As a young child growing up in multiple foster homes, Abby dreamed of a forever family – parents and siblings who would provide her with unwavering support and cheer her on as she built the life she wanted to live.
At the same time, Joe and Dee were saying goodbye to their two biological children as they grew up and moved out of the family home. The house suddenly felt too big for just the two of them, and they wanted to give back to their community as they entered this new chapter of life.
Now, Joe, Dee, and Abby have each found what they had always been looking for.
Ten years ago, Joe and Dee decided to become licensed foster and adoptive parents, providing safe, loving homes for western Iowa children. They fostered eight children and eventually adopted four. They had already adopted two sons by the time Abby came into their lives. When they met Abby, they knew she was a perfect fit in their family.
“We had originally planned to foster for a few years, but the kids came to our home and we fell in love with them,” Joe says. “The kids bless our lives. I wish people knew what kind of family you can have through foster care and adoption, and how much love these kids have to offer.”
Abby was officially adopted into Joe and Dee’s family. Since then, she has openly shared her story at local National Adoption Day events. She wants to raise awareness about foster care and adoption in her community.
“Some people out there have a bad idea about kids in foster care or kids who were adopted,” Abby says. “I just want them to know that we’re not broken. We just need a home.”
Since finding her forever family, Abby has also found her passion and she is looking ahead to a bright future as she prepares to graduate high school. Shortly after being adopted, Abby was inspired to join a community wrestling program and has since become a top high school athlete in the state of Iowa. She has received top honors at several national championships and recently won at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament. Last year, she received the top honor of Athlete of the Year for girls’ wrestling from the Des Moines Register’s High School Sports Awards.
And every step of the way, Joe and Dee have been there to encourage her to achieve her goals. Abby hopes her story can inspire other kids looking for the same loving support system she has, and she wants to encourage other families to take the leap of faith to become foster or adoptive parents.
“To other kids out there in my situation, there is hope,” Abby says. “You will find the perfect family that will give you all their love and care for you, no matter what.”