Our Journey Through the Adoption Process

Dieffenbacher family
The Dieffenbacher family

Guest post by Eckerd Community Alternatives | Pasco & Pinellas Foster and Adoptive Parent John Dieffenbacher

Our family started the journey with adoption looking for one child under the age of 5.  As soon as we learned more about the children in need, we elected to pursue a sibling group. We were not concerned what our children’s race was, but instead only that we could fulfill our dream. On the day of our home study, our adoption worker told us about Ra’Quan and Warren. We had not seen a photo of them or even met them, but something told us these were the kids we were meant to adopt.

Ra’Quan was 8 at the time and had been in the foster care system since the age of 3 (close to 1800 days which is an eternity for any child).  Ra’Quan’s brother was 4 and had been in foster care since he was born. He never grew up with a family except his brother and was bounced around till they found each other. The brothers even had different last names.

We approached the case manager with more information on the boys and saw them on the Wednesday’s Child news segment.  Once we met them in October, 2009 we were not sure what they would think or what we would feel, but we both knew they were meant to be our sons. The relationship blossomed and we adopted them on Ra’Quan’s birthday of 05/14/2010, and have been a family ever since. The day before the adoption, we all had different names … today; we all have the same last name and are a family.

We decided in April 2013 that we had a second calling to become foster parents and that is how we met Alexander. We were Alexander’s third home at the age of 20 months old. We fostered Alex for 12 months while he was going through the termination of parental rights portion of his life. Our older sons loved Alex from day one and asked us to adopt him so he could be their brother. We finalized our adoption with Alex on National Adoption Day on November 7, 2014.  We are currently still fostering and trying to spread our story to hopefully ignite in others the great need for forever families.

After reading this, you may find yourself asking why families adopt and if it’s right for you.  Below are just a few of the reasons I would like to share:

  • The desire to give a child a family. To provide a loving home to a special needs child who may have emotional or physical challenges.
  • The desire to help a child move on in life. The adoptive parents have an interest in helping a child heal from past grief and pain that may have come from abuse, neglect or being abandoned.
  • The ability to provide for another child in all ways. Adoptive parents have lots of love to offer a child waiting placement. Often it is a special calling.
  • In the case of infertility, adoption allows you to be able to parent a child.

In our hearts, our children are as much ours as any biological child could be.


If you are interested in adopting a child from the Florida foster care system, please visit www.eckerd.org/adopt.