Nicole and Douglas Death celebrated the one-year anniversary of adopting their foster child, Christopher, on Thursday, Nov. 17, two days before National Adoption Day.
Christopher was the first of seven foster children that the Deaths have cared for in the past two and a half years. He entered their home at 3 months old and is now 2 years old.
“As long as you have love in your heart, you can be a foster parent,” said Nicole Death.
Since many of the foster children that the Medford family has cared for have special needs, the Deaths have created a room in their house dedicated to occupational and physical therapy. Their toys and tools are either purchased with their own money or donated to them by other foster parents and people in their community.
The Deaths say the foster care system can be very irregular, so they must be prepared at a moment's notice for a new child. Douglas said, while most people get nine months to prepare for a new baby, foster parents may need to be ready in a few hours.
Along with this need for readiness comes the uncertainty of how much time they have with their foster child. Nicole and Douglas say it’s upsetting to say goodbye to their foster children, but they find solace in the fact that they are leaving for a home where they will be safe and cared for, typically with relatives.
“The first year goal is to reunite with families, but unfortunately that doesn't always work out,” said Nicole. In Christopher’s case, he became a candidate for adoption and the final six months of his foster care were focused on just that.
When the process was finished and the documents were signed, Douglas and Nicole said they felt relief -- they no longer had to fear a phone call taking Christopher out of their care.
“From the second this child looked up at us, it was like this is where he was meant to be,” said Nicole.