Miracle Adoption: A Young Boy Embraces Forever Love Hours Before His 18th Birthday
At the brink of aging out of the foster system with nowhere to turn, the unexpected arrival of Renee and Brad Balassaitis transformed Roman’s life. And today, we’re telling his story.
How they first met
The precarious situation of aging out of the foster care system without being adopted became a reality for Roman Balassaitis, who, only a day before turning 18, was officially welcomed into a family he had first encountered as a preteen.
Reflecting on their initial acquaintance with Roman at 12, the Balassaitis family recalled his frequent visits to their home, marked by spirited playtime with their own children. Amidst the instability and tumultuous transitions in his life, Roman found peace with the Balassaitis family for 9 months after departing from the group home. He was not emotionally prepared for adoption at that time and had lived in 19 different locations since he was 11.
Their heartfelt connection endured, and in August 2022, the family learned of Roman’s desire to return, resulting in his unofficial reintegration into their foster care, which ultimately culminated in his placement with them for the past 14 months. “We started to put the wheels in motion, and it took a while,” Brad Balassaitis, who has adopted 7 children with his wife, told USA Today.
The adoption day arrives.
The couple completed the adoption process on October 17, just a day before his eighteenth birthday, leading to an emotional moment for the entire family. “We were all sobbing,” revealed Renee, sharing her joy about welcoming Roman into their home. “All Roman has ever wanted was to find his forever family.”
In an interview, Brad Balassaitis said he was relieved that Roman wouldn’t have to worry about bouncing around anymore, emphasizing that his new family is there for him through thick and thin. Roman, overwhelmed with excitement during the adoption, expressed, “It means I have someone to go to. It means if I need someone to talk to, I have people to talk to now.”
How Roman’s life improved
Following the adoption, Roman’s noticeable relief has been evident to his mother, who observed a significant change in his behavior. Striving to provide the stability he lacked during his upbringing, the foster parents ensured that he now had a permanent home base, particularly during the festive season.
“Roman has been walking lighter. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders, and you can see it in the way he moves. He’s incredibly relieved.”
Despite the challenges Roman faces in his transition, including academic and emotional difficulties, Renee noted his newfound enjoyment of childhood moments, relishing in simple pleasures, like board games and playgrounds, experiences that were previously unavailable to him.
But not every kid has the same luck.
While Roman’s story culminated in a heartwarming ending, adoption attorney Jeanne T. Tate highlighted the challenges faced by older orphans, emphasizing the urgency for adoption before the potentially dire consequences of aging out of the system. “Kids like Roman have experienced a lot of trauma and instability,” she said.
For numerous individuals in this circumstance, reaching the age of 18 while remaining in the system implies significantly reduced prospects for the future. Although some may have the option of participating in programs like extended foster care, entailing financial allowances and independent living arrangements, not all individuals are inclined to pursue this path.
In the story of Roman Balassaitis, we witness the power of compassion and perseverance in the face of challenging circumstances. His journey, marked by turbulence and uncertainty, finds a touching resolution as he is embraced into the Balassaitis family just in time. This tale serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of stable, nurturing environments for children in foster care. It also highlights the importance of continued support and guidance for those transitioning into adulthood, emphasizing the need for stronger initiatives within the foster care system.
Roman’s story symbolizes hope, resilience, and the transformative impact of love and familial bonds. As we celebrate his new beginning, we are reminded of the profound difference that a loving and supportive family can make in a young person’s life, laying the foundation for a brighter and more promising future.