Elizabeth was in Nebraska for work when she got the call. “We have a baby in the hospital,” said Monica, a Wayfinder social worker. “Can you pick her up tonight?”
This was the moment Elizabeth and her husband, Bryan, had longed for. They were going to become parents. After struggling with fertility, they decided to foster a child with the intention of adopting. They became certified through Lilliput, a part of Wayfinder.
DID YOU KNOW? In 2020, Wayfinder Family Services merged with Lilliput. As Wayfinder Family Services, we now serve more than 20,000 children and families across California. Our goal remains unchanged: do whatever it takes to give children the opportunity to be part of a safe, nurturing, lifelong family. Our commitment is unwavering: Our team is stronger than ever: with offices across the state, we have deepened partnerships, more resources and increased impact.
Elizabeth arranged to pick up Dovie the next morning, then boarded the first flight to California. “Bryan picked me up at the airport,” Elizabeth recalls, “and we went directly to the hospital to get Dovie.”
“WAYFINDER HAS BEEN AMAZING TO WORK WITH. DOVIE IS A WONDERFUL DAUGHTER.”
– Bryan, Dovie’s Father
Initially, the county wanted to reunify Dovie with her birth mother. “It was hard for Elizabeth and Bryan, but they were willing to help with reunification,” says Monica. “They really embraced Dovie as part of their family from the beginning.”
The couple learned that Dovie had been removed at birth from her mother, who could not care for a baby. “The birth mom was very kind,” says Elizabeth. “She seemed to want to do better for Dovie.”
Elizabeth and Bryan took Dovie for regular visits with her birth mom, who revealed that she had been in foster care herself. “She told us, ‘I wish I had a foster family like you,’” Elizabeth remembers. Later, as the birth mother thought she might not be able to fulfill the requirements for reunification, she asked, “Would you be okay with keeping Dovie?” Bryan told her, “Yes, we are 100 percent in.”
Then the birth mother asked Elizabeth and Bryan to adopt Dovie. Because the request had evolved over time, “It didn’t feel like we were taking Dovie from her birth mom,” says Elizabeth. They send monthly updates to Dovie’s birth mom, and Elizabeth is assembling a life book with photos of Dovie’s birth family.
Elizabeth, Bryan and Dovie went to court to finalize the adoption during the pandemic. “Dovie was very excited,” Elizabeth recalls. “She was running up and down the hallways.” More than a dozen family members joined a Zoom call to witness the joyous event.
When the judge announced that Dovie’s adoption was official, everyone cheered and clapped. Dovie said, “Hooray, hooray!”
“Wayfinder supported us in creating a family,” says Elizabeth. Bryan adds, “Wayfinder has been amazing to work with. Dovie is a wonderful daughter. In every sense of the word, we’re lucky.”
Support Wayfinder’s work with families like Dovie, Elizabeth and Bryan. Please consider a gift today.
December 8, 2021