The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

November 19, 2012

Families give and get a lot when adopting a child

OTTUMWA — The kids we adopt aren’t lucky. We are.

David Goodman was one of the guests at a National Adoption Day event at the Wapello County Courthouse early Saturday. He said adoptive parents receive as much as they give, or perhaps more.

He told a nearly full courtroom that there are lots of reasons people give for not becoming a foster parent. But there are kids in Iowa who need a loving home, either for a few weeks or forever.

He and his wife, Aprile, the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) coordinator, started fostering kids in need many years ago. Their first placement was only for a little while.

The boy’s name was Isaac, he recalled, and when Aprile came outside with him, he was squinting against the light. The boy’s previous guardian believed he was “allergic to the sun” and kept him away from sunshine or even most light. A bright day was overwhelming for him.

Since it was just a fostering arrangement, he left after a few weeks. Aprile and David missed Isaac. They wanted him back. In the end, they adopted him. He’s 18 years old now, yet David insisted Isaac was not the lucky one. David was the lucky one because he has become a better man.

“I am a different person today because of Isaac Goodman,” he said.

Saturday was a day to celebrate adoptive families and to create new ones across the nation. Juvenile Court Judge William Owens formalized five adoptions, and the Clerk of Court opened her office so the shift from foster family to adoptive family would be official.

“You do invest a lot into them,” said Heidi Hughes of Eddyville. “A lot of time and love.”

She and her husband, Nick Hughes, adopted a son officially on Saturday. They already had a biological son and four daughters. They’d been a foster family, but the couple knew they’d like to adopt.

“We’ve always talked about having six children,” Heidi said.

After five, she’d been pregnant enough, she said. They’d also tried twice for a brother for their son. By adopting, they were able to choose a boy.

“My husband and I thought there’s enough children out there who need a home,” she said.

Yes there are, said Judge Owens. The Hawkeyes are getting ready to play football in The Big House. Instead of 100,000 fans, picture 100,000 children waiting for a home. That’s the number in the United States.

In Iowa, there are more than 6,800 children in the foster care system. Of the ones cleared for adoption, about one in three will never be adopted.

Robert and Shari Bowman of Fairfield went into the courtroom with their attorney on Saturday. The couple was adopting two children, a boy and a girl.

Of the five adoptions Saturday, Owens said, “All of these children will celebrate their Thanksgiving a little early.”

Bob Bowman said they’d just started out as foster parents, wanting to do some good. Two and a half years ago was when their new son and daughter came to stay for a temporary visit.

Bob was asked if, during more than two years of caring for these children, he remembered when the family decided to make it a permanent arrangement.

“For me, it took me a little longer to realize than it took Shari,” he acknowledged.

OK, so how long after the children’s arrival did it take his wife to realize these should be their children?

“About two hours,” he said.

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