Adoptive family welcomes children home

Published 10:57 pm Thursday, February 18, 2010

February is foster and adoptive parent awareness month, and if there’s any family that demostrates just that, it’s the Pattersons.

Derrick and Tanya Patterson are the adoptive parents of 14-year-old Shamera, 3-year-old Antonio and 2-year-old Benjamin, through the Pike County Department of Human Resources.

The Patterson’s began their journey as foster parents nearly a decade ago, and they adopted the children as soon as they were legally available.

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“We have had Shamera since she was 6,” Tanya Patterson said. “She was already in the family, but we wanted to make it legal. The judge advised us to go through DHR.”

Shamera was fostered by the Pattersons for two years before she was legally adopted.

Patterson said it didn’t take long before the family knew Shamera was a part of it. “Oh, we always knew.”

Patterson felt the process was long and stressful. “You know you want the child, but you’re not sure if you’re going to get her.”

But the adoption process, filled with worry and doubt, is worth it in the end.

“It was great,” Shamera said, with a thumbs-up and a smile.

Antonio and Benjamin were welcomed into the Patterson home in a much different way.

“We got Antonio straight from the hospital. He was only three days old,” Patterson said.

Similarly, Benjamin was four days old when the Patterson’s brought him home from the hospital.

“Getting them at birth made the process so much easier,” she added.

Because the Patterson’s fostered Antonio and Benjamin from birth, they had first choice to adopt them once the children became legally available.

“We may foster again in the future, but we probably will not adopt,” Patterson said. “Children are expensive.”

The Patterson’s admit that “it takes a special person” to become a foster or adoptive parent. “You have to genuinely care for the child,” she said.

Unfortunately, some people decide to get into the program for financial reasons.

“There are only a few financial benefits, so you really have to love the child,” she added.

“There are so many children in the community in need of good parents, guidance, and love.”

And her advice to those considering or starting the foster or adoptive process? “Pray, stay in contact with your social worker and just do your best to love the children.”

“We didn’t intend to have a family,” Patterson said, “But these children are a blessing from God for us.”

The Patterson’s proudly display a family portrait in the living room.

Despite the fact that they are not biologically related, the Patterson’s, like many other adoptive families throughout the state, exhibit a sincere love for each other.

“I’m not any different than any other kid,” Shamera added. “I’m just very blessed.”