COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (FOX 2) - A lot of plans have been put on hold because of COVID-19. For some families, adoption being one of them. Adoption agencies have also had to learn how to cope during the pandemic.
And although a metro Detroit's family's adoption plans were slightly delayed - they're thrilled now more than ever to have expanded their family during the pandemic.
The lives of Christie Lazette and her husband, Chris Smith, are now filled with piggyback rides and playtime at the park near their Commerce Township home. Here, 2-year-old Melody definitely knows how to keep her parents on their toes.
"She loves to do stuff by herself. She loves to try new things. She gives me a few heart attacks playing around here because she’s fearless," Lazette said.
Since February 2019, they've waited for the day when they could officially call Melody their daughter. That day came at the end of last month when Melody's adoption was finalized.
"I just started screaming and jumping up and down. It was just the most amazing moment," Lazette said.
"When your mission is to help children and families all the time you don’t even keep thinking about keeping going. You just keep doing it," says Judith Fischer Wollack, the CEO of Wolverine Human Services. For her, moments like Melody's adoption make working through the COVID-19 pandemic much sweeter.
The child welfare organization's world turned upside down in March when the state and courts closed.
"Foster care workers and adoption care workers weren’t going into the homes. So, once a month we're supposed to be in the homes seeing eyes on the child, so that changed. But now you can do it by Zoom meetings, you can go to windows and look at the children," she said.
Now Wolverine Human Services is behind by six months.
They have PPE and make sure social workers ask the right questions to ensure kids are safe.
As for Melody's parents, the pandemic pushed back their adoption by a few months but for them, it was well worth the wait.
"That little 5% nagging in the back of your head of, something might happen, something might go wrong, something might change, is gone. You feel like a weight is off of you a little bit. Everything is just more fun, more easy-going," Lazette said.
They're even thinking of adopting another child and hope their story inspires other families to consider the same.