MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The pandemic forced several organizations to pause and figure out how to move forward. That’s true for adoption in Minnesota.
Non-profits that help kids and families have found work-arounds. While some of it has been challenging, other aspects of adoption have become more streamlined.
The Kalisch home is full of laughs and smiles, and boys.
“We have four boys and they’re wild, so life is, I think we’re really lucky,” mom Michaela Kalisch said.
Michaela and Sam adopted the older set of brothers, JJ and Wesley, from foster care in 2018. They had home visits in person, and went to court to make it official.
“Did the whole thing with the judge. It was a very exciting day. Our kids call it their ‘forever day’,” Michaela Kalisch said.
They anticipated their next adoption would go just as smoothly. Brothers Noah and Micah would complete their family, but COVID complicated the plans.
“Once the pandemic hit, it was a lot of zoom meetings,” Sam Kalisch said.
Some adoption dates were canceled or postponed. The couple didn’t know if theirs would go through until the day before.
“Kind of walking that fine line of anxiety and excitement as you kind of figure out and navigate where the whole path is going,” Michaela Kalisch said.
That forever day did happen in May – online, and at home.
“This one we’re sitting at our dining table with all my kids around me and Michaela and we’re zooming in with people in five, six different houses,” Sam Kalisch said.
The day was just as special.
“It’s essentially like bringing a baby home from the hospital. We get to celebrate. It’s the day our child takes our last name,” Michaela Kalisch said.
Children’s Home connects families with children. The non-profit’s president, Alexis Oberdorfer, says like so many, they adjusted during the pandemic.
“We would do all home visits for home studies and placements in person and we’re doing so much more video conferencing to accomplish those elements,” Oberdorfer said.
Information sessions, training and support groups all moved online, eliminating geographic barriers.
And the process before placement has moved forward.
“Sometimes you have to stop and look for the silver linings. I think what the pandemic has taught all of us is one of the most important things are connections and for a child the most important thing is family,” Oberdorfer said.
There are other challenges, including what can be significant delays in intercountry adoptions.
“It’s tough on families, but when you put it in the context of a child needing a family, these families are committed, there’s a reason they’re in this process,” Oberdorfer said.
The Kalish’s say this is the only way they imagine their family. They hope others find the same fortune.
“There’s a lot of kids out there that need those homes,” Sam Kalisch said.
“It’s the best thing I do. If you stacked all the good things that I did in my whole life, it still wouldn’t measure up to the blessing of these sweet boys,” Michaela Kalisch said.