My adoption agency, Adopt an Angel, Inc. began in 1997 and I placed our last child in late 2006. The agency closed permanently in 2007 due to a lack of adopting clients for over 4 months. My former clients were really distressed about us closing.
I didn’t want to close, but no clients meant no money coming in. I had to take out personal bankruptcy and it was really painful for me. I had to place my files with another agency, so I chose Wasatch International Adoptions (WIAA) in Ogden, Utah to hold the files.
I took a very short retirement for about 4 months. After that brief rest, I went to work at WIAA. I was hired to help them implement an infant adoption program. We did have some success and placed several children with adoptive families.
The infant adoption program was not what you’d call a rousing success. We had clients, but the agency’s real focus was on international adoptions. There are not many infants being placed by any agency now.
When the Second Chance Program was brought to WIAA, the director asked if I would consider being the social worker for the program because she thought I could help since I had had a difficult adopted child. I jumped at the chance.
My daughter, Kara was never diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), but she had all the symptoms and behaviors of RAD. She would dissociate when corrected. She was a consummate liar. She was an accomplished thief. When she wanted to, she could manipulate any adult that crossed her path.
The Second Chance program has helped me come to terms with my issues with Kara. I feel total empathy for our clients. When they tell me what they are going through, I want to hug them all. I’ve been there and totally know what they are living with.
Even while I was working at WIAA, I was playing entrepreneur with some family members. The first business was “Weather or Not Golf.” My nephew, Steve, his wife Kathy, my sister, Myra and Herman, her husband (Steve’s parents) were all partners in the golf shop.
We opened the golf shop in 2000. The attacks on 9/11 in 2021 made keeping business going for our small store difficult. The company closed in July 2002.
In January 2005, Steve, Kathy and I opened “Bowlers Choice Pro Shop.” The shop sold bowling balls and accessories. Steve knew how to drill bowling balls. We sold balls, bags, shoes and other accessories. Many times I ran the shop while Steve was doing tournaments. He was a professional bowler.
Our shop was opened for 9 years and was pretty successful. It only closed because we lost our lease. We sold off most of our equipment and inventory which was really heart wrenching. We loved that business.
Steve’s parents died in 2003 and 2005. This was really tough on all of us. I only had one sibling, my sister Myra, Steve’s mother. Steve, Kathy, their 3 kids and I had lived together since 1999. When Steve’s parents’ health began to go downhill, we moved them into our house. I still live with Steve, Kathy and their youngest child, Jeff.
Steve took a job in Colorado as an assistant manager of a bowling center. We found a home and moved in April of 2019. Luckily, I work from home using emails and phones to assist my Second Chance clients.
When Covid-19 led to Steve losing his job, he took up painting. Kathy has always been a crafter making holiday decorations. My talent is starting businesses. We opened Harms Family Crafters in the summer of 2020.
Steve’s creations are unique and beautiful. The problem is that all the craft fairs have been cancelled. We know the pictures will sell because we have had good results when people can see them in person.
If you would like to check them out, the website is harmsfamilycrafters.com/
I never knew where my life would lead me when I first heard about single parent adoptions. The first years waiting for my child was tough. The next 4 ½ years were incredibly difficult trying to raise a RAD kid.
Graduating from college was a lifelong goal. Getting my Master’s Degree of Social Work MSW was an important move in my life. The MSW allowed me to work in adoptions which has become my life’s work.
I’ve been blessed these last 25 years to help families who, if they had adopted in the past, might have had to live with a child with serious behavior problems. I’m not sure when I’ll retire, but I saw this sign on Facebook that says it all. “You Are Not Almost There!” That’s me.
I’m going to put most of my blogs into a book. Once it’s ready for publishing, I’ll let everyone know. If you would like to read the rough draft and give me some help or suggestion, I’d like to hear from you.
Adoption agencies in Utah that I support:
Wasatch International Adoptions
Children’s Service Society
Thanks for reading. If you want to be notified of the next post, please follow this page.