Real Mom: Brandie
I first met Brandie at a playdate. Her little boy D is so full of energy and life, you instantly fall in love him. Not to mention his fantastic smile will just melt your heart. Brandie's story is a unique one. As a single woman she decided to adopt D which would take him out of the foster care system and give him a permanent loving home. Brandie doesn't let D's special needs hold either one of them back. She works diligently to make sure that all of his needs are taken care of and is dedicated to finding an environment where D can thrive. As a mother she is patient, loving, and joyful; qualities any mother would be challenged in while raising a very busy soon-to-be six year old boy.
We hope that you will be inspired by Brandie's testimony to her faith as a single working mom. Perhaps many of you can relate to that special calling that led you to become a mom; it is one of our greatest works here on earth. And don't miss Brandie's surprise announcement at the end of the interview!
Moms Blog: Tell us a little about your childhood. Were you raised in a Christian home? Did you have a strong Christian influence or someone you looked up to?
Brandie: I was raised by a single mom who wasn't there most of the time. So I basically raised myself. We did go to church, but it never really meant much to me. I was forced to go, and to me, it was dull. My grandma, who was a big part of my life, went as well but she had very conventional ideas of how children should be and it really turned me away at the time from wanting to be their version of "Christian". I understand now as an adult that my grandma's faith is deep, that she's just very old school in a lot of ways. But at the time, that church style did not appeal to me at all, so it turned me away. I knew there was a God, but just couldn't seem to figure out how to relate to Him. I was very blessed when I went to college to become friends with some awesome people who introduced me to their own church, and it really helped show me God in a whole new light. That there were churches out there that embraced a lot of praise and worship, that weren't so somber. And that it was ok to prefer that. It completely changed my thoughts on how to have a relationship with God, and He was able to use that to draw me closer to Him.
Moms Blog: Share a little about your decision to adopt a child. Where was your faith during that time? Was there something or someone that led you to make the decision to be a single mom?
Brandie: I had volunteered for three years at a shelter for abused and neglected children prior to getting D, and really, my heart is drawn to those kids. It was definitely a God-calling, to say the least. I fought it for awhile, but decided to go ahead and at least start the process and see where it went. I figured with a calling that strong, I needed to roll with it. At the time (well, and still today), my faith was pretty strong, and I wanted to be wherever God led me. To be honest, though, even believing that, I don't think I really believed at the time that what I was doing would end up with me being a parent. I was just taking the steps that He intended, and going with the flow of it, and then lo and behold, there was D. We truly were meant for each other, and I am shown that every day.
Moms Blog: Did you have any doubts about the call that God had on your life?
Brandie: I questioned myself a lot at times about the "how" of parenting a child (especially a boy!) by myself, but never really had doubts about the actual doing of it. I knew that I would know the child God had for me as soon as I saw him or her, and sure enough, upon first seeing D's picture, I knew. And, really, now, three years into this, I can definitely see the benefits to D in it. He gets all my attention. When I first got him, he was in a home with a lot of other kids who needed attention too. They loved him, but I think he was stagnating a bit. And so being able to have all my focus, has been so beneficial to him. And I see that now, and marvel at just another way that it's clear he was meant for me. There are times when things get really difficult with him, and I question if I should even vent about it to others, as I did make the choice to be a single mom, but...God never said it'd be easy. He said He'd be with me all the way through it, and I hold on to that and know that I'm doing the right thing.
Brandie: The process itself was lengthy, but it was not difficult. I did have to go through training classes, in which they try to prepare you for the child you might possibly get, giving you the worst case scenarios, but after having volunteered so long with children in the foster care system, it didn't phase me much. I had already seen it all. During this time, I was still volunteering at the shelter, and I had a lot of friend support. I didn't get a lot of support from my family until I actually got D, but I knew I was doing what was right, and that was what mattered.
Moms Blog: Was the adoption process easy or hard? Who or what helped you through that process?
The actual getting of D, was easy as well. He bonded so very quickly to me, and I have his foster parents, him, and God to thank for that. His foster parents were very experienced and so they prepared him well. They let me send pictures of myself and our house to start introducing me to him before I ever met him. And he, even at barely two years old, knew. The first time I met him, I picked him up when it was time for me to go, and he laid his head down on my shoulder, like it was the most natural place in the world to be.
Moms Blog: Talk a little about your son and how his life has impacted yours.
Brandie: D has definitely made my life interesting. With his special needs, I never quite know what the next day will bring, but to me, I love his personality, and his joy for life...and they just completely outweigh the bad. Sometimes it's hard to believe that I've only known him for three and a half years, but I can't imagine life without him.
Moms Blog: Is passing along your faith important to you? If so, what are you doing to share the word of God with him?
Brandie: Absolutely. I don't want D to have to struggle as much as I did to know who his Savior is. We pray together a lot, but also I let him hear me praying out loud as we go about our day. I want him to know that God is always there, not just at bedtime, not just at dinner time. I love sharing Bible stories with him, and talking with him about what God has done in my life. We do slack a little at getting to church, as for a long time it was difficult to find a church that could handle his special needs. The one we've found that can, is a ways from us.
Moms Blog: What would you like to share with other women who may be currently a single mom or thinking of adopting as a single mom?
Brandie: One of the biggest things, is that it is doable. There are times it hurts me to see moms who can stay at home with their kids, get them immediately after school, spend more time with them, but then I think, the time I do spend with my son, is even that much more special to me. It has been tough figuring out childcare for him that can handle him, but he's worth it. And adopting from foster care, the state has many benefits to support you. This includes (though they are based on the child's needs): monthly subsidies, Medicaid, adoption fee reimbursements, and even college benefits. With all of D's therapy, seizure meds, etc, knowing that it's covered by Medicaid until he's eighteen, is one less worry for me. The few fees I had to pay to adopt, were all reimbursed, so it's not expensive either. Well, the adoption part is not expensive, having a kiddo is, especially one who eats like a football player!
Moms Blog: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Brandie: I haven't made this super public yet, but this is as good a place as any to do it. I'm actually in the process of getting approved to adopt again. But this time it's going to be a pre-teen girl!
Brandie's photos were taken by Chera of Chera25 Photography.