Margie Rumpsa has been through the adoption process twice. She’s the first to say: it’s not for the faint of heart.
But she wouldn’t change it for the world.
Margie is a single mom to two boys: Sean, 7-years-old and Jack, 5. Both were adopted through Children’s Home + Aid’s Foster Care and Adoption programs, although the two processes were very different.
Margie, a hospital administrator, first came to Children’s Home + Aid looking to adopt. “I went into the process a bit naïve, not realizing quite how challenging the foster to adopt process was going to be,” Margie reflects. “I just wanted to be a mom, and I wanted to give a home to a child in need.”
Margie completed her classes, clearances and became a licensed foster parent. After what seemed like an eternity, Margie’s caseworker called with news – there was a nine month old baby boy who needed a home.
Sean came into Children’s Home + Aid’s care after DCFS removed him from his biological mom over concerns for his safety. “Sean’s mom loved him but was unable to care for him and there were no family members at the time willing, so Sean was considered adoptable,” Margie recalls. “It seemed like it would be a relatively quick path to adoption.”
Margie soon learned that adoption often has twists and turns that make things more complicated.
Sean’s biological father, who had moved out of state, returned to the area and began efforts to reclaim his parental rights. Margie was understandably devastated, but also committed to doing whatever it took to get Sean into a permanent loving family. She worked with the courts, the agency and Sean’s father for nearly three years, monitoring visits, driving to appointments, arranging for therapy sessions, attending court hearings while dad tried to demonstrate he could provide a safe home for Sean. Ultimately, after five plus years, the court determined that adoption was in Sean’s best interest.
“Our adoption day was the culmination of an incredible roller coaster, “Margie said. “ I was ecstatic and relieved, and Sean was happy. He would often ask me throughout the years ‘Am I ‘dopted yet?’”
Margie had been and is open with Sean about his adoption story. Sean still sees his birth parents. Margie is open to keeping the relationship open as long as it is in Sean’s best interest.
By contrast, Margie’s younger son, Jack, came to her as a lovely surprise. Jack came to Margie through Safe Haven, and was adopted when he was just two days old. Illinois’s Safe Haven law allows any parent to relinquish a newborn up to 30 days old at any police station, fire station or hospital. This law helps ensure that overwhelmed parents have a safe option if they are not able to care for their child. The baby is then placed for adoption with loving families like Margie’s.
“I got the call about Jack at work, and I was so worried that it was bad news about Sean, since we were still in the middle of court proceedings with his biological father,” Margie recalls. “But when I answered the phone, it was my Children’s Home + Aid caseworker, telling me there was a baby that needed me and I had one hour to say ‘Yes’! I had just started a new job, so I had to tell my boss I was going to need time off. Everyone was so excited for me! My boss, said ‘What are you doing here? Go shopping, get what you need!’”
Jack and Sean are now five and seven years old. They love school, Taekwondo (Sean is a black belt!), music, Legos, swimming, reading and animals. Margie is happily immersed in the daily juggling of being a single mom of two young boys.
“Becoming a mom is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, even when the process had its challenges,” Margie said. “I had support from my Children’s Home + Aid case workers, who were always professional, respectful, but also supportive, and I’ve recommended the agency to other single women who want to be moms and each time it turned out great.”
“We ask a lot of our foster parents,” said Arlene Haapach, COO of Children’s Home + Aid. “We ask them to completely fall in love with a child, but to also be prepared to let that child go. It is the ultimate act of selfless love for a child, but it literally changes a child’s life. We are grateful for parents like Margie and our wonderful donors whose support allows kids like Sean and Jack to find their forever families.”
If you want to learn more about becoming a foster parent or are considering adoption, please visit our Foster Care information page.