Jeremiah was just 4 years old when he entered foster care. Jeremiah and his older sister Moneh were hoping to find their forever home together. After 7 years, the Department of Children and Family Services was unable to find a permanent home for them both and ultimately had to make the difficult decision to separate the siblings, hoping to increase their chances of adoption.
At age 10, Jeremiah began to attend Kidsave Weekend Miracles events where he met two people who would change his life forever. “I first met Sam and Milton at a Kidsave party in a bowling alley,” Jeremiah says. “We played games, bowled and hung out. We even had pizza and fruit!” Jeremiah had deeply longed for a family to call his own and loved learning everything about Sam and Milton. “They had doggies and I wanted to meet them. And they like food as I do!”
Sam and Milton heard about Kidsave from their early experiences researching organizations that help match children with families. Their adoption social worker and their foster family agency encouraged them to consider attending a Kidsave event, so they could start meeting some of the kids who needed homes and network with other adults who could offer guidance and wisdom. Sam and Milton recall that first meeting: “We met Jeremiah at the beginning of the very first Kidsave Weekend Miracles open advocacy event we attended. Before we started bowling, the kids and adults mingled around board games. I stopped by the table where Jeremiah was chatting with another adult to say hello.” Jeremiah asked Sam to join him in a game of Connect Four. Milton joined later and Sam says, “it was like love at first sight” for them both.
“We were ready right then and there to adopt him… we wanted him to become part of our family,” says Sam. Sam and Milton’s first thoughts were of disbelief. “Why was this adorable child here? How had he not already been snatched up by another prospective family? … Looking back, it seems that sometimes, something is just meant to be, and when you are fortunate enough to make that kind of meaningful connection with another human being, you take full advantage.” Jeremiah felt the same way and taking the next step, the three wrote each other’s names down on a form to show they would enjoy spending more time together.
“At the next event, a few weeks later, we spent more time together and we realized we were ready to move forward to adopt him,” Sam recalls. “Near the end of that month, we received a call from our adoption worker saying the county wanted to match us with Jeremiah. We were overjoyed to hear the news.”
In late March, Sam and Milton attended a presentation on full disclosure and decided formally to move forward with the adoption process. For about eight weeks, they hosted Jeremiah for weekend visits, and in mid-May, Jeremiah decided he wanted Sam and Milton to be his forever dads and was placed with them full-time.
A couple of months had gone by, and everything was as wonderful as Sam and Milton had dreamed it would be. “He’s an amazing kid and fits in so nicely with our family.” Jeremiah had limitless energy and loved to play with their two Chihuahuas and chickens.
One of their biggest surprises in adopting Jeremiah was discovering aspects of their personalities related to parenting that they hadn’t realized were there. “For instance,” Sam says, “I am generally more of a taskmaster and analytical by nature and Milton is more emotionally warm and fuzzy.” As parents, they are the opposite. Sam had a hard time holding back from spoiling Jeremiah, working hard to establish expectations and boundaries, whereas Milton “is really solid at laying down the law.” Together, they made a great parenting team. Jeremiah loved everything about them. “They are sweet and loving and caring,” says Jeremiah.
Sam and Milton look forward to showing and teaching Jeremiah about the world. They are excited to introduce Jeremiah to the rest of their family who lives out-of-state. But most of all, they are excited about starting new family traditions with Jeremiah during the holidays and helping him succeed in school. “Little did we know that we’d meet the most amazing little guy in the world on our first event and that he’d be coming to live with us only 5 months later,” says Sam. “Kidsave events are incredibly positive,” he added. “They do a wonderful job of organizing activities that are fun, active and allow for a lot of socializing, so kids and adults have an opportunity to mingle and get to know each other. The system of following up with more intimate events for families and kids who want to spend more time getting to know one another works well.”
Jeremiah is now able to see his sister Moneh often since he moved in with Sam and Milton; their relationship is very strong. For Sam and Milton, family means people who are always there. “Family is also something that can take many and unexpected forms. Family can come from places you never expected.” Their advice for those looking into hosting or adoption is to take a chance. “Dive in and see what happens,” says Sam. “Kidsave offers a lot of great ways to make a huge difference in a child’s life without having to make more of a commitment than you are ready to make… there are still other ways like mentoring, volunteering or even hosting a child… that will make a difference to someone… Show up to an event. You may be surprised at what you discover.”