Today is Adoption Day: Introducing the Smith Family!

November was National Adoption Month, and though it’s December 1, we have one more adoption story to share.

My wife, Jenny, and I have been together seven years and officially have one kiddo. I say “officially” because we are foster parents and we never know how many we will ultimately have. We have been fostering for two years. In that time, we have had the joy of fostering four kids. 

The Smith Family (left to right): Jenny, Cash, and Ashley

Always wanted children

My wife and I have always wanted children. It was one of the first big conversations we had as a couple. We both realized quickly that we were on the same page about wanting kids.

When we first started dating, I already owned a home. It was perfect for me and my dogchild but we soon realized that “my” house wasn’t “our” house.

Searching for a family home

Shortly after we were married in 2018, we began looking for a family home we could grow into. The search was tough. Every home we liked ended up selling before we could even get inside to look at it. I remember one time we were on our way to an open house and when we arrived we were told it had three offers already!

Ashley and Jenny Smith
Ashley Smith (left) with wife, Jenny (right) on their wedding day in 2018

After countless disappointments and home tours, Jenny and our realtor, found a house that I actually was not into at all. I had no desire to go see it. We wanted a basement, this one had a loft instead. Then, the day came and we went to look at it. It was perfect! It had four bedrooms, a fenced in yard for the kids and dogs to play in, a great neighborhood, and it was across the street from all three schools that our future kids would attend. So we made an offer and it was accepted.

Did I mention that our closing date was pretty much the day that the world shut down due to the COVID pandemic? Our closing date was literally the day the world found out about COVID and everything shut down in 2020. We did not know if we were going to have a rental truck or if our closing would actually be able to happen. Thankfully, we worked it all out with a great team.

Now we had the home that we always wanted and it was time to fill it.

Becoming foster parents

While Jenny, a middle school counselor, was working to earn her mental health certificate from Butler University, we also were navigating the process of becoming foster parents — and in the midst of COVID.

Most of the classes normally hosted in person were now via Zoom. We felt like we missed out on some of the in person training and getting to meet other foster parents in the process. But luckily we have friends who are foster parents. When we got stuck or had questions, they were there.

The entire process took us almost a year to become licensed.

Our first placement

In June 2021, we were excited to receive a call. It was for a little boy. At the time, we were told he would be a reunification placement and would go home eventually. He was four years old and had two younger brothers but who could not be placed with him.

He and his brothers had already been in four homes in three months.

When I first saw him, he looked very scared and quiet. He was so tiny and had a shaved head. He spoke so very softly. I got down on the ground with him and played cars. He barely spoke.

My wife talked with the case worker while I kept him occupied. We learned his favorite food was Hot Pockets and that was due to the fact that the family had to microwave their food. After being with us for a few weeks, he ate all types of food. Anything you put in front of him he would eat.

He grew to be part of our family and we quickly realized our little guy came with lots of trauma.

Navigating kindergarten

That fall, kindergarten started and we were worried about how he would adjust. We were thankful to find several teachers at his school who had been adopted or been in foster care. We found people who could truly understood what we were going through.

In the middle of all of this, my wife was offered a new school counselor job at the school across the street from our home. This was a huge blessing. She was able to work next door to his school and build work relationships within the school corporation. And she was able to be at his school within a minute if there were issues. 

It’s a ‘framily’ affair

Over the time he’s been with us, he has bonded with us and our extended family. He loves all of his grandparents and his ‘framily’ (friends who are family), aunts, and uncles. He loves his big family and everyone loves him.

And now it’s December 1, 2022 — our adoption day. 

Over 30 people joined us for our court date to support our little guy, including his brothers. We have built an awesome relationship with them and their soon-to-be adoptive parents. 

Our little guy sings when he plays. He says he is happy. He has found his voice and he uses it!

His favorite things are going to the beach with Grandma Brenda, Aunt Monique, and Uncle Eddie. He loves going to the cabin with Grandpa and Great Grandpa and watching Billipi with Grandma Julie and Poppy. He has such a sweet relationship with my Grandpa that we have decided to name him after him. 

The amount of the love we have for this child is beyond any explanation. We are so happy to be his moms forever. We hope everyone who wants to experience this joy is able to. 

Foster care can be tough on the kids and tough on the families, but in the end if you are patient, it is worth it for everyone. 

Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith

Community organizer, advocate, wife, and mom living in Indiana