It really would take a whole book to explain in more detail about our family’s adoption story, but I wanted to take a moment to give you just the highlights in our Family Journey.
- December 1996 — Brandon (aka DadZookeeper) and I got married!
- September thru November 1997 — We completed our MAPP class (state-required training for foster care and adoption in Kansas.
- August 31, 1998 — Finalized our 1st adoption (3yo boy, now 21)
- April thru September 2000 — Our first “informally adopted” daughter lived with us for this short time and returned home to biological family
- June 12, 2001 — Finalized our 2nd and 3rd adoption (10yo boy, 9yo girl, now 25 & 24)
- May 20, 2002 — Finalized our 4th adoption (14 month old boy, now 15yo)
- 2003 thru 2006 — I returned to college. We faced major challenges with then 13-16yo boy, and we believed we were done adding to our family through adoption.
- Fall 2006 — Shockingly discovered first son’s two older siblings were awaiting adoption…and…
- September 6, 2007 — Finalized our 5th and 6th adoption (19yo girl, 16yo boy, now 27 and 24)
- April thru July 2008 — Met, fostered, and grew to love our second “informally adopted” daughter and her sons
- June 25, 2008 — Officially became grandparents to first “informally adopted” daughter’s first child and she came back into our lives permanently after an 8-year absence.
- March 9, 2009 — Finalized our 7th adoption (6yo girl, now 14)
- June 2009 thru January 2010 — We experienced a failed adoption of newborn twin boys whom we still love and pray for over six years later. God used this experience to open our hearts to more children and…sure enough…
- December 27, 2010 — Finalized our 8th, 9th, and 10th adoption (7yo twin boys & 5yo boy, now 12yo twins and 11) and breathed a sigh of relief…total of 12 children!
- 2011-2013 — We launched our full-time nonprofit ministry, Project Belong, and we adjusted to new careers, new hometown, and a new way of life.
- March thru May 2013 — Provided “informal” kinship care for three grandchildren (4yo boy, 3yo girl, and 1yo girl) and we also met another new granddaughter in March 2013 at the age of almost 11 months old who began visiting with us in our home often.
- August 2013 — Three grandchildren above returned into our home, formally in kinship placement that fall with the goal of reintegration
- October 24, 2013 — Legally adopted our first “informally adopted” daughter (informally at 14yo, age at legal adoption 27yo, now 30)
- December 2013 — Little granddaughter mentioned above also moved into our home in kinship placement with the goal of adoption
- January 2015 — A fifth grandchild entered our home in kinship placement with the goal of adoption. Now, we were up to 11 children in our home!
- July 20, 2015 — Finalized our 11th adoption (3yo girl, now 4)
- October 26, 2015 — Finalized our 12th adoption (3yo girl, almost 4)
- Coming Summer/Fall 2016 — We will be finalizing our 13th, 14th, and 15th adoptions (almost 8yo boy, 7yo girl, almost 5yo girl)
- 15 adopted from foster care + one adopted as an adult + one informally adopted = 17 children
Now, we do not like to ever say that we are “done” because it seems that every time we say that God sends us more children! We do only have 2 more seats in our current vehicle so we are feeling very, VERY content with what we have right now. *holding my breath*
As we wait to see what God does there, we do have a ton of grandchildren and in-laws and other informally adopted loved ones. If there is ever a chance for us all to get together, the count is well over 30 people. It is quite chaotic, and we can’t ever get everyone together all at once. It’s our normal. It’s loud. It’s messy. It’s not always beautiful or lovely, but it’s our family. I have a decorative plaque in the living room that says, “Others may call it crazy, we call it FAMILY.” That is my Zoo, the Hoffman Zoo. They are the ones who have made me MomZookeeper. I think I’ll keep them around.