To the Brown Family, Sarah & Emily
by Amanda Fisher Sarah and Emily* have been in foster care most of their lives, Sarah coming into care when she was 1.5 years old, and her sister Emily placed at the Brown home at birth. (*names have been changed to protect confidentiality.)
Their birth mother was lower functioning, and while CFS tried for years to support
her in every way possible, there was little progress. An attempt at reunification with birth mom took place, removing Emily from the only parents she had ever known, and Sarah from the parents she had lived with for over two years. However, after three short months, they were placed back into our foster home, causing even more trauma.
Both Sarah and Emily have struggled with trust, bonding, attachment, and overall development because of the uncertainty in their young lives. Sarah spent 1,547 days (4.2 years) in foster care and Emily 1,403 days (3.8 years), finally being adopted by their dedicated and loving foster parents, the Browns, on 4/26/21.
When adoption day finally arrived, I wanted so much to celebrate this event in person with this family. With courts still meeting via Zoom, I decided to share my thoughts about this journey in a letter to the Brown family, and to Sarah and Emily to read once they are older. You can read it below.
And to celebrate this occasion, I happily painted a watercolor (see below) in honor of the new family. In a field that is often categorized as broken, inefficient, and overreaching, this day I get to celebrate. Many nights I lay awake, wondering and worrying about the future of our children in our care. Today I sleep a little better, knowing that these two have their forever home.
To the Brown Family:
While I have always been very open with you throughout this never-ending process, I am hoping to use this as a reminder of everything that you/we/the girls went through to get to this point. And given the lack of platform at the actual adoption, I wanted something tangible for you to revisit if/when you would like.
First, I am compelled to give you all of the gratitude that lives in my heart. I’ve said it a million times, and will always say that you deserve this happiness now, and for years and years to come. What you went through to finally get to call Sarah and Emily yours, was undeniably horrific. Many people and/or foster parents would not have survived and would have given up on them. Your love for them was never questioned, by me or anyone, and the battle you fought for them will never leave me.
There is no doubt that this is cause for the biggest celebration, but when times get hard and dark (let’s not even talk about the teenage years!), I know deep in my heart that you will always fight for them and love them until the end. Sometimes when we create forever families, there is doubt. Sometimes, as a worker, I lay in the dark wondering if I’ve done, and fought for, the right thing. I need you to know, that I will never question if your home, and your love, was right for Sarah and Emily. Thank you for giving me hope—hope for more fearlessly loving foster parents who fight until the very end.
Lastly, I hope you never doubt who you are as parents and I hope you always remember the impact you make. But mostly, I hope for the brightest of days, filled with only love and happiness.
Sarah and Emily—
As you read this, I imagine you somewhere much older than you are today, learning to process and understand who you are and where you have come from. So let me start….
While you were so little when we knew each other, and the memories might be gone now, Ms. Amanda asks that you please always know the impact your tiny little hearts and hands made on people who are, quite possibly, strangers now. One day, I hope you are able to see how selfless and completely full of love and dedication that your mom and dad are. And I can only pray that you know just how hard they loved and fought to make you theirs.
Sarah, I hope that you learn to trust and let yourself fully love and accept all of those who love you. May you find forgiveness for those who have caused you pain, and the heart and power to make your life exactly what it is meant to be.
Emily, I hope you never lose that sparkle in your deep brown eyes—the one that melts every person you meet. Ms. Amanda hopes for only happiness and love as you continue to grow into the beauty that this life can provide for you.
As you girls move forward, may you both be strong, sassy, and important. Move mountains, my darlings. And I pray for days that you thank God for your family and the world that we all fought so hard for.
Forever and ever,