Heidi Davis didn’t become a foster parent with any intention of adoption.
She already had three daughters of her own. Still – the Branchburg resident wanted to help children in need so she, along with her husband Roger, went through the licensing process and opened their home.
Sharia changed all that.
The then 16 month old girl was placed with Davis on February 28, 2012.
Adoption Story: Heidi Davis and Sharia Renee Davis
“She didn’t walk, she didn’t talk or eat,” Davis said. “She wouldn’t smile. She’d move her fingers back and forth out of nervousness. It was tough.”
Davis remembered the first time she gave Sharia a bath. It wasn’t pleasant.
“She screamed in a way that I have never heard before,” Davis said. “I don’t think she had ever bathed before.”
Fast forward a month, Sharia was a changed girl. It took her weeks to smile, but once she started she rarely stopped.
“She was a completely different child,” Davis said. “She’s a phenomenal little girl.”
But the couple still wasn’t planning on adoption.
“When they asked me, I told them I was not ready to make that decision,” Davis said. “I have three children; I’m not going to make a rash decision.”
Although a formal decision hadn’t been made, it was apparent to everyone around the family that Sharia wasn’t going anywhere. She was as much a part of the family as any of them were.
But in December 2012, Sharia’s caseworker told Davis it was time to decide. Would Sharia become a Davis?
“I told her to let me talk to my husband,” Davis said. “He’s the type that has to think everything through. It took him two-months to decide which cellphone to buy.”
She called her husband. She knew she wanted to keep Sharia, who was a huge part of her heart. But she wasn’t going to make that decision if it wasn’t something her husband and daughters didn’t fully support.
“I’d love to see her grow up,” Roger told Heidi on the phone. “I want to be part of her life. I know it took me a long time to decide about a cell phone, but what the hell, let’s do it.”
And what about her daughters?
Davis said she videotaped each of them when she asked whether they wanted Sharia to become their sister, an official member of the Davis clan, forever. She joked that now she had proof that they loved each other for when they were teens and fighting.
“There was no hesitation whatsoever,” Davis said. “They were all very excited for her.”
On November 21, 2013, Sharia officially became a Davis.
“Adoption day was amazing,” Davis said, choking back tears. “We were holding her hand, she was smiling. She’s got a purpose now.”
The journey for Davis and her family was admittedly a roller coaster of emotion, highs and lows on any given hour of any given day. It wasn’t easy; they even stopped talking to family who didn’t support their decision.
But for the Davis clan, their story is one of fulfillment.
“It’s the story – you never thought you could love a little person as much as you do,” Davis said. “She completed us. She completed our family.”