Growing up, Treacy always knew she wanted to adopt through foster care, and specifically always wanted to adopt older kids. She knew many people who adopt are interested in younger children, and too many older children age out of foster care without ever being adopted. As a music teacher, Dan is around kids all day, but wasn’t sure he’d ever have any of his own. But when he and Treacy met in 2004, her vision of adoption convinced him they should eventually grow their family that way. Once they were both ready, they called DCF and got the process started.
Shortly after they became licensed as pre-adoptive foster parents, they came across Jocelyn and Henriz on the MARE online photolisting website, where the siblings (then 10 and 12) were listed as being legally free for adoption. Dan and Treacy informed their social worker of their interest, and met the kids in person at an adoption party a short time later. Initially nervous about the possibility of being adopted, Jocelyn was more shy and reserved than her brother, who was personable and outgoing. Although they were initially envisioning one child, a girl, they were open to other possibilities “if it was perfect.” As soon as they met the siblings, they felt, “They’re definitely the ones. They were amazing. It just seemed like they were right for us.” Dan and Treacy saw the bond the brother and sister had. “They were so loving and supportive with each other, that we could see it was crucial to keep them together.” Having been in foster care for almost 4 years, the kids were matched with Dan and Treacy, and they transitioned the siblings into their family about a year and a half ago.
Jocelyn was initially anxious around men and wasn’t able to have a comfortable conversation with Dan for at least the first six months she lived with them. After a year she was finally able to call him “Dad,” and the two continue to grow and deepen their relationship. Unlike his sister, Henriz was initially “an angel,” putting his best self forward constantly. Not unusual for children in foster care, Henriz was worried if he wasn’t perfect, his new family would send him away. He finally settled in more and was able to share more of his whole self. It was then his parents realized Henriz had some special needs that no one had been able to identify before. “It was hard at first, but you could always see a light at the end of the tunnel.” Both the children now have the supports they need to reach their full potential, with the stability of a loving and engaged family.
Because she always wanted to adopt older children, Treacy has long thought about what it means to become a parent to a child with an entire history of experiences. “It’s kind of sad thinking about not being able to see them when they were little kids, and thinking that they must have been so cute. Or wishing you were there in the stories they tell of their childhood,” she admits. But Treacy sees significant positive aspects to welcoming older children into her life. “They come in with so many different experiences, both good and bad. We all have different backgrounds and different knowledge. We can learn and share from each other in a way that you might not be able to with a biological kid. We’ve watched shows, eaten food, and been exposed to so much more than we would have otherwise.” Just as they’ve asked Henriz and Jocelyn to make the necessary transitions to living with a new family, Dan and Treacy have welcomed the opportunity to expand their own views and experiences to make the transition to being parents of these two amazing kids.
Nine months have passed since Henriz and Jocelyn became a forever part of Dan and Treacy’s family through adoption. The day was emotional for the whole family, and it was a great relief. “We no longer had to live with the fear of them being taken away.” As they continue to settle in together, the parents have continued to notice that the kids resemble them more than they ever would have thought. Jocelyn is artistic like both her parents, though her personality and interests are more in line with Dan’s. Henriz’s personality is similar to Treacy, though he and Dan are both very into video games and share a love of sci-fi movies. Treacy describes them both as “genuinely very kind people,” which is also true of their parents.
Treacy says, “Now it really is amazing. It feels like we are a cohesive family. There are definitely issues that arise, but they feel very much like normal family issues. We’re Mom and Dad. Adoption is definitely very challenging, but incredibly rewarding. And it’s definitely hardest at first when everyone transitions. But it’s worth the effort and it doesn’t take long to start reaping all of the rewards.” The family, who lives in Western Massachusetts with their four cats, has had such a positive experience, they all look forward to expanding again through adoption, when the time is right.
Thanks to Monesson-Olson Photography for providing the photography for this gallery post.