One of the most important pieces of the adoption process is support. Support from friends, support from family, and support from one’s greater community are the pillars needed to bolster any adoptive family. Susie Buckley realized this early on in her journey through the adoption process.
Susie’s path to adoption started years before she began the actual adoption process. “It was always something that was on my radar,” she explains. “It was just something I knew I wanted to do.” After more than a decade of being a professional nanny, Susie understood what it meant to be a full-time caregiver. However, she was afraid that her hectic work schedule would prohibit her from dedicating the time required to raise a child.
It took some support from friends to convince Susie to seriously start looking into the possibility of adopting. They began to ask her, “Why can’t you do it now?” and, “Why wait?” This gentle push from the people she cared about was the impetus to finally begin her research.
A surprising piece of information that Susie learned early on was that children who are fostered and adopted are eligible to have their health insurance and college paid for. The myth that adoption is incredibly expensive is one that Susie quickly debunked through her research and it immediately made the reality of adoption more accessible.
It wasn’t long before Susie picked up the phone and called MARE. Diane Tomaz, MARE’s former Director of Family Support Services, answered the call. “Diane was the first person I ever spoke with. She answered some of the general questions that I hadn’t been able to figure out through my online research,” Susie explained. After her conversation with Diane, Susie immediately applied to become an adoptive parent, and it wasn’t long before she found herself in a MAPP class, offered through Cambridge Family and Child Services. Susie began to regularly peruse MARE’s Waiting Child Profiles online.
As her MAPP class progressed, Susie was able to find a sense of community with her classmates, with whom she became great friends. The group bonded over the trials and tribulations of adoption; they shared a deep understanding of what each other was going through and were able to move through the process together.
In 2016, Susie noticed a sibling group on the MARE website. She knew she wanted to adopt siblings, but this brother and sister pair weren’t the age range she was considering, so she did not seek additional information. It wasn’t long after Susie attended a MARE adoption party, and while she was there talking with a friend, she spotted the little girl from the website. “I asked her what age she was and she held up four fingers,” says Susie. Sophie was four years old, and her brother, Jordan, was seven. Still, Susie believed that she wanted older children.
The moment that pushed Susie to see that these children were meant to be a part of her family was a phone call with Sophie’s foster mother. The foster mother explained that Sophie would regularly ask about her “forever family,” and she would ask when they would find her and where they were. This conversation about Sophie, along with other conversations she had learning more about kind-hearted Jordan, made Susie realize she didn’t need to stick to any age range; these were going to be her children.
For most of the previous two years, the siblings had lived in separate homes. Jordan had lived in nine different homes before he entered Susie’s life. Not long after meeting, Jordan and Sophie moved into Susie’s home permanently. “They were four and seven when they moved in with me,” explains Susie. Even through some difficulties, the three deeply connected, and Susie knew she had made the right choice.
Throughout this time, Susie had maintained relationships with many of her MAPP classmates, and they continued to support each other as they faced the real-life joys and difficulties of becoming families. On National Adoption Day in 2017, four of the families finalized the adoptions of their children. Together they held an adoption day party and brought family and friends together to celebrate the day.
Today, Sophie and Jordan are six and nine years old. The family continues to rely on the support of family and the community; Susie’s mother visits for a month every summer from California, and the classmates from MAPP class still get together for barbeques and often babysit each other’s children.
The stability that the Buckley family has found in each other, and the support that they provide within their own family, has changed them all. Today, Jordan is reading above grade level and with Susie’s love, he continues to work through challenges he faces. Sophie is a foodie who loves her mother’s cooking. Together they love playing the piano, cooking, and spending time with friends. “We are that house that people just stop by regularly,” explains Susie. “Friends often drop in and join whatever we are doing at that moment.”
The Buckley family has embarked on a new adventure, as they recently opened their house as a foster home. Currently, as a foster family, they have welcomed one child into their home and plan to continue to do this together. The family recognizes that all children deserve love and patience, and they are doing their best to provide this support to children in their community as their community has provided support for them.