THE MAKING OF A RAINBOW FAMILY
This story begins on October 31, 1980, the day Mike and Michelle met on a blind date! It wasn't long before they were married on September 4, 1982. Baby Jack joined the family in September of 1983. In July of 1984, Michelle called the Adoption Information Center to inquire about adopting a special needs baby. She was advised to check into foster care instead since Jack was so young, they felt it wasn't the right time for us to adopt. Michelle had always been interested in foster care and adoption. Her mother's high school friend had taken in many foster children and adopted transracially and had served as a role model for Michelle. Mike had never even thought about fostering or adopting, but was eager to give it a try. We attended our first informational meeting at Catholic Charities the next month. We decided to go ahead with our plans, and we got our license in early 1985. The day we got our first placement call from Catholic Charities, was the same day we found out we were expecting our second child. We decided to wait until after our baby was born before accepting any foster care placements. Baby Drew was born in November of 1985. When Drew was six months old, we decided we were ready to give foster parenting a try and a 2 year old boy was placed with us. Fostering turned out to be much more difficult than we could ever have imagined! But we stuck it out and ended up fostering more than 30 children over a span of 14 years. During that time, we took several breaks to add two more birth children to our family. Steven was born in March of 1990 and Luke followed in March of 1992. We had always known that we would probably end up adopting at some point, and when Alex came to live with us in January of 1995 as a short term special medical needs placement, although the goal was return home, we decided to keep him long term. Once we had him for a couple of months, we knew that if things didn't work out with the return home goal, we would keep him forever. When Alex was almost 2, we decided it was time for another baby. We asked for another short term special medical needs placement, and on November 19, 1996, we received a call about a week old baby girl. We were told she was going to be going up for adoption, and at first we hesitated, because we didn't feel we were ready to adopt at that time. We went ahead with the placement and our baby girl arrived the next day. We knew we wanted to adopt her almost immediately! We decided to name her Hannah Michelle. When Hannah was still an infant, we began to discuss adopting another African American baby girl. We didn't want poor Hannah to be the only girl with 5 big brothers! We contacted Catholic Charities in late November of 1997, just days after Hannah turned 1. Two month old Shauna was placed with us in December as a pre-adoptive placement. Both of the girls' adoptions are final now, and we are thrilled. This is the short version of "the story of our lives". The detailed version would require a book! We have enjoyed our fostering and adoption experiences, but we have also had some rough roads and a lot of heartbreak along the way. Our family is now complete, and we couldn't be happier!