GASTONIA, N.C. — After three and a half years of waiting, Rebecca Kirkland and her husband Justin finally got to adopt their three children.
The kids, 12-year-old Benny, 8-year-old Gabriel and 6-year-old Alyssa, are siblings that the Kirklands began fostering back in 2018 after they were found living in a tent in a backyard with their birth mother.
Kirkland said they connected with the kids almost instantly and had an understanding of their turbulent situation.
"I'm working in the substance abuse field, so I understand the need for foster homes, the need for adoptions," she said. "I also understand addiction. I'm also a person in active recovery. So I understand the toll that addiction can play in people's lives."
The Kirklands adopted Benny, Gabriel and Alyssa through the Least of These Carolinas adoption agency. The siblings are now three of the Kirklands' five children, joining Samuel and Abigail.
Kirkland told WCNC Charlotte although they are happy with the outcome, adoption was not initially the end goal for the siblings.
"With fostering the goal of foster care is always reunification," she said. "And we knew that going in, so you sort of have to have an open mind to that. That makes it hard because you never know what tomorrow is gonna bring. But looking back now, we would not want it any different. We are so thankful for the process."
The Kirklands recently held a party in Gastonia to celebrate their adoption. Now that they've done it, they are encouraging others to do the same.
"If you're able to if as long as the husband and wife are on the same page about that, because it's a difficult process, but as long as you guys are on the same page, do it. You know, think about the impact you could have in someone's life," Kirkland said.
WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.