AS PUBLISHED IN THE RECORD JOURNAL MONDAY DECEMBER 26, 2011
By Kimberly Primicerio
WALLINGFORD — Dawn and Cathy Thomas spent their first Christmas knowing their son, Jaden, would be with them forever. After obtaining an adoption license and going through a long child-matching process with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the local couple received Jaden when he was 21 months old in February 2010. It wasn’t until Dec. 13 that the adoption was made legal.
“It took 669 days, 17 hours and 32 minutes. We weren’t counting or anything,” Dawn Thomas, 45, said Sunday. She said the adoption process is lengthy. Some adoptable children legally have no connection to their biological parents, while others, like Jaden, still do, which extends the process. On Dec. 13, the family went to court to finalize the adoption.
On Christmas morning, Jaden, 3, was playing with a toy grocery store register. He handed out fake money to his parents and pretended to make coffee per mother Dawn’s request. He crawled around the floor in his festive sweater and khaki’s as he prepared the make-believe beverage.
Photo courtesy of the Record Journal
Although this is the family’s second holiday season together, Jaden knows more about the holiday and the meaning of Christmas than he did last year. Jaden understands that he is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Dawn Thomas said.
“He’s totally into the Nativity,” she said. “He knows that Santa Claus is coming to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.”
On Christmas Eve, the family sang “Happy Birthday” to baby Jesus. Jaden went to bed and didn’t wake up until 7:30 a.m. Cathy Thomas, 47, said he popped his head into the bedroom and said “I’m ready.”
“He was really excited. He wanted to see all his gifts,” Dawn Thomas said.
Both years have been magical, Dawn Thomas said. Last year, her son was overwhelmed by the amount of gifts he received from Santa and relatives. He opened only five presents before he stopped to play with other toys, Cathy Thomas said.
This year, Jaden unwrapped all the gifts piled in front of the Christmas tree. Among them, a Toy Story garbage truck and Lego men were his favorites. He put the Lego man in the driver’s seat of the truck and made motor sounds as he rolled the vehicle over the living room rug. Jaden also put some of the cash register’s fake coins into the truck.
Jaden’s Christmas playtime represents the end of a long journey for the couple. After going through fertility treatments for eight years and experiencing five miscarriages, they decided to adopt through DCF; something they had always wanted to do, Dawn Thomas said.
“We wanted to adopt a child locally,” Cathy Thomas said. The couple could have went through a private organization or internationally.
They went through training and a 10-week program. DCF employees conducted background checks and made sure that their home would be a safe environment for a child, according to Dawn Thomas.
Once Dawn and Cathy Thomas received their adoptive license in 2009, they started the child-matching process. DCF had to find the best family fit for the child, Dawn Thomas said.
In early 2010, they received a call from DCF. The couple first learned all about Jaden, and then went to meet him on two separate occasions. Typically, parents who are adopting meet the child a couple of times and then the child goes home for a night and then a weekend, Dawn Thomas said. But it didn’t happen that way. On Feb. 11, 2010 a DCF social worker called Dawn Thomas at noon and asked if they could take Jaden at 5 p.m. Cathy Thomas prepared his room, relatives bought a high chair and baby monitors. His first night in his new home, Cathy Thomas said, he slept through the night. The couple was up all night checking on their new son while he was fast asleep.
Dawn Thomas said it’s been amazing and wonderful. It wasn’t too traumatic going from being childless to having a kid to raise, she said. As trying as it was to Cathy to experience miscarriages, Dawn Thomas said, God has a plan and now they have Jaden in their lives.
“We’ve enjoyed every second of having him,” Dawn Thomas said. “He’s been a blessing from God. We thank God every day.”
“He’s beautiful and perfect,” she said. “He even looks like us.” Both parents have olive skin and curly hair, and so does Jaden.
For people considering adoption or becoming a foster parent, call 888-KID-HERO for more information.