Grayson was a toddler when his parents separated. He lived with his mother full time because his father, Jeff, wasn’t able to support himself financially. For him, it was the only world he knew and he was never short on love from both of his parents, so it felt like a pretty great world to him.
When Grayson was only four, his mother died suddenly, leaving an already fragile family situation balancing on the edge of total destruction. In the midst of the shocking tragedy, everyone that cared about Grayson scrambled into action to at least temporarily take care of him while he grieved the loss of his mother. But the reality was that even though so many people loved him, they couldn’t keep him. Nobody was able to take care of him permanently and nobody felt they could give him the life that he deserved and that his mother would want him to have. The extended family couldn’t support him and, at that point, his father was homeless.
Meanwhile, while Grayson was losing the only family he had ever known, Tom and Annette Mitchell were a couple in Missouri who were searching for a child to fill the missing piece in their family. Unable to have children of their own, the couple had been married for 10 years and had been through unimaginable heartache as they had tried several times to get pregnant and had never been able to see a pregnancy through to the end. The emptiness in their hearts and in their home felt like it would never be filled as they prayed each day that their child would find them.
And one day that is exactly what happened. Grayson’s family went on to the Florida Adoptions website in search of someone who would love him as much as they did. It was there that they found the story of the Mitchells who were looking for someone to share all their love with.
Stephanie White, from Florida Adoptions, got to know both Grayson’s family and the Mitchells as they started to get to know each other. She would get the father a taxi so that he could come to her office and be a part of the process. Jeff hadn’t been able to see Grayson in a few months and he knew adoption was the right decision. None of that meant that he was giving up on Grayson or that he didn’t love him enough. He actually loved him too much to not move forward with the plan. But he wanted to be a part of the adoption plan and he never wanted his son to forget him or how much he loved him.
Stephanie arranged a time for Jeff, Annette, and Tom to FaceTime and connect. She recognized that making an adoption plan for your child is perhaps one of the strongest and hardest things a parent can ever do and she wanted both parties to feel comfortable.
That simple gesture was filled with so much emotion both from Grayson’s dad and the adoptive parents. Jeff told Tom and Annette the big things about his hopes and dreams for his son. But he also told them the small things that were just as important. Little things like how much Grayson loved to fish. Tom told him that he loved fishing too and would make sure to take Grayson. As everybody cried their eyes out, they all knew that this was not just a conversation about likes and dislikes. This was a conversation about a shared love of a child and the growth of a family.
When the time came for Grayson to move to Missouri, Stephanie made sure that it was a positive experience for everyone: father, new family, and Grayson. They all met at a McDonalds two days before Christmas. Jeff was there early with a bag full of toys that he had collected from trashcans. As Grayson walked in with his new parents, all that he saw was his dad. Where he lived or where he got his toys didn’t matter. All that mattered was that he loved him.
Grayson went running up to him and hugged him so tightly. It was a bittersweet moment because Jeff knew he wouldn’t be seeing him for a very long time, but it was also the beginning of a big family for Grayson. Stephanie’s adoption process gave dignity to all involved which allowed all the people that love Grayson to work together for a common goal. Grayson wasn’t losing anybody. He was simply gaining more love – who could ask for more than that for a child who had been through so much?
Florida Adoptions specializes in all aspects of adoption law including private placement of children as well as various types of adoptions such as step-parent, relative, foster care, and adult. They are a small company so they are able to be hands-on with all of their clients.
This personal approach to the adoption process is what makes Florida Adoptions stand out from others. It is not a cold approach that treats children and parents like a statistic. Stephanie is more than just a lawyer. She is a wife and mother who understands what family is all about. She knows the strength it takes to make an adoption plan for your child and she also understands how it feels to yearn for a child in your family to love.
For Stephanie and Florida Adoptions, children like Grayson are why they are in business. There are so many people who are looking to be brought together through adoption and they make those connections happen every day