Couple that adopted three siblings share their journey to ‘forever family’
iStock/Thinkstock(GARDENA, Calif.) — In Gardena, California, the Peters family is on a blossoming journey that they are encouraging others to embark on this Mother’s Day.
For four years, Thomas Peters and his wife, Sharis, were foster parents to siblings Miles, Jasmine and Jade. And, in 2014, the couple adopted the siblings.
“We got the opportunity to be their forever family and be their forever parents, which is great,” Sharis Peters told ABC News. “These are my kids. There’s no two ways about it, these are my kids. They were meant to be my kids.”
Sharis Peters, a former therapist who worked with children, and her husband, a Little League coach, had always considered being foster parents, she said, even before they’d met each other.
After they’d been married for five years, Sharis Peters said the two decided they were ready to expand their family beyond just the two of them.
However, when they encountered infertility issues — and faced the next step of expensive medications and treatments — she said they both “paused” and the idea of fostering children surfaced.
“It was something we had considered doing, maybe when we were older, maybe taking in teenagers,” she said. “We knew that we wanted to be parents. We knew that we wanted to have children. … There wasn’t much that was going to stop us from doing that.”
So, she started doing research and connecting with different agencies. Sharis Peters said that she and Thomas Peters requested to be matched with sibling sets and foster children who could eventually be adopted.
Then, in 2010, their social worker called them with news: The agency had 3-year-old Miles and 5-month-old Jasmine. Sharis Peters said the couple were overjoyed at the news and set off to meet the two children immediately.
“Once we got there, Miles was basically bouncing off the wall. … He had this huge smile. He still has it,” she said.
“Jasmine was this little, itty-bitty, tiny thing,” she added. “She mostly just slept and ate.”
Sharis Peters said that she and Thomas Peters fell in love right away. Then in 2011, about 10 months after Jasmine and Miles entered the Peterses’ home, baby Jade was born.
“I got the call that a third child was born,” Sharis Peters said. “We call her our ‘bonus baby’ because I thought my life was complete. I had a boy. I had a girl. I was perfectly over the moon happy and then I got blessed with a bonus baby. … It was very exciting.”
The Peterses brought her home when she was just 5 days old. Sharis and Thomas Peters eventually adopted Miles, Jasmine and Jade. The children are now 11, 8 and 7, respectively.
“Being a foster parent and becoming an adoptive parent has meant everything to me,” she said. “There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing with my life.”
Thomas Peters told ABC News that he felt “blessed” to be on this journey with his wife, raising their three children together.
“I really feel blessed that I’m able to witness her blossoming with the children. I know she wanted children for a long time and she’s a spectacular mom,” he said. “I love her very dearly.”
Sharis Peters said that being a mother is hard work — from the homework and Girl Scouts to the science projects and swim practices — but that she is honored daily to be the trio’s mother.
“These kids changed my life in ways I couldn’t imagine. I didn’t know that I could love somebody so much. I didn’t know that I could feel such love from somebody. … I’m honored that they love me. I’m honored that I was given this opportunity,” she said.
And, she had some advice for others feeling pulled to become foster parents but hesitant about embarking on the journey.
“You don’t have to be perfect to be a foster parent. You don’t have to be perfect to be an adoptive parent. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to own your own home. You don’t have to be perfect,” she said. “You just have to be able to love somebody and accept their love. That’s all you really need to do.”
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