It’s National Adoption Month and families all over the country are getting a little bigger.
There are hundreds of children in Michigan waiting to be adopted, thousands in foster care. And though Nathan and Bethany Bills already have five children of their own, one little girl found a very special place in their hearts.
There’s Kendall, Graycee, Hayden, Hadleigh and Phayln and now, there’s Saniyah.
“Anyone that meets her is in love with her, it’s really cool how your heart can hold so much and you can be open to loving so many,” adoptive mother Bethany Bills said. “The first time we looked at her, we just felt it.”
That was when she was just 13 days old, now at 14 months, Nathan and Bethany Bills are the only parents Saniyah has ever known.
“Everything we were able to say yes to has prepared us in our hearts and our lives to be able to get to the point where we’re at to Saniyah,” Bethany said.
Their first yes? To becoming foster parents.
The Bills and their five children began fostering three years ago and have welcomed nearly a dozen children into their home.
“We started out with an agency and went to Samaritas for some pride training and we talked to some of the workers there and they were willing to help us get our license quickly,” Bethany said. “It’s been a really great experience.”
And just a few short months after fostering Saniyah, her mother’s rights were terminated.
“You never know the love you can feel for someone else’s child when they’re here in your home there’s just a certain place in your heart that you begin to experience his new kind of love that is just as deep as we have for our own children,” adoptive father Nathan Bills said.
It was an easy decision for this family of 7, they all agreed they were meant to be a family of 8.
But there was still a long process ahead, fast forward one year.
“Everybody’s waiting for that day and we are asked a couple times a day, is it final yet? Is it done? Is she all yours? And soon she will be and we just can’t wait for that day to celebrate that,” Nathan said.
This Thanksgiving week, Saniyah officially becomes a Bills.
“I think it’s going to feel really good to get that birth certificate in our hand with our last name on it- she has a shirt she’s had for a while and I can’t wait to put it on her that says ‘Officially a Bills,’” Bethany said. “It is like the biggest breath of fresh air that you can ever imagine, it’s a great great feeling to just know that we get to spend every day just loving her.”
A feeling shared by families all over the country as their adoptions are finalized this month – and a feeling every child still in foster care dreams of everyday.
“If it’s not gonna be us then who’s it going to be and if it’s not now then how long are we going to wait to do something about the need,” Nathan said.
The Bills say they’re open to fostering and adopting even more children in the future.
If you’re thinking of fostering or adopting a child in the Michigan Foster System or even becoming a mentor you can call Lutheran Adoption Services (248) 663-0670, email lwils2e@lasadoption or visit samartias.org.