Clarksburg, W. Va.,
05:00 AM

Part of the Family

Adoption is when the healing begins.

There are nearly 438,000 children in the U.S. foster care system.

Several decades ago, Stephanie Hayhurst-Hall was one of them.

“I grew up knowing I was adopted and I always wanted to give back,” says the Clarksburg, W.Va., State Farm® agent.

Stephanie was adopted from the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. Six years ago, she and her husband, Jason Hall, decided to become foster parents through the same organization. The couple and their 5-year-old son, Carson, opened their home to two children.

“The adoption process can be emotionally taxing,” Stephanie says. “I can say that because I was adopted. You have to figure out how to deal with that your whole life. And there were times I didn’t feel good about it.”

A 7-month-old boy spent a bit of time with the family before permanently moving in with his biological grandparents. An 18-month-old girl found her forever home.

“We still have a relationship with the little boy and his grandparents. His grandmother sends us pictures so we get to see him grow up. It was so rewarding to help him reunite with his grandparents and still be a part of his life,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie and Jason got the call about their now daughter, Sophia, about two months after reuniting their first foster child with his grandparents. Their home is a foster to adoption home, which means any child they receive could potentially lead to an adoption.

“When you foster to adopt, you get a call out of the blue and they provide you with very minimal information about the child. You just have to follow your heart and take a chance,” she says. “The legal process to determine if the parents’ rights will be terminated to the adoption process took almost two years.”

Stephanie was open with her son about the adoption process and has been honest with her now 5-year-old daughter about her own experience.

“My parents were always open with me. When I was 5, I started asking questions and they answered them honestly. My children deserve the same honesty,” she says.

“It took several months to become a certified foster parent and Carson went through everything with us. We wanted him to understand that many children don’t have parents, shelter, clothes or toys. We wanted him to be empathetic with the children he goes to school with who may not have the things he has,” Stephanie says.

“As I’ve gotten older, I now realize what a gift adoption was, and I hope my daughter feels that way, too.”

The Hall family just moved to a new home and are feeling settled enough to begin the process of fostering again to adopt another child.

“We’re at a place where we want to welcome another child. We have the space in our new home and will be able to help a child who will be a good fit for our family.

“Adoption is a wonderful thing, but it often comes from a loss. A lot of children experience trauma, and adoption is where the healing can begin.”

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