(Cassidy, age 3, two months after moving in with us, photo by Up Country Photography)
As many of you know, my oldest daughter Cassidy was adopted at the age of 3. I was 22, my husband 25. We were young and had not been actively looking to become parents. But sometimes things are just meant to be and that was the case. I want to note that this is really my daughters story and I asked her permission before posting.
Cassidy went into foster care at the tender age of 18 months. At the time, she was placed with a foster family that had adopted one of her birth sisters. She lived there for 18 months. It came time for her to be adopted into a family and the one she was with was not the right fit. Since my parents had adopted her oldest sister, they were contacted and asked if they were interested. My mom couldn’t see taking in a 3 year old (my oldest brother was 23 at this point!), but was willing to consider it. I had always loved Cassidy, from the first time I had met her at 18 months old. She was the sweetest little doll with big brown eyes and sweet little dimples.

When my mom told me that DCF was looking for a family for her, I immediately knew I wanted her. The problem was convincing my husband. At the time I was only 21, still in college and we had only been married 7 months! After mentioning my feelings to my hubby he immediately shot it down. “We are too young, you’re still in school, etc”. He had valid points but I was heart broken. 100% heart broken. For two weeks I moped around, teared up over little things and was just saddened that I wouldn’t be able to be this child’s mother, to give her the love that I knew I was capable of giving.

Meanwhile my parents continued to provide respite for Cassidy on weekends and were still considering adopting her. After two weeks I asked my husband if he would just meet her. That is all I asked – for him to go to my parents and meet her… and he agreed. And guess what? He fell in love with her as much as I did. She was 3 years old, had the biggest, brightest smile, and even though she had had a rough first three years of life, she was positive to the extreme. She had so much love and life and laughter. So we agreed, we were going to try to become her forever family.
The first step was to contact DCF and inform them of our decision. Luckily my family is well known in the DCF offices. We have 10 children in our family that were adopted. Because of our families they gave us, a very young, newly married couple, a chance. Obviously they were concerned about my age, so they set up a meeting at our house to discuss the possibilities. I remember the social worker coming in; she was an older woman, very serious and stern. We sat in our dining room and she grilled us. Apparently we passed with flying colors. She couldn’t believe how mature and grounded we both were, how sure of our lives we were, how well established we already had become at a young age. She granted us permission to start the application process. It was a lot of paperwork and background checks, fingerprinting and such. We did everything dutifully and were granted weekend visitations.

Each weekend we would pick Cass up from her foster family and we would keep her for the weekend. That lasted for a few weeks until we finally received the call that we were waiting for. We could proceed with the adoption application! She was to move in with us, we were to take the foster parent course, and she had to live with us for 6 months before we could finalize the adoption. On January 25, 2004, Cassidy moved into our home as our foster child. We had spent the weekend before painting her room pink and purple, moving in bunk beds and making it her special place. My best friend had even painted a watercolor Dora the Explorer which was Cassidy’s favorite cartoon that we hung on the wall!

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