"My wife and I are a little older, so when we decided to adopt we opted for an older child for a host of reasons. One being it made more sense for us financially, and also because our hearts went out for older children whom society generally wants to look over and forget. These kids need a home too.

We chose to adopt from the foster care system. This meant taking the same set of classes as standard aspiring foster parents. So even though we had no intention of becoming actual foster parents, we learned what they learn and became legitimate foster parents.

We took in a troubled 13-year-old girl. We stuck through it with her. There were lots of twists and turns in her story, and we found out the hard way that she was not, in fact, clear for adoption months into the process. So we became what we wanted to avoid, foster parents instead of adoptive parents. I'll never forget during one of the regularly scheduled court appearances we were obligated to go to, of having the court workers review her story to the court and later having random people sob in the back from listening to it, and tell us 'We will pray for you.'

She was angry at the world for her situation. Angry at her bio mom for abandoning her. Angry at the system for 'forgetting' her for so many years. She lashed out at us many times as well, thinking we would just give up on her.

I'll never forget her slamming the door to her room and screaming at my wife, 'I HATE YOU!' over and over, and my wife barely holding it together and saying 'I love you anyway' each time.

My wife and I had moments of despair. When one of us would grow weak and say we couldn't do this anymore and maybe we should consider giving up, the other would remind us well what would we do in this situation if she were our child? We would nod, and press on.

One day, about a year and a half in, this child turned to me while I was driving her somewhere and said, 'I don't want to go back to my bio mom. I want you. I want you to be my dad.'

I, a grown-up man, broke down and wept.

The adoption went final when she was 15. It was that long of a process, but the actual adoption took all of five minutes in a judges chamber, for which this girl quipped, 'That's it? Just the stroke of a pen? I'd have lent you a pen years ago!'

People who didn't know us back then honestly are surprised to learn she was adopted. She's an honor graduate from high school now, and is planning to attend college for nursing. We couldn't be more proud of this child, our daughter."