Three empty rooms to fill—and a lifetime of love to give
A mother from Virginia talks about helping the daughters she adopted from foster care thrive.
June 04, 2018
Jessica Busch says that she was born to take care of children. This belief first led her to become a kindergarten teacher. But soon she realized that spending eight hours a day with children was not nearly enough.
Once she was settled in her career and had a home on a quiet cul-de-sac, Jessica set her sights on adopting from foster care. While she was going through the training and home study process, she prepared her home for three children.
As soon as she was licensed, Jessica registered on AdoptUSKids. In her profile, she wrote:
I have three bedrooms set up for children already. I have a little girl’s room, a little boy’s room, and a baby/toddler room ready to be used—or changed depending on the child’s age or gender. I also have a playroom ready.
Finding a first daughter
Jessica was eager, but like most parents hoping to adopt, she had to be patient. Many inquiries and 14 months after she registered on AdoptUSKids, Jessica spotted Deborah, the little girl who would eventually occupy one of her empty rooms. Deborah was six years old and had a long list of diagnoses.
“I inquired about Deborah knowing that it was a longshot. In her profile, her worker said she was looking for a two-parent family. I later learned that she picked me because I am a teacher and she thought I could help meet her educational needs,” Jessica said.
Five years later, it is clear that Deborah’s worker made the right decision.
“Deborah’s worker and therapists said she might never feel empathy or attach. Now she is the most caring, kind child you could ever meet.”
And then a second
Shortly after adopting Deborah, Jessica was contacted by a social worker about four-year-old Chloe. Chloe came with a case file that included several challenging diagnoses. At four years old, she had already lived in five different homes and had difficulty trusting anyone.
Chloe also came with a mandate: the family that adopted her would have to maintain her relationship with her sister and brother, who lived four hours away.
That mandate created a friendship, as the families started having regular phone calls, sharing videos, and meeting at park near their homes several times each year.
“Our relationship almost feels like coparenting at times and has enriched our lives more than I could have anticipated,” Jessica said.
Today, like Deborah, Chloe has defied her diagnoses and progressed beyond the expectations of her therapists and others. Jessica says that the little girl who people thought might never fully attach is now “loving and cuddly” and held up as “a beautiful success story” by her therapist.
Secrets of success
When people ask Jessica about the progress the children have made, she is quick to point out that it is a journey and there will always be challenges. But she credits much of their success so far to the therapy the girls receive and to the family’s work with animals. Both girls participate in therapeutic horseback riding once a week, and together they care for dogs they are fostering or have adopted.
“Forming attachments with our dogs made the girls more open to attaching with people. And while I was afraid that fostering dogs might be traumatic, it helped the girls understand early on that while foster placements are temporary, adoption is permanent—and that they are never going anywhere,” Jessica said.
Room for one more
Earlier this year, Jessica spotted a 12-year-old girl on AdoptUSKids. In her profile, it says that her recruiter is looking for a single mom. Jessica is hoping that she might be the one to fill the third bedroom that Jessica has waiting.
“I feel like helping children is what I was put on earth to do. It’s such a joy to have them around. We have so many adventures together. Life would just be boring without them!”
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