Adoption’s rewards well worth opening a home
Citizen Telegram Editor
Opening a home – and a family’s heart – to adopt a child in need may be something relatively few people consider. But it could be one of the most rewarding moves and decisions, according to two Garfield County families who have welcomed young children into their homes and families.
With the need for foster and adoptive care families always present, both families said the experience is well worth the effort and time.
Wisdoms welcomed their grandkids
Kim and Mark Wisdom of Battlement Mesa adopted three of their grandsons when they were toddlers. Alex is now 18, Brenden is 17 and Dawson is 14. All were removed from the care of their parents by human services agencies and were in what is called “kinship care,” or homes of relatives, Kim Wisdom said.
“The goal is to eventually reunite the kids with their families, but that didn’t happen,” she added.
The Wisdoms adopted Alex in 1999, Brendon is 2004 and Dawson in 2007.
Kim and Mark Wisdom have been married for 26 years and have raised, or are raising, 10 boys. Some were from their previous marriages, others were born to the couple, along with the three adoptions.
“I always wanted to open an orphanage and help unwanted kids,” Kim Wisdom said. “I guess I did. It’s just my nature to want to help.”
Brenden, who was born in Texas, said he thinks of his adoptive home as “just my home.”
“It’s been tough sometimes with money woes,” he said. “But she’s my mom, my only mom and that’s just the way it is.”
Brenden has had contact with his biological mother, Kim Wisdom said.
“That was something we wanted the boys to choose to do if they wanted,” she added. “But we were there when they did, too.”
Kim Wisdom said the adoption process was lengthy, so advised any families going through the effort to be patient.
“You just have to remember there are a lot of children out there who need people,” she stated. “It can be hard, but if you trust in the system, it eventually comes through.”
Kim Wisdom praised human service workers, including Susan Garcia, family resource unit manager for the county Department of Human Services in Rifle, for their help during and after the adoptions.
Financial help is also available to qualified families, Kim Wisdom noted, along with tax credits.
All three of the Wisdom’s adopted children had abuse and neglect issues shortly after they were born, Kim Wisdom said, so the couple needed help to support the children, along with their medical bills.
Now, the Wisdoms are like any other family.
“We do lots of family things together and we’ve always tried to convey that family is important,” Kim Wisdom said. “At times, it can be very trying and frustrating with some of the hoops to jump through. But all in all, it’s worth every bit of that.”
“I have my whole life to thank her for my life,” Brenden Wisdom said. “Without them, I’d probably be dead now.”
adoption experience “quicker than we thought”
Cherri and Mike Wall of Rifle adopted a six-month-old girl in 1988, Michelle, who is now 25 years old. They also had two children of their own: Peter is now 33 and Katie is 31.
“We were like a lot of young married couples,” Cherri Wall said. “We didn’t think we could have our own kids, but it turns out we could. But when we started to look into the adoption process, we decided to go through with it.”
“We read in the news at the time about the Adoption Exchange (a Colorado-based nonprofit adoption organization that started operation in 1983),” added Mike Wall. “Things moved ahead quicker than we thought.”
Cherri Wall said the couple was initially told to not expect to adopt a baby, but one became available. The adoption process took about six months, she added. The family had to undergo physicals and a case worker interviewed them several times.
Michelle was born in a Larimer County foster care home, Cherri Wall said, and was quickly accepted by the Walls’ own two young children.
“It wasn’t a major concern to not have them accept her,” Cherri Wall added. “They made a poster to welcome her to the family. At that age, it was really like having another baby. We didn’t think we were doing this wonderful thing. We just wanted more kids.”
Cherri Wall said there were not nearly the hurdles, delays or expenses throughout the process as they initially thought.
“A lot of our concerns turned out to be unfounded,” Mike Wall said. “And there are always risks with your biological kids, too.”
The Walls were there when Michelle met her biological parents, too.
“Some people asked if we were worried we might be replaced when she met her biological parents,” Cherri Wall said. “Not with the history we had with her.”
Today, Michelle is a first grade teacher in Greeley and recently married.
“She wasn’t a perfect child, but she wasn’t a bad child, either,” Cherri Wall recalled.
Mike Wall said the couple wouldn’t hesitate to adopt again, if they were younger again.
“But three is enough,” he added, with a smile.
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