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'He just belongs in the family'

Twenty-month old Kaleb Poulin, is an adopted Guatemalan boy with a hundred expressions as he plays in his family living room in Central Kitsap.  In the background is his sister Daija, 4, and mother Lori, assistant principal at Fairview Junior High.  - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Twenty-month old Kaleb Poulin, is an adopted Guatemalan boy with a hundred expressions as he plays in his family living room in Central Kitsap. In the background is his sister Daija, 4, and mother Lori, assistant principal at Fairview Junior High.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

Daija, age 4, issues specific instructions to her brother, Kaleb, 20 months, not to disrupt her vision for a living room fort. Oblivious to her creative genius he plants himself in the way. Squabbles and tears erupt in the fledgling siblingship.

“Some people were shocked that I would want to take on another child,” said Lori Poulin in her Central Kitsap home.

A single mom at the time, she didn’t view the decision to adopt Kaleb as taking on something more, but as sharing her blessings with someone else.

“Every time I was in the car driving, every time I would look in the back of the car I would see extra space. Whenever I made meals and cooked there’d always be extra food and we had extra room in the house.

“To me it was a very natural thought,” she said.

Poulin, with no previous knowledge of how to adopt a child, set out on an adventure that would span the globe.

Her parents were a little concerned the adoption would make it harder for her to meet a man. She not only met one, but married him.

Poulin began her Internet search for an adoption agency, then a child in September 2001. A home study was the only real hurdle she faced, but once the extensive visits and interview were done, her single status didn’t seem to matter.

“Someone had told me that I would know when I saw the child. And I didn’t really think that was true,” she said.

Poulin, who is assistant principal at Fairview Junior High, had her mind set on adopting a girl, something she felt more familiar with. She also opted for a Guatemalan child.

Thousands of pictures later she saw her son for the first time.

“One day I came across a picture and it jumped out. I had a whole body reaction. My heart beat faster. It was a definite physical response. It was a bizarre feeling,” she said.

“When I saw his picture and I had all of these feelings I asked God ‘Why a boy,’ and God said ‘I will provide for your needs.’”

Not knowing what that meant at the time, Poulin went ahead with the adoption.

“I’m so happy that I have a boy now. He just belongs in the family,” she said.

“They have such different personalities it’s just so easy to love them both with all my heart.”

The adoption was final in February 2002.

About nine months later she brought Kaleb home to Silverdale.

During that time as paperwork and the adoption process crawled along, Poulin’s family got another addition.

“That’s another God thing,” she said when asked about Kevin her new husband.

The two met in April of last year and married last month.

“The first thing I told him when I met him is I am adopting a child,” she said. “He’s been able to be dad to (Kaleb) from day one.”

She and Daija went down to Guatemala in July 2002 to meet Kaleb for the first time. They spent 10 days bonding with the child. He had been living with a single mom who cared for one other foster child and four children of her own.

The most difficult part was seeing Kaleb’s foster family say goodbye to him.

For other people looking into adopting a child, Poulin recommends checking an agency’s references. Because it is the agency that makes families happen. She also encourages single people to not let their non-married status stand in their way in providing a home to a child.

“I didn’t really know anything about it,” she said of the adoption process.

“I just knew that we would be able to give love to another child.”

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