My Family

If you are new to this blog and want to read the entire story chronologically - please start in January with "Our Story, Part 1"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Story, Part 6 - Bittersweet

I didn’t want to even mention the next part of the story because it is so painful for everyone, but if I don’t mention it, the rest of the story won’t make sense.

Suffice it to say that Bryan went back to Ruth after he had been with us for a little less than two months. We saw him several times during the next year and then 14 months later Ruth called me and asked if Bryan could come live with us again. She said “Bryan says he wants to come live with his real family.”
I went and picked him up the next day.

When Bryan first lived with us we had a small fish tank. One day Bryan said “the fish are all sleeping.” Apparently he and his cousin Dylon put fingernail polish in the fish tank. I tell this story because when I went and picked up Bryan after 14 months of being gone, (and I was fumbling with what to say to him) he mentioned this story to me and said“do you remember when I put fingernail polish with the fish?”
Bryan has always had a phenomenal memory and even at 3 years old he was able to recall all of his biological aunts and uncles names and his uncle’s girlfriend’s name and places back East he had visited with them.
He still has amazing recall about anything he has seen or read.

Bryan and his cousin looking at the "sleeping fish"

I need to note that the relationship between us and the biological family was in its infancy at this stage. Neither of us had a handbook or set of parameters about how we should act or what the correct protocol was. The adoption was being handled privately and not through an agency, so we didn’t have set guidelines about what we should or shouldn’t do.

The last 12 years have definitely been a learning experience for all of us.
Cole and Ruth during a visit in May 2002

The following is a letter from my children’s biological grandmother after the boys’ adoptions were finalized: (Printed with her permission)

“Another family became interested in adopting the boys and they flew their daughter from Texas to meet the boys and Ruth. They fell in love with the kids right away and started bringing Ruth nice things and trying to win her friendship. (Meanwhile Ruth had broken her leg in two or three places by falling on the ice in December). It had become my job to take care of my own children at my apartment, take care of Bryan, Cole and Ruth at their apartment, and try to get the boys ready and dressed and off to a baby-sitter so I could go to work each day. As the main worker and child advocate in the case, I was ready to place the boys anywhere they could be happy and have a good life which I thought they deserved. I felt that neither Ruth nor I could supply all their needs and at that point the concern for their welfare was great.

Preston and Ruth in May 2002

Here is where the next major step in the miracle began….an attorney contacted Ruth and said there were other people interested in the adoption, and we might as well meet with the prospective parents…..Mykel and Camille Henrie! That was all it took! The other people were not even in the running once I met the Henries! When they arrived at Ruth’s apartment to meet her and the boys, the decision was made in my heart. Bryan climbed up on the couch and sat right by Camille. I never saw two people look more alike than those two! It felt right and appeared right. The rest of the story is so complicated and took two years, but it is a story that can certainly be told from many perspectives.

The long process of convincing Ruth was the hardest part. She wanted to keep all three of the boys very much. I kept talking and talking and pointing out how much difficulty she was having trying to take care of all their needs and make them happy. She gradually saw that she was not able to provide all they needed and one by one let them go….though it was a very hard decision to make.

Bryan with Ruth (his birth mother) and Valorie (his biological grandmother) during a kindergarten performance of The Gingerbread Man. I love this picture!

We all cried many, many times over the boys parting. If I could convey one message to the three boys, it would be to never think that you were not wanted by your birth family, because you were wanted a lot, and loved a lot; we all just wanted the very best for you which we were not able to provide for several reasons.



  1. Camille I tell so many people about your story because it's so amazing but it's eye opening to read about the details. I mostly heard the story from family members so it was just a detail here and there. I hope you don't mind me sharing your site with some people I know that are adoptive parents also. My best friend Brandi has one biological son, and one adopted son and they're in the process of trying to adopt again. I think she might love to read this story.
    Wendy Castle

  2. I didn't remember the fish thing!