We knew early on in our relationship that we wanted to have kids and began exploring adoption not long after we were married. We were interested in adopting school-age siblings and after adopting our first sibling set, Kevin and Alexis, we were delighted when the opportunity presented itself to us again. Nikko and Jonathan, brothers, joined our family not long afterward. We wanted to get out of the city and move our family to the country where the children could have the opportunity to raise animals… bunnies, horses, goats, chickens, dogs and cats. It has been a great experience for all of us. It was initially an adjustment bringing our children into our family. There were so many things that they were exposed to at such young ages, and things that we took for granted that were new to them - like teeth brushing and family meal time. We took all the parent training classes we could since we had never been parents before. Since we’ve adopted, we have continued to attend classes with other parents because we have found them to be so valuable. We work hard to allow each of our children to be their own best version of themselves and we couldn’t imagine our lives without them.
In 2015, the Tapp family started an adoption journey that would forever change their lives and the lives of others. They found Lilliput, where they were matched with a social worker that would help them grow their beautiful family. Lilliput, through its class offerings and one-on-one counsel, would help the Tapps determine what they could reasonably support as a family.
“Getting honest with ourselves was challenging,” says Michelle. “I didn’t want it to feel like I was shopping- there are kids that need parents! I learned that it’s really about looking deep down inside to find what Chad, Gavin, and I are able to provide.”
Two days after the Tapps became a certified adoptive family, Lilliput wanted to know if they would consider two brothers, ages 5 and 8.
“That was…unexpected,” laughs Michelle. “We went through this soul searching process and decided that we would be able to provide for a single child aged 0-3, and this was quite different.” But they went all-in and met Ezyah, 8, and DeAngelo, 5. A year later, the boys and the Tapps found themselves together as a family, with another delightful surprise. Their cousin, Aniyah (8 years old) asked if Michelle and Chad would be her parents! They learned later that Aniyah didn’t have a bed to call her own and she ate only during school hours - at school. Lilliput helped the Tapps adopt a new, beautiful daughter.
In talking about what life is like now, Michelle says there are ups and downs, but mostly ups.
“There are usually some issues that the kids bring with them, left over from their previous upbringing,” she says. “But Lilliput has so many wonderful programs, classes, and support that really help us get through it. Lilliput’s been instrumental in helping us to create and even maintain a loving relationship with the boys’ birth mom, Cristal. That’s so important - they don’t have to lock that part of themselves up and not talk about it. They can allow it to be a part of them."
I’d raised my daughter Shahlah, who was now in her 20’s, and felt like I would enjoy raising another teenager. One day my social worker introduced me to a beautiful child who was 12 years old and had been in foster homes the majority of her life. While we were getting to know each other, I was introduced to her older brother Anthony. We hit it off and, together, we decided it would be great if I adopted him. He has asked that we not show a picture of him since he doesn’t want people to know that he is adopted, so I respect that. I can tell you that he is a handsome young man who looks like he could be my biological son, and he is doing very well in school and has a strong relationship with my daughter. As you can see, I am very proud of the fine young man he has become. I continue to keep my relationship with his sister as a loving adult in her life and we will see if at some point she too wants to be adopted. I feel so blessed to have met these children and learned quite a bit through the parenting classes. It’s also given me the opportunity to be a resource to other families who are considering adoption. My advice to you if you’re thinking of adoption is this – it's not easy but it is worth it!
David and Jocelyn Romero were open-minded. They wanted to adopt, but they didn’t confine their search to a specific age, race, or number of children. Instead, they put their trust in their social worker and waited patiently for her to find the perfect match. Their dreams came true one day when they were introduced to Maria and Estefania, two sisters aged 14 and 8 at the time. It’s been seven years since the girls entered the picture — five since they were officially adopted — and the Romeros have come to realize that they’re not so different from other families. They take vacations, they play board games together, and they look out for each other when one of them needs support. And now, the Romero family is growing again. David and “Mama Jo” are entering grandparenthood as Maria expects her first child, affectionately named after Jocelyn. David has shared his family’s story at Resource Family Approval orientations with the goal of convincing potential adoptive parents to consider adopting older children and teens like they did. “I often describe parenting a 14-year-old kid as jumping on a rocket at full speed,” he says with a chuckle, but the reward that comes from parenting has made every difficult moment worthwhile. Read the Romeros’ full story here.