Then It All Changed
The couple were asked to take in Michael only for a couple of days, and they had no problem with that. Little did they know that three-year-old Michael would completely capture their hearts, changing their plans entirely.
“That weekend turned into a week. And that week into months. And those months into years,”
wrote Cozad on their website ‘Love What Matters’. They didn’t even notice how quickly the time passed by.
A Special Visit
Sara and Stuart didn’t expect to take in Michael for a longer period of time, but they grew fond of him very quickly. They were supposed to keep an eye on him over a weekend, but somehow the weekend turned into a couple of months.
Soon after, they were visited by someone else. Sara and Stuart were surprised by a visit from no other than Michael’s older brother, Dayshawn. This was the moment that the family came together for the first time.
Hoping for Unity
We cannot even describe this heartwarming moment without a few tears escaping our eyes. When Dayshawn first saw his little brother he ran up to him, picked him up, and hugged him for a few minutes straight.
The brothers couldn’t hide their excitement as Sara and Stuart watched from the side. After seeing this, Sara was convinced that she had to do something. She couldn’t let the brothers be separated again.
Change of Plans
The only thing Sara and Stuart could do to prevent the brothers from being separated again was to take in both of them. However, adopting a ten-year-old boy was not in Sara’s initial plans.
She never visualized herself adopting a pre-teenager because, well, she was quite young herself. If she were to take this step, it would be against all of her plans. In that case, she would be only 13 years older than her foster child.
A Bit Too Old
Since Sara and Stuart only planned on fostering and adopting babies and toddlers, they had no idea what it would be like to foster an older child, especially a preteen. Dayshawn was ten-years-old at the time and his age was definitely a challenge for the upcoming foster parents.
When Sara started talking to Dayshawn, she quickly realized that this change of plans might not be that big of a deal. Getting to know the kid certainly made things a bit easier.
Patience and Effort
Even though Sara and Stuart worked hard on achieving their goals–and ensuring a safe future for the boys–adoption procedures took way too much time. Despite all their efforts, it took another six months to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
The case took a lot of time and the two had to be patient. The boys were extremely excited about the idea of being reunited permanently. However, they too had to wait quite a long time to find out if it was for real. “This process went on for years,” Sara wrote later on her blog.
Throughout the entire journey, Sara wrote on her blog, “Love What Matters”, about all the hardships, obstacles, and outcomes they dealt with. This entire experience had an enormous impact on the young couple. Besides teaching them important lessons about patience and effort, it taught them about the importance of love and family.
Sara and Stuart enjoyed every second they spend with Dayshawn and Michael. They seemed like a complete family that belonged together. There was no way the couple would give that up, no matter how long it would take to complete the case in court.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
As it usually is in life, there’s always something beautiful waiting for you on the other side. Even though they spent days stressing about the adoption process, all their efforts were finally rewarded.
On August 13th of 2018, they finally didn’t have to wait any longer to find out what would happen to their family. It was the date of the final court proceeding that would determine the outcome of all their hopes and efforts. Michael and Dayshawn would stay together, with Stuart and Sara as their parents!
We’re sure that eveyone is eager to find out what happened in court so we will get right to it! Luckily, someone recorded this moment while it played out in the court room.
The recording showed the judge saying “You think they all agree that this adoption ought to go forward?” Sara and Stuart were sitting patiently waiting for the court proceedure to finish, and then something amazing happened.
No One Saw It Coming
Usually when the judge asks one of these questions no one expects people to speak up, but this was not the case this time. Out of nowhere Dayshawn spoke up and said “Yeah, they all love us.”
It was completely unexpected but his reply made everyone in the court room smile, while some of them even shed a few happy tears. His short remark made people laugh, but they didn’t know he had something else to add.
This Is What He Said
Just when everyone was ready for the court proceeding to be finished, Dayshwan decided to make everyone laugh. However, a few moments later Dayshawn had a heartwarming comment to add in as well.
“We love them. Our whole family is the best thing we ever had. I’m glad to have these people in my life. I’m glad to be their son. They’re the best thing I ever had,”
he said, making his now-parents shed a tear.
What Was the Response
The court day already had everyone emotional, but Dayshawn’s unexpected speech pushed Sara over the edge. She burst into tears in the middle of the courtroom, and there were many others in the crowd who couldn’t hold in the emotions either.
These emotions showed just how important the boys were to Sara and her husband Stuart. It also showed how loved and grateful Michael and Dayshawn felt to be a part of such a loving family.
The fact that Sara and Stuart wanted to adopt both Dayshawn and Michael so they wouldn’t be separated showed how much love they had for the boys. All their efforts to bring them together had finally paid off.
Dayshawn was so thankful to Sara and Stuart for all their love that he continued his speech and said,
“If I could wish for anything in the world, I would wish I could just love these people for the rest of my life.”
At this point, the entire court was overcome with emotions. Everyone present was so thrilled to see such a beautiful story come to a happy ending.ADVERTISEMENT
Michael and Dayshawn officially became a part of a family, and they would always have a safe home to go back to. Nothing could describe the emotions they felt at that moment. Sara and Stuart were so happy that they decided to throw a celebration party afterwards.
Taking the Last Name
The couple and their boys had a lot to celebrate, as they officially became a family. It was time for Dayshawn and Michael to take the couple’s last name, “Shank”, and they couldn’t have been happier about it.ADVERTISEMENT
Dayshawn was so excited that he even chose a middle name for himself. He picked “Star” because Sara believed that it suited him well. “He defies every stereotype of a teenage boy,” she added.
A New Beginning
It was time for the four of them to start a new life together. This new beginning made everyone so happy that they had nothing else to wish for but continuing happiness and health for their family.ADVERTISEMENT
Sara and Stuart claim that their life is so much better now that they adopted Dayshawn and Michael. They now have a happy family and a future to look forward to. Besides, they achieved the goal they worked hard and long for!
Couple Agrees To Let Sibling Of Adopted Son Visit, Stunned By Unexpected Conclusion
Nov 15th, 2018
Being a foster parent is a calling, just like what happened to Sara Cozad. She was just a teen when she knew that she wanted to be a foster parent one day. Helping kids in need are the most appealing to her, she knew that she had to do something more. A few years later, she met her husband, Stewart.
This is when she realized what her mission really was after all this time. Sara shared a very emotional yet inspiration post with Love What Matters that brought every reader to tears.
Sara was just 19 when she met her husband, Stuart. About 15 minutes into their first date, Stuart asked her what she wanted to do with her life? What was her dream career? Whether she wanted to have kids? Where did she want to travel?
Too many questions but Sara told him that she didn’t really know what she wanted to do although, in her heart and mind, she knows that she wants to have children and she would foster them. A few years later, Sara and Stuart married and went to their honeymoon and two weeks later, they decided to start their foster parent training with an agreement that they would just do short-term emergency care for starters.
What they were planning is to foster babies and toddlers because she was only 23 years old at the time and she might not be ready to foster older kids.
Once the couple was licensed, they immediately asked if they could take in a baby for a week. It all went well and right after, they were asked if they can take in a 3-year-old just for the weekend and they did. From weekends turned into weeks, then into months, up to years. This little boy is now their son, Michael. After a few months that they got Michael, they agreed to a sibling visit and they met Dayshawn for the first time.
The moment Michael saw his brother in the playground, it was clear how close these two were. He went running across the playground and jumped into his brothers’ arms. That very moment, Stuart and Sara understood the importance of Dayshawn and Michael needing to be close to each other.
They were still hesitant to take an older child at first because Dayshawn and Michael have a 13-year difference. But Sara shared that the moment she talked to Dayshawn, she instantly knew he needs to be the new addition to the family. For Sara, being his mom feels so natural. She said, “He doesn’t even seem to notice that I’m so young. To him, I’m just his mom…”
When adoption day came, they all piled into a fancy limo and headed for the courthouse with their photographer, Krista Welch. It was time to sign the papers. Sara shared that Dayshawn was very excited and he felt compelled to even interrupt the judge and explain exactly why he wanted to be adopted which brought so many tears in the courtroom.
The adoption may have been a very long case and this made Sara realize to just sit back and enjoy every single moment with these two wonderful boys.
For Sara, becoming a foster parent has given her the gift of patience and being able to be a lot becomes easier with whatever challenges that’s coming their way. Even though they have officially adopted Michael and Dayshawn, the couple is still remaining steadfast in the foster care system, and are planning to foster the most at-risk teens and are now in the process of fostering a new 14-year old!