Check Out Part One and Two
Finally Finding Their Forever
Heather and David Meet Olivianna and Joshua
A year later, Heather and David received the call they had been hoping for! Heather and David chose to meet at their adoption agency’s office, as it was middle ground for them and the foster mom. Heather described the room as colorful and playful with a mural of the sea. There was also a huge fish tank.
When the kids arrived, they raced toward the fish tank. Heather and David walked over to it with them and knelt down to talk about fish. They instantly connected and bonded over laughs and blown kisses to fish.
“So in love with these babies,” Heather thought to herself. “They have my heart.”
While mesmerized by the kids, Heather and David listened carefully to the foster mom and social worker share their history and needs:
- She is a picky eater, but getting better, while he eats everything.
- She is slow to warm up, but will tell you everything when she warms up to you. He instantly warms up.
- She loves to sing her ABCs, knows her colors, loves educational shows, and the color pink. He loves balls, trucks, and trains.
- She is potty trained and sleeps through the night. He is not potty trained yet and having trouble getting there.
- They go to bed at 8 p.m., wake up at 7 a.m., and take a two-hour nap every day.
- They both need everything, because they came into the system with nothing but the clothes on their back.
After spending more time together, playing Candy Land, bonding over fish, and looking at books on adoption, it was time to wrap-up their first meeting. Heather describes holding back tears, as the kids were confused and saddened by their departure. Heather knew how much sadness they had already experienced, and talked about how she didn’t want to leave them.
The First Visit
In a few days, they were able to see the kids again, and hang out as a family, just the four of them. They loaded up the car and went to the zoo. They got their first family photo taken together right as they entered.
“It is my favorite photo of all time in my life so far!” Heather said.
They fed giraffes, rode the carousel, visited the petting zoo, saw monkeys, elephants, zebra, and the red panda all before lunch. There were moments of insecurity, but Heather and David reassured the kids they would be there and keep them safe. It’s something they would continue to do long after this first visit to the zoo.
The Second Visit
The second visit, just the four of them, came after a picnic at the park with the Child Advocates volunteer. Heather and David took the kids to their house to show them where they would be living.
“This is your new neighborhood,” Heather told them. She pointed to the sidewalk, “This is where you can take walks with mamma and daddy.”
As they pulled onto their street, Olivianna recognized Heather and David’s house from pictures in their Life Book. She pointed at it and said, “This is my home!” Heather says she will cherish those words and her joyful smile for the rest of her life.
Together, they played games in their new playroom, and explored more moments that would be their new forever.
The First Week
After the first night, the process sped up. What was supposed to be a 6-week process until move-in turned into a 3-week process. The kids were allowed to move in with Heather and David immediately. Although Heather recalls walking the aisles of Target at midnight to get everything they needed, she knows it was the best thing for the kids and them.
Heather graciously shed light on her first week with Olivianna and Joshua by sharing a journal entry she wrote with us. Here’s our favorite highlight, which is an overview of what she learns about her new kids in the first week:
“Just finished first week as a mom of two precious toddlers. He wears a cape all day, every day. She wears striped tights and a pirate hat all day, every day. She loves to paint and to help her mom do dishes and put away cups. ‘I big girl,’ she says proudly all day. He amazes all the kids at the playground as he climbs across all the big boy equipment. Super baby indeed! They are so full of personality and energy and they smile and giggle and cuddle all day! There is not enough macaroni and cheese (which he calls nahnahnah) in the world for him.”
After describing her tiredness and her daily sobs of joy, she ends the entry by saying, “My heart will never be the same again,” and it wasn’t.
In August 2014, the day they had all been waiting for finally arrived. Since living with Heather and David for the past nine months, Olivianna had become fascinated with pink flamingos. The family would see them at Moody Gardens, and Olivianna would spend hours drawing them. After Heather learned the pink flamingo symbolized truth and balance, she thought it would be a fun way to celebrate their upcoming Adoption Day. Heather and David made a huge 6-foot long painting and hung it on the garage, while friends covered the entire yard in pink flamingos.
“We never got to have a pink or blue stork, but a yard full of pink flamingos sure was fun!” Heather said.
Then, they gathered with family, friends, and their social workers in Downtown Houston at the courthouse and Olivianna and Joshua officially became part of The Doyle Family.
Every year in November (the month Olivianna and Joshua were placed with Heather and David) and August (the month Olivianna and Joshua officially became Doyles), Heather and David take the kids to do something fun. This August, they planned a camping trip to celebrate!
More From The Doyle Family Next Week
Tune in next Wednesday for more from The Doyle Family. Next week’s post explores their post adoption journey and a short wrap-up.