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Meet the Woodward Adoptive Family from California

While raising their three young children, Patricia and Judson (“JJ”) Woodward decided to explore their long-held desire to adopt. The couple believed JJ’s experience as a teacher and Patricia’s presence as a full time mother would provide abundant nurturing to a hurt child. Only one obstacle stood in the way - finances. The couple mistakenly concluded they could not afford adoption on a teacher’s modest salary. Their perceptions were corrected when their pastor educated them about adoption through foster care and referred them to Sierra Forever Families.

“Adoption is a great way to grow your family!” 

Patricia and JJ now proudly introduce their five children: Caleb, age 11; Bailey, age 7; Levi, age 5; Barrett, age 2; and Kristopher, age 1. Patricia explains, “We did not plan on a 5th child, but when we learned of Kris we realized the importance of keeping these biological brothers together.”

Barrett arrived to the Woodward home at the age of 3 months. Kris came as a newborn. Each boy was technically “in foster care” for an additional period - Barrett for 16 months and Kris for just under a year - before they could be adopted. The Woodwards had been misinformed “by an overwhelmed caseworker” about the situation that caused these delays. (They had been similarly misinformed about a previous child they had fostered and hoped to adopt.) Due to these experiences, the Woodwards ask policymakers to increase child welfare funding to ensure each child’s situation is given the attention it deserves.

Now that the legal situation has been resolved, the Woodwards are able to fully relax and enjoy the antics of their newest sons. Patricia writes, “Barrett means ‘bear power’ and our little guy lives up to that name. He is loud, active, and a little grumpy. Kris, on the other hand, is generally easy going, smiles constantly, and loves to cuddle.” Kris’s mischievous side emerges when he steals Barrett’s paci er and then runs away laughing when brother screams.

Various therapies have helped these little boys with challenges from their difficult starts in life. Barrett has received behavioral therapy services. Kris has undergone medical treatments due to his premature birth and low birth weight. In addition to his initial stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, (NICU,), he had to be hospitalized for a week at age 2 months due to a respiratory infection.

Speaking of Kris’ hospital stay brought up a sad memory for the Woodwards. The twin sister born with Kris passed away a couple of weeks later. Child Protection Services’ policies prevented the couple’s presence in the NICU. Not having been able to meet, hold, and bid farewell to the child they would have welcomed as a daughter is still painful to them.

Asked about post adoption benefits and services, the Woodwards express great appreciation for the Federal Adoption Tax Credit, which helped them undertake home improvements that benefit the children. They also found the therapy through Sierra Forever Families helpful. They have been less pleased with the medical and dental providers covered by Medicaid.

Asked about the role of faith in their adoption decisions, Patricia writes, “Compassion and love are the most important values we teach our children. Adopting is a great way to model these values and to grow your family. It is also exactly what we believe God called us to do.”