We are the Hildebrant Braddock family; Ronnie, Holly, Jakob (11), Hunter (5), Genesis (5) and Karter (4).
Growing up it was always my (Holly’s) plan to only have one biological child so I could experience pregnancy, then adopt the rest. There were more than enough children already here that needed families, I would love them! Luckily God gave me a husband who felt the exact same way. While I did end up having two biological children, I never lost my heart for adoption. Having been raised being passed between different family members and foster homes myself adoption was always a part of the plan! In the fall of 2016 we started looking into the adoption process, and in January 2017 my brother and his wife had an emergency and their two little boys were brought permanently into our home. Adoption through an agency was placed on a back burner while we helped the boys settle into our home, and helped them heal from the trauma that had brought them to us. We never stopped supporting and advocating! In October 2019 while looking through Reece’s Rainbow for a family to donate to, we came across the photo of a little boy. I knew the moment I saw him that he was our son. We prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more. Christmas 2019 we made the announcement to our friends and family that we were going to add to our family! The Adoption Curse paired up with 2020 and our journey began!
Of course we had heard of the adoption curse. It’s joked about in our group of friends all the time! A washer will break, or a car will get a flat tire at the exact moment a huge fee is due. But we were more than confident that with our over $10,000 that we had saved to start our adoption with that there was NO WAY we could get caught up in it. We were prepared!
The Devil laughed and said ‘CHALLENGE ACCEPTED BRADDOCK FAMILY”, and we were financially slaughtered!
In January BOTH our minivans broke down at the same time. The 2011 was a $3000 fix. The 2004 was estimated to be about the same. Instead of putting that much money into the older vehicle my best friend sold us her car for $2000 (what she still owed on it) to help us have a running vehicle without having to wait for repairs so we didn’t lose our jobs, and thank the Lord, my brother was able to do the repairs on the 2011 which saved us almost $1500 on labor costs. But that was still $3500 that we did not have the savings for. It had to come from the money saved for the adoption.
Our friends in the adoption group laughed and said that it was official, we were now adopting. I was naÃ¯ve and happy that our troubles happened at the beginning of the adoption. We hadn’t even had the opportunity to sign with the agency yet!
We started filling out all the paperwork, the caseworker gave us a list of things that she was going to look at in our home, we got to work getting everything taken care of before her first visit. Then the world shut down! March 11th was my husband's last day at work. 2 weeks to flatten the curve. Great! 2 weeks paid for my husband to tackle this list with me! That 2 weeks turned into 6 months. He works for the public school system in New York. They didn’t go back until September 8th!
We were ok though! I was still working my 80 hours a week at my job and he was getting paid through some special program at his school. It wasn’t unemployment (that extra $600 would have been nice), but he was still getting a partial paycheck. We were grateful! Then on April 11th we received the news that I was getting put on leave because of the pandemic. Now panic was setting in. I am the bread winner! But we still had $7000 put away for the adoption fees, I was convinced we were going to be ok! Luckily I was able to go back to work on April 28th, but on a much reduced schedule. I worked enough that I could not claim unemployment benefits, but not enough to rebuild my savings from the hit we had taken with the vans breaking down.
Once again the adoption community congratulated us on being card carrying members of the “Newly Committed” adoption club. I will admit that if my financial world had to be falling apart, I was glad that I wasn’t alone and I had friends who understood and could lift me up!
Then on May 4th our home was struck by lightning. Our home was built in the mid 1800’s. The electric had not been upgraded since the 60’s. When it had been done, it was done poorly. We lost everything electrical! The fuse box was completely fried, and the power surge destroyed everything that had been plugged into it. We had to replace 2 hot water heaters, washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, chest freezer, most of the food in both the refrigerator and freezer, dish washer, microwave, toaster, tv, and 3 laptops (I was working from home and we homeschool 4 kids, we needed several). Our family and friends all cleaned out their garages to help replace what they could. That helped out tremendously with the cost of the appliances, televisions and laptops. The breaker box had to be replaced, every outlet that had something plugged into it at the time had to be replaced, and most of our lines had to be replaced. We were without power for 2 weeks while it was being worked on. Our $7000 in savings, along with every penny in our checking and savings was gone, and I had to take a loan from my retirement. Our home owners insurance didn’t cover any of it because they had forgotten to update our policy to a residential policy after we moved into it. It was still listed as a vacant property with only fire coverage, and thankfully it did not catch on fire. It took us a few months to get our home back to being home study ready. The positive is that our electric service is now amazing and will be able to withstand any medical equipment our children need without issue! Most of the ceiling and walls in my home are now brand new, as they had to be ripped down to fix the wiring, and we were able to insulate while the walls were down. Silver lining I guess. We will be warm and our Netflix wont blow a breaker!
Finally July came! We had our first home study visit after all the mess the spring had brought to us, and we passed. Our second visit in August went just as wonderful! Our caseworker agreed to write our home study for 3 amazing children. We had to wait from March to July for the caseworker to be able to come to our home because of Covid. That was a huge delay we hadn’t been expecting but because of the lightning ended up working in our favor. Then it took from July until the end of November for all of our background checks to come in. Another really long delay we hadn’t anticipated! But December 9th we finally had our home study approved and in our hands!
We intend to adopt “Jared”, “Crew”, and “Callum” from the Reece’s Rainbow advocacy page. All three boys have different medical needs that need urgent attention! Jared is listed as having Sticklers Syndrome, cognitive and developmental delays, and severe malnutrition. Crew was born prematurely and suffers from microcephaly, optic damage, severe cognitive and developmental delays, and malnutrition. Callum has poorly managed Kidney Necrosis and is slowly filling with fluid as his kidneys struggle to keep up without proper medication. He also struggles with the effects of institutionalized care.
We have been working hard to get all the different fees paid. It has been a bit more difficult this year with Covid. People just don't have the extra funds. I understand having my hours be cut at work as well!
We have had a really tough 2020 but I refuse to give up!
There are 3 little boys on the other side of the world, that spend their days in institutions not knowing that they have a Mom and a Dad killing themselves to get to them. They don't know that they have a sister that carries their photos through our house showing them every little thing, including the dog hair in the corners of the floor hahaha. They don't know that they have a brother named Jake who has been making a list of all the movies they need to watch, and all the video games they need to learn, or that my little boys have special toys picked out to share with them. They do not know that they have a Mimi and a Grandma with rocking chairs waiting for them to come home, A Poppy who has been “anonymously” donating to our GoFundMe (not realizing that it tells me who the donors are), or an Ashy-poo-poo waiting to find out what size clothes they wear so she can go shopping. They don't know that they have an AuntJessica and cousin Jonah who have been saving their special medical supplies for them, because Jonah is special just like they are. They don't know that they have an AuntJessica and an AuntNicole who have been going through their house gathering things that I can sell to get to them. They do not know that they have a FAMILY that is 110% committed to loving them right along with us!
They do not know that they are loved, wanted, and most important WORTHY, but I pray that they feel surrounded in prayer from our friends and family around the world every single day.
We live our lives and raise our children by Matthew 25:40. Just because the process has been long and hard doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it. These children will die without our love and support. We will not give up on them. We just need help getting there \<3
Holly and Ronnie