Sara Cozad and her husband were foster parents to two children. Things were going great in the home, and on August 13, 2018, the couple went to court so that they could legally adopt their foster children.
Sara is a 26-year-old woman who met the love of her life when she was just 19-years-old. His name is Stuart Shank, and he is the man that she would one day marry. When she first met him, she let him know that she always dreamed of being a mother, but didn’t want to give birth to children of her own. It was always her dream to become a foster mother, and eventually adopt the children she was caring for. Stuart liked the idea; he was on board when she had the chance to foster two young boys.
Sara knew on their first date that she would marry Stuart one day. In 2014, they had their wedding. They went on their honeymoon, and when they first got home, they started working on becoming foster parents. She knew that since she was only 23-years-old, adopting a child might be difficult. She knew that she would need to be a foster parent for a few years before she would have the option to adopt.
In the beginning, the social worker who Sara was working with suggested that they foster newborns and toddlers. The first child that came into their home was a baby named Michael. They were supposed to keep him over the weekend, and he ended up staying for a week. They got close to Michael, and a weekend turned into a month. They loved having the little boy with them, and soon, Michael’s older brother, Dayshawn, came to live with them as well. They loved the fact that these two brothers were reunited under their roof. Sara knew immediately that she couldn’t let these two brothers be separated again. Dayshawn was 10-years-old, and that wasn’t part of her plan. She was only 13 years older than Michael, but she realized that plans. Sara and Stuart decided that they were up for the challenge.
While Sara worried that Dayshawns age would be challenging, it wasn’t the only obstacle. Sara and Stuart often took in other foster children, which made things a bit more complicated. Throughout their entire fostering journey, they took in 14 children. Sara loved giving these children love and support when they needed it the most. Each time they took in children, they knew that one day, they might end up reuniting with their birth parents. It was hard, but she and Stuart knew that it was what was best for the children.
An Important Decision
The time came where Sara and Stuart needed to make a decision. They had to make Dayshawn a permanent part of their family, or he would need to go to another home. Sara already loved him, and she didn’t want him to be apart from Michael, so she and Stuart started the process of adopting the boys legally.
Time and Patience
The whole process was going to take time, and the family knew that they had to be patient. The boys were excited about being part of a real family and remaining together. This excitement made the process and the time that it took totally worth it.
The Whole Family
It was a special day for everyone, and Sara’s whole family went to court with her. They all wanted to be part of the process of Sara and her husband becoming the legal parents of the two boys they were fostering. In the middle of the hearing, their older foster son, Dayshawn, stood up to address the court. He interrupted the proceedings to say a few words about the Cozad family.
Addressing the Court
Dayshawn started speaking without any warning. She was his foster mom for years; then he told this to the judge during the adoption hearing. He told the judge that Sara and Stuart really loved them. Everyone in the courtroom laughed a bit, but it was what Dayshawn said next that brought tears to everyone’s eyes. He said, “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. If I could wish for anything in the world, I would wish I could just love these people for the rest of my life.” When he finished his speech, everyone broke down crying.
An Official Family
After reviewing the reports from the social workers and hearing from Dayshawn himself, the judge approved the adoption and officially made Sara, Stuart, Dayshawn, and Michael a family. Sara says that it may not have been what she planned years earlier, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.