We catch up with the Ash family again, to hear about their experiences with the general adoption process and working with the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. 

Can you tell us a bit about your family?

I am a single parent of eight children ranging in age from 29 to 19. Their ages are 29, 27, 26, 25, 23, 20, 19, and 19. My oldest two are girls the rest are boys. My family is made up of biological, adopted, and chosen children.

I use the word chosen because I don’t know another term. One of my children came to stay with me at 17, and never left—he is now part of our family. My five grandchildren ranging in age from 10 to 1.

Can you tell about your experiences with the adoption process?

My experience in adoption is varied. I have fostered and adopted twice already, and in the process of a third. I also have an adult adoption that started as a teen adoption, and I have a moral adoption. I also have an adoption that failed.

In my first two times I adopted my foster children, the process was natural. After being with me for a year or so they became part of the family, then they chose to make it legal through adoption. But the teen adoption that turned into adult adoption was a little harder on a personal level.

Because of circumstances in our lives, we both had to work to stay connected and build our bond. Five years after we first connected, he was ready and chose to make it legal through adoption.

My moral adoption was my adopted sons’ biological sister, who was 19 when we first met and joined our family.

More specifically, what was your experience like working with the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program?

The Wendy’s foundation entered my life with my teen adoption. I was a prospective adoptive parent and I was on their then website looking at profiles and found a match.

The second time is with my current foster child (the one I am currently adopting). This time I was approached by the youth’s social worker.

Both times I have felt supported and encouraged as an adoptive parent. I have felt that the workers truly knew the youth. I was encouraged to ask questions to ensure I had a complete picture of my youth and to ensure the youth could know what they needed to know about me and my family. I have confidence in their knowledge and openness.

Do you have any advice for families considering adoption?

The best advice I can give a family to trust your instincts. Ask the questions that are on your mind, share the things you think need to be known. No family is easy, let your heart guide you.

Can you tell us one high point of your adoption journey?

There are two equal high points, the first time they spontaneously say, “I love you,” and hearing them call you mom or dad for the first time.

We interview you for this story a few years ago. How was your life changed since then? Are there any updates you’d like to give?

Since the last story on my family my son that had just started calling me mom has chosen adoption. It was just before him ageing out, so we have started an adult adoption.

One of the friends my son was bringing around needed a place to stay, he had just turned 17, is now part of the family. I have more grandchildren now as well, three new granddaughters.

How has the Belonging Network made a difference in your life?

The Belonging Network has been there as a solid resource for me. Any time I have needed to know anything, or needed education, or needed to make connections they have been able to come through for me. And this, in turn, makes my family successful.