David is not lucky to have us – having a family who loves you isn’t luck, it’s every child’s right. Shravan and I are the lucky ones to be able to officially share our lives with David forever.Laura, David’s adoptive mother.
Monday, June 10, 2019, David officially found his forever home with Laura and Shravan Dommaraju, after being in the foster system 3707 days…many of those at Coyote Hill. Laura shares their story with us:
Nearly three years ago, I became a volunteer at Coyote Hill. My husband, Shravan, and I were both college students at the time and had no intention of expanding our family. I first volunteered with Coyote Hill through their therapeutic riding center. I had the opportunity to work with a group of middle school boys, one of whom was a very small 11-year-old named David.
David had his fair share of barriers to overcome after being in the foster system almost all his life. However, his smiles and giggles soon won me over and I went home nearly every evening to tell Shravan about this wonderful little boy I was beginning to know.
Shravan soon joined me as a volunteer and we had a wonderful time hanging out with the kids. Eventually, I joined the staff at Coyote Hill. I started working in the homes and continued building a strong bond with David. Around that time, David’s case plan changed to adoption, and we found out he was looking for his forever home. After many nights spent worrying over his future and debating whether or not we were prepared to welcome a soon-to-be-teenager into our home, Shravan and I decided that we would give it our best shot and petition David’s team to consider us as an adoptive placement. We worried about whether we were making the right choice, but so many things fell into place to make this journey possible.
We started with overnight visits, which soon turned into weekend visits. Just as we adjusted to having a teenager in the home, David adjusted to life as an only child in a new environment. Despite the struggles, fear, and confusion, the longer David was in our lives, the more sure we were that he was meant to be with us forever. After months of anxious waiting, we were approved for David to move in with us! It was a long journey with many bumps along the way. Earning the trust of a child who has no reason to trust you is incredibly rewarding, but heartbreaking and challenging at the same time. As David learned how to trust and love us, we had to do the same with him. There were many nights full of tears and hurt, but even the worst day with David became better than the best day without him. We all learned how to comfort each other, have fun together, and be a family.
Finally, on June 10th, 2019, we made it official and adopted David!
Merri and Andrew Heberlein, David’s Home Parents at Coyote Hill, worked so hard with David for nearly three years to help him overcome the struggles he faced and get to a place where adoption was possible. We have been so privileged to witness the incredible growth and healing that David has experienced in the years we have known him. The work that Merri, Andrew, and all of Coyote Hill put into supporting David allowed him to finally get his forever home. We are so lucky to be a part of the future that Coyote Hill helped David achieve.
We get so many questions about why, in our early twenties, we would pursue adopting a teenager. The idea of welcoming an older child into your home can be intimidating or frightening, but it’s a lot easier to overcome that fear when you’re looking at a child who needs you. While we didn’t come to Coyote Hill with the intention of leaving with our son, it was always meant to be. David is not lucky to have us – having a family who loves you isn’t luck, it’s every child’s right. Shravan and I are the lucky ones to be able to officially share our lives with David forever.
“Andrew and I are so proud of David. Working toward his forever home wasn’t always easy, but we are so thankful and blessed to have been a part of his journey! June 10 was a pretty HUGE day for all of us.”
~~Home Parent Mom Merri Heberlein