ADDING TO THE FAMILY: Giles opens heart to adopted daughter
Published 9:19 pm Thursday, February 13, 2020
At age 51, Jennifer Giles’ nest could be empty.
Her daughter is 23 years old and her son is 18.
So, there was nothing to tie her down. But, instead of spreading her wings, Giles listened to her heart and it lead her to do “the best thing” she has ever done.
Giles is the mom of a 15-month-old bundle of joy and she wouldn’t trade her station in life with anyone.
She quickly admits that there have been bumps in the road but “just bumps.”
The journey began with a tug at her heart.
“Loki is a foster child I met through school,” Giles said. “He is the sweetest little boy and he made me realized that another child would make my world complete. I needed a child to love. There is no love like that of a child and Loki made me realize what I was missing. He is the reason that I have this wonderful little girl in my life.”.
But with that love comes great responsibility and also with ties.
Giles knew she would be an older mom.
“Being a mother can be quite a job and certainly when you are an older mom with a baby,” she said and added laughing. “I knew people would think I was the baby’s grandmother and I would have to accept that graciously.”
But the tugging on Giles’ heartstrings grew stronger until there was no doubt in her mind that she was ready for another baby in her life. She began to prepare for that time.
She took a 12-week class necessary to become a foster parent.
When Giles completed the class, she was ready to foster a child and that child was a baby girl.
The main goal of foster care is parent reunification so most children in foster care will not become eligible for adoption.
“I knew and understood that,” Giles said. “I knew, as a foster parent, I might not have the opportunity to adopt but I was willing to foster the baby and love her no matter what.”
Giles brought “the most precious baby girl” home from the hospital on November 22, 2018, Thanksgiving Day.
“She was a preemie so I’d had to wait 22 days to bring her home,” Giles said. “She was so tiny and so very beautiful. I couldn’t even think about the possibility that, as my foster child, she could one day be gone.”
The baby girl was in Giles’ care for 400 days and then, Giles was blessed to be able to adopt her.
At 4 p.m. on February 4, 2020, Heather Olivia-Mae Giles became the adopted daughter of Jennifer Giles.
“Mae is named after my sister, Heather, who was unable to have children but wanted to be a part of the foster journey,” Giles said. “She was with me when I started the journey and the classes began shortly after she passed away. I’m sure she is the reason we were blessed enough to get Mae.”
Giles said so often foster children are in care for years as parents and relatives are investigated and found.
“With Mae, DHR looked for relatives in several states in an effort to connect with them and get them approved. It is heartbreaking that Mae will not have her birth family around but it is heart-lifting that we will be her forever family.”
And what a loving family it is.
Giles’ mom is Mae’s baby sitter while Giles, a teacher at Troy Elementary School, is at work, and her best friend all the time. Mae’s older sister and brother adore her and her home is her castle.
“We take life so easy,” Giles said. “We play and enjoy being together. We are a threesome – mom, Mae and me. We not in a race of any kind. We just trudge along in our own lane. Mae in her stroller; mom on her ‘wheels’ and me. Life is a joy that I never imagined.”
And, if Giles has any regrets, it’s only that she is 51 years and “that’s not long to be in this wonderful world with this wonderful family.”