my home, but it wasn’t long before the craziness of having a new placement died down and we settled in our life and routine.
Months began to pass and Rylee was growing into the happiest baby I had ever met. As is typical with foster care we had monthly visits with everyone involved in her case and we attended regular court hearings to update on the progress of her biological parents. It became apparent early on in the case that reunification may not be possible. All efforts were being made, but sometimes it’s simply not enough. I can distinctly remember the moment when I was staring at this beautiful little girl thinking to myself that I would be the luckiest person in the world if I got to love her forever….. well when she was 19 months old I became the luckiest person in the world and became Rylee’s forever mommy!
Adoption had never been part of my plan when I became a foster parent. I wanted to be a part of the team that supported families in their toughest times and helped them reunify with their children. I had never thought about what would happen if reunification wasn’t possible, but when that moment came there was no hesitation in saying yes to forever. I had fallen head over heels in love with a child born to another woman. Never did I wish for her biological mother to fail, but I knew for certain I would be there if she wasn’t able to be successful.
Adoption has truly changed my life. I know a joy and purpose now that I didn’t even know was possible before Rylee. Adopting from foster care is beautiful and wonderful, but there is also an element of sadness. Sadness for what was lost for that other family and sadness for what my daughter will someday know to be a part of her story. My happy ending is someone else’s loss and that fact isn’t lost on me. I will forever be grateful to the woman who gave my daughter life and I will spend every day of my life making sure Rylee feels as loved and special as she is. Foster care isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
Lisa + Rylee Duda