Adoption teaches lesson to teachers

Tricia Brightwell looks over the Arkansas children available for adoption at Brightwell and her husband have recently started the process of adopting a child through the Arkansas foster care system.

Editor’s note – This story is the second in a series about families within the BIC school district.  This series follows families, staff and students, who have either adopted or are planning to adopt.

AMBER ROLLAND – Hoof Prints Staff

“I’ve got pictures. Want to see?  She sure is a cutie.”

Principal Randy Rose proudly shows off pictures of his newest grandchild, Harmonie Karson Hicks. He loves her just as much as he loves his other two grandchildren though she’s different from them in one very distinct way. Her birth mother is a fifteen-year-old in foster care who measures a staggering six feet and two inches.

“We may have ourselves a basketball player,” Mr. Rose said.

When Mr. Rose’s daughter Melanie and her husband Jason informed him 18 months ago that they were planning to adopt, he wasn’t too sure how he felt. His wife Terry, on the other hand, was for the adoption all along. Mr. Rose’s mind was soon made up too.

“I thought about it,” Mr. Rose said. “I decided any kid would be blessed beyond measure to have Melanie as their mother.”

Melanie and Jason already had a biological son, Grason Kayle Hicks, and had the ability to have more children when they made the decision. Over a year later, on November 19, 2010, they took a two-day-old Harmonie home with them from the hospital. They later spent a day thinking they would have to give her back to her birth mother because of legal risk.

Her birth mother was given a 10 day period to change her mind after signing the adoption papers. Those papers were found to be unsigned, and the birth mother decided she wanted to keep Harmonie. Luckily for Melanie and Jason, she changed her mind again and decided she wanted them to keep her. On December 20, 2010, Harmonie became officially theirs.

“I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about her until I got ahold of her,” Mr. Rose said. “She feels like she’s ours. She just seems like she belongs to us already, and we’re going to love her and treat her like we do the rest of our grandkids that are ours by birth.”

This same unconditional love was also shown to Mrs. Gena Misner, resource teacher, since the day she was born. Her adoptive parents picked her up from a hospital in Hot Springs that day. She doesn’t know anything about her birth parents though she wishes she knew what they looked like.

“I want to see if there are any resemblances in myself or in my kids,” Mrs. Misner said.

Her adoptive parents told her from the start that she was adopted, and Mrs. Misner doesn’t think being adopted made her childhood any different from her friends.

“I was told from the very beginning that I was special, that they had went and picked me out,” Mrs. Misner said. “I had two parents that loved me.”

When the time came for Mrs. Misner and her husband to think about having their own kids, they didn’t really consider adoption but didn’t completely rule it out either.

“I wanted children of my own, something to be connected to,” Mrs. Misner said.

Mrs. Misner and Mr. Rose aren’t the only two faculty members connected to adoption. Science teacher and DLC facilitator Mrs. Brightwell and her husband have also recently begun the process of adoption.  She had thought about adopting for a long time but wasn’t really serious until her husband was.

“I wanted us both to be ready at the same time,” Mrs. Brightwell said.

That time came after her husband trained a woman at a workshop who had adopted three children. They were now all grown, and he was inspired by her.

Now that they both feel certain, they’re ready to move forward in the adoption process. At this point, all they know for sure is that they want a healthy child two years old or younger whose parents have lost their rights so there is no chance of having to give the child back. They’re not sure about the gender or how many children they want to adopt.

“When that time comes, we’ll just have to pray about it,” Mrs. Brightwell said.

Their reason for wanting such a young child stems from their lack of experience at raising children since they have no children of their own. They want to go through all of the phases, or at least as many as they can, like other parents would with their biological children.

Mrs. Brightwell and her husband have a long way to go in the adoption process. They have recently been fingerprinted for their criminal background check and sent the paperwork off. They expect the hardest part to be bringing the child home and getting used to having a baby in the house. They know getting a baby could take a long time, but they’re optimistic, along with a few other emotions.

“It’s a scary and exciting process all at the same time,” she said. “We’ll just have to go by faith that the child that’s right for us will find us, and we’ll find them.”

The interest in adoption and the varying stages of the process can be found in many BIC teachers who now have more in common than just their job. These three educators are joined by music teacher Jerry Bell, who along with his wife, has adopted several children. Teachers Lisa Hughes and Tracey Yates have also recently added to their families through adoption.

Whether they are planning to adopt, have adopted, are adopted, or are part of a family that has adopted, they have all been affected by adoption in a variety of ways.

“I have a new perspective on children’s lives now that I know some of the reasons that they’re being taken from their homes and put into the adoption system and some of the things that they’ve had to deal with at home,” Mrs. Brightwell said. “I know that adopting is going to change my life in every positive way possible.”