Today I would like to introduce you to a special young girl, Skyleigh, whose life has forever been changed through foster care adoption Learn more about foster care adoption and Bethany’s N.O.W (No One Without) campaign, and consider changing the course of a child’s life.
The journey of foster care adoption has no defined route. The right road is the one that is best for each child. It fits the circumstances, which are invariably unique. But as Stormie can testify, God specializes in “unique.”
It was the year of Stormie’s teaching internship, and her daughter Savannah had returned home from her first day of kindergarten full of talk about her new best friend. “For days and weeks, all I heard about was Skyleigh,” said Stormie, a single mother. “Then I went to an open house at the school, and I met Skyleigh, her twin brother, her two younger sisters, and her mom.”
Living near Stormie and her daughter, Skyleigh began coming to their house for weekends and vacations. “She would go everywhere with Savannah and me,” Stormie said. “I had her all the time.”
Fast-forward to the summer after Savannah’s second grade year in 2009. Due to domestic problems at Skyleigh’s home, Child Protective Services removed all four of the children out of concern for their safety. As CPS personnel gathered her siblings, Skyleigh ran inside, hid under the bed, and called Stormie. From the temporary sanctity of her hiding place, Skyleigh left a desperate message for her best friend’s mother, ending it with the heartfelt plea: “I need you!” Stormie adds, “In her mind, I was a safe adult that she could trust, and she knew that I would help her.”
The Department of Human Services contacted Bethany Christian Services, and the children were placed in two different foster homes: Skyleigh and her twin brother in one and the two younger children in the other.
While Skyleigh’s mom, a single parent, did her best to reclaim her life and her children, Stormie obtained her foster care license so she could offer her home as an option.
Then on August 27, tragedy struck: the children’s mother died in a car accident. “The foster care case manager called me,” Stormie remembered. “We all met at the Bethany office to tell the kids. Bethany invited the kids’ grandparents, the foster parents, the kids’ dads, me, the counselor, anybody who they thought the kids might need … they made sure everybody was there. I’ll bet there were 25 adults. I thought that was amazing.”
After discussing the matter with Savannah, Stormie took in Skyleigh and her twin brother, Jonathan, as foster children in March 2010. Younger sister Lily joined them in June, while the youngest sibling chose to live with her father. The next step was adoption, which was finalized for all three children in December.
It was a challenging move for a single mom, especially in the beginning. But Stormie found a mentor in Skyleigh and Jonathan’s original Bethany foster mother, who helped her to see God at work. “A year before any of this happened, I bought a house that had five bedrooms,” said Stormie. “At the time, I thought, ‘this is so silly. It’s just Savannah and me.’ But now I know it was part of God’s plan for our lives.”
A highlight of the adoption has been maintaining important relationships for the children. They continue to see their mother’s parents and their youngest sister regularly. “And if they choose to see their dads, I’m open to that,” Stormie said. “Bethany really worked hard at making sure the kids were placed with a family that was committed to maintaining those relationships.”
For single parents considering foster care adoption, Stormie advises, “You have to reach out for support more when it’s just you parenting. And you have to be able to look inward at yourself; if I knew then what I know now, I would have kept a journal and reflected more.” And certainly, there is much to reflect upon. Stormie’s five bedroom home rings with children’s voices and laughter. A wonderful ending to a story that began with two little girls who were the best of friends.
To learn more about adopting a child like Skyleigh, call 1.855.485.NOW1 or email NOW1@bethany.org.