Chas Shira has felt a strong calling to become a pastor. He and his wife, Katie, also felt called to become foster parents.
“We were able to see the needs of children in Longview, and their need for good homes, and while we were still a young couple, we decided we could provide a good environment for a child in need,” Chas wrote in a piece for Love What Matters.
In 2015, the Shira’s were placed with a 2-month-old little boy who had a very specific set of needs.
Jett was born with methamphetamines in his systems, was small, sickly, and also had a broken femur.
The Shiras always envisioned themselves adopting older children, at least two years of age, but they decided they would be the ones to love this child.
“So here we had a call for an infant, but not just any infant, a very sick infant. We were pretty floored with the call,” Chas recalls. “Neither of us had any lengthy experience taking care of babies, and this baby was so sick, that CPS was actually breaking protocol and asking if we would be willing to drive the 3 hours to Fort Worth ourselves, so we could be instructed by the nurses themselves as to ‘how’ to take care of this infant.”
The process wasn’t easy from the start. For starters, they weren’t even allowed in the NICU since Jett was under a fake name because he was the victim of child abuse and the nurse who knew the Shiras wasn’t on the floor.
The Shiras also didn’t know the first thing about caring for a baby.
“So not only had I never changed a baby, but here was a baby in a full body Pavlik harness, who I was going to have to change over the next couple of months. I tell everyone that changing his diaper with that harness on was like trying to diffuse a bomb,” Chas said.
The Shivas found it almost impossible to not touch the baby’s leg while changing his diaper and likened it to a game of Operation.
This meant that poor little Jett was in “extraordinary pain” for the first two months of his life.
“Those first few weeks were hard. Not only was he a crying baby, like every other two-month-old, but he had severe injuries and had experienced quite a bit of trauma. But we made it through and it wasn’t long before his eyes were brightening, and his leg was healing,” Chas eplains.
Since Jett was a foster, the Shivas would take the boy to visit his biological parents, who entered rehab, when he was well enough.
The parents asked for custody of Jett after about a year when they finished rehab.
A court case eventually awarded custody to the Shivas, but the parents and grandparents tried to overturn the jury’s verdict. Eventually, they exhausted the courts and Shivas were allowed to adopt Jett.
“After spending 821 days in foster care, all with us, and literally 820 days after we picked him up from the hospital with his broken leg, he was finally a permanent and legal member of our family,” Chas recalled.
“It has been the longest and most excruciating journey you can possibly imagine, but also the most rewarding ending we could have ever imagined.”
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Now the family also has another biological child on the way.
“While the journey is long and hard, it’s always worth it when you choose to love others, especially children in need. We hope everyone who hears his story is inspired to answer the phone and say ‘yes’ when someone calls with a child in need. Those children are out there, they’re just waiting for someone to open the door to their home,” Chas writes.
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