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A village and divine intervention - A teen adoption nearly eight years in the makingDate: 01/12/2017
By Keith Metz
Children and Family Services Communications Specialist
2,310 days. 24 caseworkers, aides and support staff. Three adoption specialists. One family to say yes. “It Took a Village." These words adorned shirts worn by Arkansas Department of Human Services staff at an emotional adoption finalization hearing Tuesday for a young man who had grown up in foster care and his new family.
Dawn and Brad Bailey had no intention of ever adopting. They were parents to three children, two of whom were in college. Adopting a foster child was never on their mind. All that changed, however, in November 2015 when divine intervention led them to meet a young man named Chase and the dedicated Department staff who had worked so hard to bring him to that point.
It was Thanksgiving 2015, and television station THV11 had just shown a new episode of its “A Place To Call Home” adoption awareness series. This episode focused on a then 15-year-old named Chase, who's now 16. He had been in foster care since 2009 and wanted more than anything to find an adoptive home before he aged out of foster care.
Friends began texting the Baileys.
“Brad was in the woods hunting,” Dawn said, “and two friends texted me about the television show.”
They said there was something about Chase that made them think he’d be a perfect fit in the Bailey family. The next day, another friend texted about the episode and Chase. At this point, Dawn and Brad knew there was something special at work here.
“It really is a God thing how it happened,” Dawn said prior to the adoption. They knew God was calling them to open their home to Chase. They watched the TV special and found Chase’s adoption profile on the Arkansas Heart Gallery (www.adoptarkansas.org) and the Project Zero website (www.theprojectzero.org). They decided that weekend to do whatever it took to adopt Chase.
Adoption Specialist Haley Casey was preparing to board a plane when her phone rang. Chase had been helped by many agency staff during his years in care. They all had supported him as he often struggled with how to process the abuse and abandonment that had brought him into foster care. It had not been easy, but they all had done their part to put Chase in position for success. Haley had gotten calls about Chase before, but each time she detailed his struggles, the families withdrew. Haley expected this call would end similarly.
“The moment Dawn told me she wasn’t afraid of the effort needed to help Chase,” said Haley, “I knew she was the momma I was looking for.”
Chase knew, too. Haley vividly remembers a phone call from Chase where he told her, “I think they’re the one.”
Over 50 people squeezed into the courtroom, and as the hearing concluded lots of laughs, hugs and tears were shared between those who had been at Chase’s side over those 2,310 days. With a final stroke of the judge’s pen, Chase gained a new family … and added a few new members to his village.