‘They’ve been waiting for this day for a very, very long time’: Spokane couple adopts 3 boys
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane County Courthouse was the happiest place in the county on Friday, as more than 40 kids finally found their forever families.
The event happens every year, but this year, the county found it had the largest number of adoptions in a single year since 2014.
“It just feels like, so grateful that we now get to start this journey as a family,” said Amber Swain.
Swain adopted three boys: Ares, Luke and Chayce. She also has a girl, Ella.
Normally, courtrooms are quiet as people wait to hear from the judge, but in Judge Bjelkengren’s courtroom, it was rowdier than normal because of the three boys.
“All the time they were asking, why aren’t we adopted yet? Is adoption day tomorrow?” Swain said.
Well, it finally happened.
“Today is a special day for three of these young men,” the Swain’s attorney said.
The beginning of the Swain Family’s story is a little different, because Ares was Amber’s student the first year she started teaching.
“I just loved him dearly and I just saw his resilience and his potential. He gave me some trouble in my class. He was not always the easiest kid,” she said.
Ares was who inspired Swain and her husband to start fostering.
That was two years ago. They took Luke in as well.
“Our middle child, his little brother. [He] really has struggled in the past, but to see him love and be empathetic and happy has just been the most amazing thing ever,” Swain said of Luke.
It wasn’t easy for the boys to open up to Swain.
“They have always kind of had a guard up and a shield up and that has kind of peeled away over the years and it’s really just been incredible to see,” Swain said of her kids.
Then in November 2018, Amber received another call, seeing if there was room for Chayce.
“I remember feeling that day like this is crazy, we are adding some much chaos in our home, but it just felt right,” she said.
It was right, indeed.
“Chayce, one time we were just walking into the doctor and said ‘Amber, did you know that it took me two years to find you? But now, I have my forever family, and I am not going anywhere,'” he said.
The three Swain boys will not be going anywhere.
“Congratulations, I now present to you, Ares, Lucas and Chayce Swain,” Judge Bjelkengren announced.
Amber has a lot on her hands now, with three boys running around her home.
“That’s been an adjustment, because I grew up with sisters. There’s so many things where I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ and like, ‘We don’t pee outside, we don’t put tacks in nerf bullets. That’s not a good thing,'” she said.
She’d take that rambunctiousness any day, and still let the boys know they’re not going anywhere.
“It’s been a long road here, and we’re just grateful to finally be here,” Swain said.
The Swain’s left the courthouse in style, in a limo, to celebrate their big day.
They were just one family at the courthouse. The jury room was transformed into a party for the kids and their new, official families
The room was filled with princesses, superheroes and a bunch of exciting kids.
It took a tiring six months for Jolene Oss and Debra Shumway to put this whole day together.
They gave kids a day they can remember forever. Their “Gotcha” Day.
“Most of them stay in the system for two plus years and then are finally adopted and become free waiting for their family,” said Jolene Oss, a staff guardian.
Those kids in the jury room Friday were lucky enough to find that person who gave them a chance in a new home.
“It’s a great day to see that whole progression and to see that family grow together and all the support from extended family providers. It’s just, it comes full circle,” Oss said.
Both Oss and Shumway work with the kids very often, and they see a big change in them from the beginning to now.
“It’s great by this time, they’re healthier, they’re looking better, they’re developing better,” Shumway said.
According to its website, Spokane County has more than 1,600 children in the foster care system.
If you’re interested in helping local foster kids, call FPAWS at 1-800-391-2273.
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