“Michael and Sandra Knott were happily married for two years before they decided to start a family. This joyous time was filled with excitement and anticipation. They knew they would never feel ‘fully ready’ to have children, but the timing was better than ever. However, after trying for eight months, Sandra had not become pregnant. Family and friends would tell the couple, “Just relax. If you worry about it, it will never happen. You’re too stressed.” Michael and Sandra took their advice and tried not to think about the months ticking by.

Eventually, after another year and a half with no baby in their arms, Sandra decided to see her doctor to explore any complications. After much testing, Sandra was diagnosed with PCOS. Additionally, it was determined that Michael had a low sperm count. Because of these issues, it was unlikely that the family would conceive a child naturally. Sandra and Michael decided they could afford to pursue one round of IUI. Unfortunately, the procedure was not successful and the Knotts were still unable to become pregnant. Michael and Sandra mourned the loss of their dream for several months. Sandra struggled with seeing her friends become pregnant and Michael was frustrated that he could not ‘fix’ the situation for his wife.

About a year after the IUI treatment, a friend of Michaels suggested the family should look into adoption through the foster care system. He shared with them that many children in their area needed love and care right now. The idea was intriguing to Sandra as she had always had a heart for foster children. After much prayer and discussion, the couple decided to become certified foster parents.

At first, they were a bit overwhelmed by the process; all the paperwork, the modifications to their home and the long home study interviews. However, they kept telling themselves, “It is worth it.” The couple’s first foster child was an adorable, 6-month-old baby girl, named Ruth. Ruth was drug exposed at birth and suffered neglect before she was detained by DCFS. The couple fell in love quickly and bonded with Ruth as she came to see them as her caregivers. They cared for Ruth, took her to all of her medical appointments, and brought her to visits with her family members. The couple was so excited to celebrate Ruth’s first birthday and threw a festive pink party in her honor.

However, a month after her first birthday, Ruth was released to the care of her great aunt. This loss was tremendous for Michael and Sandra. It was a shock and it hurt almost more than discovering their infertility, because they were losing a baby they had held, loved, and cared for late in the nights. A baby that called them, “mama” and “daddy.” They saw her first steps and could still remember the smell of her hair. Sandra and Michael considered leaving foster care. They started to believe this might not be for them.

A few weeks later, Sandra received a call from her social worker about a little boy, three months old, needing a foster placement. Joshua had been born premature and had some developmental delays and breathing issues. Again, with much prayer and discussion, the Knotts reluctantly decided to take another foster care placement. Over the course of the next year and a half, the family fell in love with Joshua. They worked with doctors and therapists to help him grow and develop in a healthy way. They took Joshua to visits three time a week to visit his maternal grandmother, and his father and older siblings. The Knotts knew that they may be able to adopt Joshua and they may not. It was all up to the courts and the county. However, that thought did not fill them with fear as it once did, as they knew they were helping Joshua at that moment in time. It was all they had control over. Two years and one month after Joshua was placed with them, the Knotts were named his perspective adoptive parents by the courts. It was a surprisingly bitter-sweet day, as the Knotts were excited to become Joshua’s ‘forever family,’ however they also understood what this meant to his biological family with whom they had developed a relationship.

Today, Michael and Sandra Knott are the parents of three adopted children. They are a family of five, and they have loved and parented several other foster children over the years. The Knotts know that they made a huge impact on these children before they reunified and were able be a source of encouragement and support to their birth families through developing meaningful relationships. They gave them love, safety and a sure foundation. Although their path has had many twist and turns, Sandra and Michael know that their journey to parenthood and through foster care has been one of personal growth and has been worth every minute.”