An empty nester, Michael had raised two daughters on his own, and then focused on his business, which required a fair amount of traveling. Over the years, though, he realized that he missed having kids around. Fortunately, since Michael owns his own business, he was able to restructure his work and travel so that he could settle down and buy a house. Then he started exploring adoption. Michael knew he wanted to adopt an older child – he’d been through the baby stages before – and his heart was drawn to a certain child’s profile on the Indiana Adoption Program website. He spent a lot of time praying and seeking wise counsel before deciding to inquire about this young man. Michael went through the interview process and was chosen by the boy’s team. After a time of transition, Jaylen moved into Michael’s home as a pre-adoptive placement.
We asked Michael what he learned through the adoption process. “Patience! Not only patience with the child, but with the process in general. This involves a child’s life, and every decision has to be carefully considered.” He also learned not be afraid to ask questions when something doesn’t make sense, and to take full advantage of the resources and support offered. But, Michael says, “the number one most important thing I’ve learned is to be there for the child. Give them as much time and comfort as possible. Trust is the basis for making progress with kids who have suffered trauma. There’s no better way to build trust than spending time and a lot of effective listening. Many of these kids have never had a voice, and when you give them that voice, their whole attitude towards life changes.”
Jaylen’s adoption was finalized in July 2022. Michael uses phrases like simply amazing, committed to guiding us patiently, constantly supportive to describe Jaylen’s team, which included an adoption consultant, an FCM, a CASA, Jaylen’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, and so many more. From the start, there was no shortage of committed individuals.
Michael’s advice to people considering adoption? “Put your seatbelt on because it’s a rollercoaster ride. Definitely the most challenging and rewarding journey I have ever been on. There are many ways in this world to make a difference, but nothing will ever compare to changing a child’s life. When you’re able to watch a child who has given up hope take off like a rocket and flourish in all they do, you’ll never look at the world in the same way.”