Starting the Process
Heather and Tim Hodes always felt called to adopt. Finally feeling the timing was right, they embarked on the foster care adoption journey. At first, in speaking with other agencies, they thought this may not be the right path for them. But after finding Arms Wide Adoption Services, they felt equipped to move forward.
“Arms Wide Adoption Services is a great support system. Don’t be afraid. They will guide you every step of the way,” Heather said. “It feels like you’re going through the process with people who have been there. Everyone has been so supportive and knowledgeable. It is obvious everyone loves what they do.”
Kids Deserve to Grow Up in Families, not Systems
The Hodes were initially selected for a sibling group. But eventually, the courts decided the children should live at their grandmother’s home. The Hodes were devastated, but they had done the mental and emotional prep work to prepare themselves for every outcome.
“We had to keep praying and reminding ourselves that in the end, it was what was best for the kids – not us,” Heather said.
Next, the Hodes were matched with Avery and Elijah. The matching process started smoothly, but Heather and Tim ran into issues with Avery and Elijah’s foster moms. Heather recalled every visit was somehow “not a good time” despite Heather and Tim being as flexible as possible. They knew in their gut something was not right. It was in these moments Heather and Tim realized how much Avery and Elijah deserved to be with them.
“We wonder how many other children are suffering in foster care,” Heather said. “We can only hope more families will step up to adopt these kids out of the system.”
Adoption Means Giving Kids a Chance at Happiness
Heather and Tim believe adoption is not about your expectations but is really about meeting the kids’ needs and providing a loving home for them to grow in.
“We knew going into this process that the kids may never love us back, may never attach, may have issues beyond our ability to help,” Heather said. “But we felt like we could provide a safe and loving environment in hopes that they will grow up to be the best person possible.”
Because of the trauma Avery and Elijah experienced, post adoption support services have been really important in giving their kids a second chance at happiness. Heather and Tim feel overwhelmed at times, but they are grateful, honored, and amazed at how far their kids have come.
“We are thankful we were able to get them out of the foster care system,” Heather said.
“And we are hopeful they can overcome their trauma and learn to trust again.”
Time at Home: Becoming a Family During COVID-19
Avery and Elijah moved in with the Hodes a week before the COVID-19 shutdown began. Although it’s been tough – including furloughs and career moves – Heather said she never thought they would have all this time to figure out the ebbs and flows of their new family unit. They have been able to witness all the progress in their kids. Like little moments of them healing, gaining trust, and being more open to love and support. All of these moments have made every challenge worth it and reaffirmed to Heather and Tim this was all meant to be.
Enjoying their time as an expanded family, the Hodes like to go hiking, biking and swimming, playing board games, going to the park, raising ducks, and so much more!
“Every experience is new for them,” Heather said. “They’re bringing more joy into things – like the holidays.”
Heather and Tim describe their family as tight-knit, giving, and supportive. They said they will always put their children first and will always be their strongest advocates.