Adoption brings gift of hope in time for Christmas

From left: Tristan (age 4), Jacob (age 3), and Ashton (age 1) pose for a family portrait. Tristan was adopted by the Wachsmann family in 2009, Jacob was adopted Nov. 18 and Ashton will be adopted by the family in February.
Courtesy Photo

By Robyn Sanders

Thanksgiving didn’t look much different for the Wachsmann family this year but they were able to enjoy the holiday without worrying about where 3-year-old Jacob would be next year.

On Nov. 18, Jacob received a new middle name and his adoptive parents’ last name after he was officially adopted at the Baylor Law School on National Adoption Day, following a complicated adoption process that lasted nearly four years.

Bri Wachsmann of Waco, said she and her husband, John Wachsmann Jr., decided to adopt after losing three children all shortly after birth.

“We waited and prayed about it, and really felt like God told us that we were going to foster children who didn’t have families because we were a family without children,” Bri said.

The couple wanted to adopt right away but were told that the adoption process would move more quickly if they fostered to adopt, so they took that route instead.

They now have three boys in their home, two of whom they’ve already adopted.

“You raise them for so long and then you just want to adopt them,” Bri said. “You want to keep them forever because they’re already part of your family.”

They took in their first foster child, 4-year-old Tristan, when he was seven days old and adopted him in April 2009.

One-year-old Ashton has also been with the Wachsmanns since he was 7 days old. He will be adopted in February.

Jacob came to the Waschmanns as a 6-week-old baby in 2008, but he was taken from them at 5 months old after his birth mother’s cousin showed interest in keeping him. They got him back when he was 9 months old, but he was taken again when he was 18 months old to go live with his father. The Wachsmanns got him back again when he was 22 months old, and he has remained with them since.

The first time Jacob left, Bri said they weren’t sure if they would ever see him again.

“We used to talk to [Jacob] at night during our prayer time and we would tell him, ‘We may not always live together, but wherever you are, Mommy and Daddy will always love you.’ And it would break his heart,” Bri said.

John said he and Bri had to keep themselves mentally prepared that Jacob wouldn’t stay with them.

“Just with his journey, there [were] times when we thought it was over,” John said.

The Wachsmanns said they feel relieved that they don’t have to worry about Jacob leaving them anymore.

“He’s not going to go anywhere,” Bri said. “He’s finally a forever part of our family.”

Bri said Jacob was extremely excited about getting a new last name on adoption day.

“He’s like, ‘I’m gonna have a new name!’ and so he gets really excited about it,” Bri said. “And of course our last name is not the easiest in the world to say, so he’s always stuttering over it.”

The Wachsmanns said that now Jacob gets excited whenever he gets to say his new last name.

“He’s super excited to be called a Wachsmann now,” John said.

Bri said that although the adoption didn’t necessarily change her family, it still solidified it.

“Everybody’s always seen them as our children,” Bri said. “They’ve always been a part of the family as long as they’ve been with us.”

The Wachsmanns said they feel a huge sense of relief now that Jacob’s adoption has been finalized.

“It’s absolutely amazing knowing that he’s forever going to be there in our home,” Bri said. “This just signs, seals and delivers it. It’s done.”

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, there are 6,148 foster children waiting to be adopted in Texas, but the Wachsmanns are thankful that their 3-year-old son is no longer one of them.

“It just feels like a burden’s been lifted,” John said. “He’s ours.”