Zack finds his forever family
We call Zack our “Joy Boy.” He has had the most incredible smile and laugh from the day we met him. He has far exceeded where doctors thought he would be developmentally and has completely thrived being a part of our family.
Zack was taken from his birth parents when he was 3 days old and placed into foster care with his one and only foster parent. When we first learned about Zack, it felt different. I don't know how to explain it. We had felt excited about several other children, but Zack just felt different. He felt like our son from the minute we first saw his face.
We have two biological girls, who were ages 6 and 9 when Zack first came home. Zack immediately took to having older sisters. He was very far behind verbally and was considered to have significant developmental delays. He only had a handful of words that he said, and was not able to put multiple words together. It was incredible to watch how quickly Zack began mimicking his sisters. It didn’t take more than two months for his speech to catch up and go even beyond what is typical for his age! His little brain was ready for a family, and it responded in a way that can only be described as amazing!
We quickly learned that routine was very important, especially at bedtime. We would do what we called our “3 B’s” which are bath, books, bed. We read him the same book every night, Goodnight Moon, and sing him the same song.
Zack has continued to have separation anxiety. We talk with him a lot about how we always come back to each other. One of his favorite shows is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. There is a song called “Grownups Come Back.” We sing it every time one of us leaves. Having those words to say has helped him so much. He even says them to us after he gets back from being somewhere - “See Zack always comes back!”
Another thing we have done from the very beginning when he has had a particularly emotional day is to have cuddle time on the bed. This is a time for just the three of us. Having time set aside for only him makes a huge difference in his emotions. We still use this whenever he is having a difficult day. It works every time to calm him down. These are the times that we have the best talks with him and hear him say some pretty incredible things!
I think our biggest hope for Zack is that he always knows he has been loved from the beginning. His birth parents love him, his foster mom loves him, and his entire extended family love him. We want him to have pride in the fact that he was adopted and chosen. Our hope is that he grows up to be a voice for other kids in the foster system, and a great story about how love and consistency can overcome any challenge.
I would tell anyone considering adoption to think hard about going through the foster system. Adoption is beautiful in any form, but there is something so wonderful about making a difference in the lives of the kids in your own community. There are so many wonderful kids all around us, in our schools and our neighborhoods, who have no control over the events of their lives. They just need a consistent family that will walk with them through life, and that they know will “always come back.”
Written by Ashlie Lynn, Zach's adoptive mom