A Holiday Update
May 19, 2020, was an unforgettable day for Julie. Four months shy of her 18th birthday, her adoption day had finally arrived. But this wasn’t your typical adoption. In the midst of the pandemic, Julie found herself face to screen with a judge as her adoption was finalized virtually over a video-call. With several family members, friends, supporters, and Kidsave staff all watching on, this beautiful moment unfolded.
“I’m an attorney. We don’t do anything virtually in my line of work,” observed Julie’s new dad, Delaney, at the time. “The fact that they were able to make this happen through the court system virtually was just huge for us.”
Julie Slattery-Miller (the last name is a combo of both her adoptive parents) had now “officially” found her forever family.
Kidsave caught up with her family in the lead up to Christmas via video chat. Julie, her mom Kelly, along with their two dogs, were the epitome of comfort, laughter, and smiles as they chatted about what they’ve been up to.
Julie’s been busy writing and reporting for Global Girls, a non-profit that works with budding female journalists, and doing photography. “We’ve submitted her for some contests and awards because she’s an excellent photographer,” says Kelly. Julie is also excelling in school, running track, and becoming a great tennis player.
In a year when spending time together is in abundance, Julie is learning to communicate her feelings with her parents and picking up on interesting things about them both. “I think it’s been a great opportunity to have this time,” says Julie. “Being at home has helped us all bond even more.”
Kelly and Julie share a laugh at what they have learned about each other during this time, like how Kelly can often be found talking to herself and to the dogs in the midst of a busy workday. Julie is also getting to see firsthand Kelly’s work ethic, “I know my mom’s very hardworking, but seeing that at home proves it more. I just see how frustrating it could be and how tough it is.”
Kelly and Delaney have also learned a lot about their daughter these past months. Julie’s younger siblings stayed with them temporarily, a big adjustment for the family. “Jules is very cool, calm, and collected, she’s a very chill person. She’s a very good sister and very nurturing. She would excel in any opportunity to nurture another human,” says Kelly. “She’s at an age where she paces herself emotionally in a very intelligent way and it’s really impressive to see.”
In October Julie celebrated her 18th birthday surrounded by the comfort and support of a loving home – a stark contrast for many foster kids. It was just in time to do something very important to Julie as she voted in the 2020 presidential elections! “We have video of going through all of the forms and then we dropped it in the mailbox, we cheered and made a big scene,” says Kelly. “I was so grateful and excited for her. I’m a Canadian so it felt like I was sharing the moment. It was very cool.”
Although Christmas will look a little different this year, the family is creating new traditions and reliving some old ones. Along with watching holiday movies, they have a special gingerbread house activity they do together. “We build it and then… we destroy it,” laughs Julie. “And then we eat it,” adds Kelly.
This holiday season they are especially thankful for each other. Julie now has a different perspective on family than ever before “Family just loves you the way you are, with all your mistakes,” says Julie.
Kelly agrees, “Julie is a perfectionist sometimes because she’s just an exceptional person and always wants to be her best. And when she’s not her best, it frustrates her,” says Kelly. “I just say she is perfect with her imperfections, and that’s why we love her.”