Parenting

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to cry. My heart was breaking but you can’t just take him.”

Ed called the caseworker that night and worked out an earlier arrangement. They brought Jeremy home and both he and Eddy were adopted in August of 2009. At that moment, the Hart family was complete. However, two months later in October, they received a call that the biological mother of both Jeremy and Eddy had delivered another boy who needed a foster home until she was better able to care for him.

“I knew during that process that ‘foster to adopt’ has no guarantee because if the mother becomes worthy in the eyes of the county, he can go back. I knew I had to take him for visits, and it got easier as time went on, but it is awkward at first,” remakes Glenna.

The awkwardness may eventually go away as both parties get comfortable with each other, but there were many days where Glenna was afraid of losing her children. She cautions potential adoptive parents that it is a roller coaster of emotion.

“The biggest challenge is loving them and caring for them as your own but at the same time trying to protract yourself in the knowledge that they can go back at any time. When adoption day came, it was a huge relief,” she says.

In the end, the mother voluntarily signed her rights away for Kalven, provided that it was the Hart family that received custody. He became the Hart’s son on November 10, 2010 and they couldn’t be happier.

“Everybody always says to me that they are so lucky to have us and I say ‘no, we are so lucky to have them’,” says Glenna. “I feel my family is complete now. They are my children -I feel like I gave birth to all three of them, except without the weight gain. People say it’s a different kind of love but no –speaking as a mother who has two biological children, it’s the same kind of love.”

Now the boys are healthy, active elementary school students. The Harts have explained to them that they are adopted and all three understand the situation to varying degrees. Glenna says that she felt better after having had the conversation with her sons.

“They were questioning us. “There was some ‘schoolyard talk’, and we felt it was the perfect time to roll in the conversation. Kalven doesn’t really understand quite yet, but when he gets older we’ll explain more to him,” says Glenna.

The family that had seemed so small at first, continued to grow for the Harts, however, as their first grandchild, Ayden was born soon after they brought Kalven home. Their two granddaughters followed the next two years with Addalynne, 5 and Adryanna, 4.

“I always thought that I wouldn’t get grandchildren for a long time,” jokes Glenna. “Christmas at our house is very loud and very busy. But its fun and they keep me young.”

Sometimes Glenna wonders how she gets the energy to work full time, be a parent to three school-aged boys, as well as a grandmother. She has faced challenges, of course, as any parent of young children does, mostly to find the resources necessary to ensure her boys are growing up with their best opportunity to mature into responsible young men. Not knowing her children’s medical background is a constant handicap, as biological parents are not mandated to fill out a medical history form. This can be a problem in identifying and treating hereditary medical conditions.

“At first, anything that was going on with them, I was wondering if I should be getting them checked,” says Glenna. “But after a while, we just said ‘ok’ and took it day by day.”

Beside the nerve-wracking process of fostering to adopt and finding resources for children born with the affects of a complicated pregnancy, Glenna says that the challenges are no different than they are in raising any other child. The rewards, however, are many.

“My husband and I love them dearly. Seeing the smiles on their face and hearing them say ‘I love you mommy’ makes me feel so blessed. This was our destination,” says Glenna.

Glenna explains that people are wrong to surmise anything about a child based on their situation because all children, biological or adopted, come with different personalities, struggles and victories –whether it is raising girls versus boys or starting the parenting journey over, 19 years after your last child was born.

“You must deal with each child differently, whether they’re 2, 7, or 27,” she says. “We all deal with challenges every day in our life, whether its professional or personal, but if you open your heart and keep your mind open everything is possible.”

In light of this knowledge, Glenna also advocates for more parents to open their heart and their home to children who need both. She says that all you really need is an open heart. In short, all you need really is love.

Glenna notes, “I don’t think people understand how many children are in the foster system. All these kids are looking for are forever homes -Its not their fault that their life situation is such that their parents cant take care of them and there are not enough people opening their hearts for this. People say it takes a special person to do what we do and I say no, it takes a loving person.”

“I loved having the opportunity of experiencing raising both boys and girls. Now that I’m older, I’m tired!” continues Glenna “But I would not trade it for the world. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

For more information on how you can become a foster or adoptive parent, visit http://www.adoptpakids.org