Amber never dreamed she would be a single mom to four beautiful girls through adoption and a foster mom to a fifth girl, but fate had other plans.
In 2007, Amber’s parents became foster parents to two adorable red-headed toddlers, Melinda and Lydia. As she sat at her parent’s dining room table entertaining the girls while her dad completed paperwork, Lydia came over to Amber and asked to sit on her lap. The bond between the two was instant. Lydia’s previous caretaker was shocked because Lydia was not a child who easily accepted new people, due to the trauma and loss she had endured in her young life. But her caregiver did provide Lydia with “My Growing World” lifebook which aided her healing process greatly, and helped to open her young heart to others.
A few months later, Amber learned that Melinda and Lydia’s biological parents’ rights had been terminated. She realized she could not imagine her life without the two girls and decided to train through Iowa KidsNet to become a foster and adoptive parent.
In the end, Amber adopted Melinda, Lydia and their older sister Avery. Avery had originally experienced difficulty finding a forever home due to her nine mental health diagnoses combined with intellectual challenges. Again, the Adoption World publication “The Real Me” which is geared toward the tricky teenage view point, was critically important in Avery’s development and transition processes.
“She would have ended up aging out of the system,” said Amber. “I could not bear that knowing I could help her to become a productive member of society. I am thankful for the publications my girls have been exposed to. I appreciate their previous caregivers’ insight on how much lifebooks can help our children.”
In 2012, Iowa KidsNet reached out to Amber again to foster newborn Isabella, who she later adopted as well. Amber is currently also fostering Isabella’s biological younger sister.
Throughout the same six years, Amber has also lost her home to the flood, gone through a divorce and lost her mother to a rare medical disorder. While the girls have brought her joy through the hard times, they have also brought challenges. Each of her daughters has a mental health diagnosis and two are developmentally delayed.
Looking back, Amber says, “We don’t know what life has in store for us, I’m just following God’s playbook.” Amber takes each day one hour at a time and her daughters are thriving as a result.