Wholeness Healing Today

Angels in Adoption Story -The Kevin Brown family Guest Writer, Ann Greving Brown, MSW

(Kevin and Ann Brown recently received the National Award for Angels in Adoption)
Chaotic and crazy would be two words that accurately describe the Brown gang. Notice that angelic is not one of the words to describe us, even though we have numerous angels that surround our family.

Kevin and I decided to become foster parents after several years of waiting for another baby. Our first two children, Courtney and Chandler, thought the idea of foster care was wonderful and they were more than willing to share their rooms and toys. On our preference sheet we agreed to take three children three years and younger. Our trainer said we would never get our request because the need was for the older children. Little did he know! Two weeks after we finished our coursework, Kim Wagner (a friend and an HHS caseworker) called to see if we would take a couple of little boys for a few days of respite. I can still remember testifying in a court case, anxiously waiting the moment I would meet the caseworker at the daycare to receive these little boys. Mikey, who was two years old, bounced out of the napping room with a huge smile, but unrecognizable words. His eyes lit up with glee as he ran to hug me. His eyes were blue and his belly round. He had beautiful dark brown hair. I apprehensively moved towards the diaper changing area to find Chris, who was only 8 months old. I will never forget the first time I connected with the darkest brown eyes I have ever seen. It was love at first sight! These two little people made my stomach do flips. They made my heart race with joy and my feet tremble.

As I drove home I called my husband and bragged about how beautiful they were. He chose to pick up Courtney and Chandler from school so they could help him pick up bottles, diapers, formula, etc. I am sure there were screeches of elation in that pickup. That night we took them to Chandler’s wrestling meet. There Mikey and Chris were introduced to grandparents and basically the community.

Within the week we were introduced to Mikey and Chris’ older brother, D.J., who was just dismissed from the hospital from plastic surgery to repair a burn. Within 12 days of receiving the two littlest boys, D.J. was placed in our home. D.J. was a gorgeous blue-eyed, blonde-haired little boy who looked so much like my husband.

Only three months later, the caseworker announced that the parents would most likely be relinquishing their parental rights. She asked us to consider the idea of adoption. As for me, the fit was tremendous. I couldn’t see my life without them. They were mine. I loved them with my whole heart. It wasn’t long and the rest of the family followed suit.

By May 2004, the adoption was finalized. As the family stood behind the judge for the adoption day pictures, the judge commented about my very pregnant belly. Yes, indeed, the baby we waited for had decided to arrive only a few months after the adoption. We now are a family of eight. This was not they way we would have planned our lives, but God has his own plan.

To say this was an easy foster care/adoptive experience would be a lie. These three little boys came with lots of needs: physical, emotional, educational, etc. D.J. was burned severely on 10% of his body as he had climbed on top of a gas stove. He has had numerous surgeries to repair his little body for better functioning. That hasn’t been easy. The burns and the subsequent medical treatment has produced a great deal of trauma and anxiety. Mikey came speaking nonsense. We couldn’t understand even one word when he first came. Now he speaks in paragraphs. And our beautiful baby, Chris, was the calmest and best baby I have ever seen. He is the live-wire of the home and he lights up the room with his huge smile.

Courtney and Chandler have undergone a lot of adjustments, too. They have learned the harsh lessons of sharing time with their parents, eating out less, and doing family vacations much differently. This has turned their lives upside down, but they wouldn’t trade their little brothers for anything. As for Clark, the new baby, he too, has had to learn how to share a very busy mom.

Currently the ages of the children are: Courtney (11), Chandler (10), D.J. (6), Mikey (5), Chris (3), and Clark (1).
Back to all the angels surrounding our family. There are the two sister-in-laws who have given us so many hand-me-downs and listened to my cries and joys. There are the grandparents who have provided respite care so we can breathe. There are the grandparents who have weeded my flower beds, washed the clothes, and cleaned out closets. There are the friends and my sister and brother-in-law who have given me so much support. We have been wrapped with prayer by members of our church. We are very blessed to have this rich support network.

This honor really belongs to the community who have supported us. It really belongs to the family, friends, daycare providers, Headstart teachers, family therapist, and caseworkers who have touched our lives in this process. It hasn’t be easy, but it would have been impossible without them.

Thank you on behalf of my family and support network for this huge honor.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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