A Virtual Adoption Connects Two Boys to Loving Home
“Well, that’s one for the record books.”
This is what the judge said shortly after hearing the roaring applause from friends and family who gathered virtually to finalize the adoption of two young boys on June 11, 2020.
Declan (age three) and Kyrito (age four ) were in the foster care system for 694 days before officially joining the Shipman family. Though Victoria and Jared Shipman had never anticipated a virtual adoption, it was a blessing in disguise. Since the adoption was online, many friends and family members were able to gather from their various homes to be a part of the momentous celebration.
“If we had to do it in the ocean or virtually or in space or out in somebody’s yard or in the heat, we would have done it because it didn’t matter how it was getting done, it was just the fact that we were living out this powerful day,” said Victoria.
With the global pandemic changing the way everything operates, the child welfare system has been affected in numerous ways. Courtrooms were closed, in-home visits were on hold and children could not visit their biological family members. In spite of this, the Shipmans made the best of a dynamic situation in order to formalize the adoption of their two sons, which was captured on video for all to see and be inspired by.
Starting the Journey toward Adoption
For Jared and Victoria Shipman, adoption was always a part of their family plan. Even as teenage high school sweethearts, they both felt as if God was putting it on their hearts to adopt; the only question was when. After having two biological children of their own, they originally planned to adopt one newborn child, but “God had other plans,” Victoria said.
After many months of searching for a child, having multiple private adoptions fall through, and almost giving up, the Shipmans came across an opportunity to foster Declan and Kyrito in August of 2019 through Christian Family Care (CFC). It happened unexpectedly, but Victoria said God had been preparing their hearts to the idea of adopting three children. When they met the boys, they immediately fell in love with them and knew it was where God had been leading them.
Their journey toward adopting two brothers and fostering a third was nothing short of an unexpected miracle.
An Unexpected Addition to the Family
Three months after Declan and Kyrito’s initial fostering, the Shipman’s received an earth-shattering phone call. Declan and Kyrito’s newborn biological brother, Tobias, was in need of a home. Though the Shipmans were undecided at first if they’d be able to take in another child, Victoria recalled how God showed up in mighty ways.
Within two hours of receiving the call that a newborn baby was in immediate need of a home, Victoria said that “multiple people had come by to drop things off. [By evening] we had a crib, a car seat, clothing, diapers, wipes, bottles, pacifiers, blankets, lovies, a swing; you name it, it was here. It was unbelievable.” In just 11 hours, Tobias was in their home.
Challenges and New Beginnings
Going from a family of two to a family of five had its challenges. Through the help of the community, guidance from CFC, and a lot of prayers, the Shipmans were able to meet the challenge head-on. Now, months later, the three boys have adjusted well to their new home and the entire family is inseparable.
While the Shipmans understand the difficulties of trauma and separation, they are happy to be a part of Tobias, Declan, and Kyrito’s miraculous journey and are excited to be establishing a joyous, loving home.
“God is so good that he builds beauty out of ashes, and he takes the brokenness and he makes something beautiful. That’s what he has done in our home and it’s a miracle,” Victoria said.
Fostering Advice from the Shipmans
The journey from fostering to adoption can be long and challenging, but Victoria says that it’s worth it and that people who are considering adoption should just go for it.
“[Often] times people think of fostering as this big crazy mountain that you have to have a bunch of money and all kinds of resources and a perfect life… and everything has to be exactly right for you to achieve it. In all reality that is not at all how it is,” Victoria said. “CFC is so good about making people feel like you’re perfectly normal people and exactly where you are is exactly the right place to be to start fostering. You can just do it and it will be okay.”
Children in the foster care system experience setbacks and hardships as a result of trauma. For many, the system is a long process and there are thousands of children in Arizona waiting to be placed in loving homes. CFC encourages anyone with a heart to adopt to pursue it. Beauty arrives when people come together as a community to support the most vulnerable in society. One family can make a huge difference in a child’s life.