Parents Credit OKDHS Adoption Process with Helping to Build their Family
Back in the ‘70s, there was an old TV show called “Eight is Enough.” But for Oklahoma City parentsGreg and Elizabeth Harkins, nine is enough--at least for now.
Their journey began as foster parents providing a loving, safe home to Anna, a child placed with them through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
“When the (biological) parents lost parental rights, we were given the option of adopting Anna,” says Elizabeth. “It was a long, long wait—but well worth it. We had a really good experience with DHS and maintain a relationship with several of our foster care and adoption workers.”
While the process was somewhat time-consuming, Elizabeth says adopting Anna was fairly straightforward and easy.
“With any government agency there are mounds of paperwork and confusing policies. But we were very blessed with an adoption worker who was prepared to answer our questions and was diligent in getting things processed on time.
“To be very honest, we had a wonderful adoption experience,” Harkins recalls. “Nothing is perfect when you’re dealing with broken families who are losing their children, but we feel very fortunate.”
Following Anna’s adoption, Greg and Elizabeth Harkins were still active foster parents, dedicated to providing permanence to children whose lives had been turned upside-down.
“For us, that was part of the commitment when we started—to provide stability where there had been none for these children before,” Elizabeth stresses. “If that meant adoption, and we were able, that was our plan. I know not all foster parents feel equipped or called to make that commitment, and that’s absolutely okay. But for us, that is where we felt called.”
As an adoptive parent, Elizabeth has some words of advice for those who may be weighing adopting a child. “It’s definitely worth the effort,” she asserts. “There is paperwork, time and effort involved in anything worthwhile. However, the blessings you receive are worth far more than any hassle you may incur in the adoption process.
“For us, we were blessed with a really good adoption worker and supervisor, and after having been ‘seasoned’ foster parents we were familiar with the judicial processes as well, so there were few surprises,” Elizabeth adds. .
In just a few short years, the Harkins family grew, first to six, and then to nine children. Greg and Elizabeth Harkins began working with OKDHS, making plans for the “Anna’s House Foundation,” a unique living environment for Oklahoma infants and toddlers thrust into the foster care system. They hope to break ground on the project early next year.
“Adoption has changed us forever,” Elizabeth points out. “We have been given the gift of restoring hope in the lives of broken children and broken homes, and we are the ones who have received the most blessings. The joy and hope these precious little ones have brought into our lives and the lives of our family are immeasurable. It is a very real example of Christ’s love to so many and we are proud of our ‘multi-cultural family!”
Adoptive Parents Greg and Elizabeth Harkins praise OKDHS workers for helping them through the adoption process that brought their new family together.