A few years ago, my husband, Jack, and I learned there was an urgent need for foster homes for kids in the Kansas City area (all over, really). We decided to apply for our foster parent license and open our home and hearts to kids in need.
Shortly after we completed the licensing process, we were introduced to an adorable — but very sick — two-year-old boy, who was in the system due to medical neglect. Thankfully, his life-threatening disease can be managed with good nutrition and regular medical care. He was placed with us on June 1, 2016.
The little boy was also profoundly deaf from birth and had no language at all. No attempts had been made to teach him sign language or explore options available, such as cochlear implants. I attended a deaf college right out of high school, and I retained enough sign language to begin the process of teaching him language. My husband and our teenagers began learning sign language right alongside of this little guy!
Once he caught on, he was so excited that he could express what he wanted like a drink of water or a snack, and someone would get it for him. After just a few months, his vocabulary and language skills skyrocketed. He was soaking up every bit he could and loving it! We eventually advocated for cochlear implants to give him every opportunity to acquire language skills in every way possible. He’s doing great!
Just a few short months later, on Sept. 12, we received a call telling us that a baby girl needed a home. She was exposed to methamphetamines while she was in utero. We brought home this tiny newborn straight from the hospital. All of us, including our little guy, were completely smitten!
After multiple attempts to reunify both of the kids with their biological families, court appearances, parent visits, therapists in and out of our home, we were asked if we would be willing to adopt the 2-year-old (now 3). Without hesitation we said, “yes!” After 548 days in our home, we were able to adopt this precocious, sweet and loving boy. Devon Elijah Elliston is now forever a part of our family.
Six months later, after the baby girl had been in our home for 639 days, we adopted our sweet and sassy Emerie Grace Aressa Elliston.
We feel like our family is now complete! But who knows who will be brought to us in the future. We shall see!