Since starting Henry Duvall in the Spring of 2022, I've had the pleasure of meeting so many incredible families, with such amazing stories to tell. I have been so inspired by them that we decided to start sharing their stories with all of you!

Meet the Diggs Family

The entire Diggs Family posing for a picture

Get to know The Diggs Family…
5 Questions with Mom Christine

Tell us a little bit about your family – how many kids do you have, where do you live, what is everyone up to these days?

We are the Diggs family and we have 4 boys ages 8, 6, and 2 year old twins. We live in Jacksonville Florida. Our two oldest boys attend a classical school and play soccer and football on the weekend. When they aren't playing sports, they are building legos and exploring our backyard for bugs. The twins are BUSY! They keep us all on our toes. They love books, hot wheels cars and anything outdoors. My husband works as an orthopedic sales consultant for a Johnson and Johson company and I left my elementary teaching career to stay home with my boys full time.

Tell us about how you became a mother...

I truly believe I was born to be a mother. I have three sisters and growing up I was ALWAYS the mom when we played house. I loved all the babies! When I graduated college and got married, Jonathan and I started talking about how we wanted to grow our family. We both agreed we didn't care how we became parents, just that we became parents. After working in the public school system for a few years, I was able to see that the need for kids in my city to have a safe place to call home was so great. We decided in 2015 to complete the training and paperwork to adopt from foster care. We bought a bunk bed for our guest room and were ready to get matched with an older sibling set. Then we waited and prayed over the kids who would fill our home in the coming months. On August 25, 2015, we got an email saying an 18 month old little boy needed a family. I remember everything about the moment I opened that email, where I was standing, what I was wearing and exactly how it felt. I knew without the shadow of a doubt this little boy was going to be the one to make me a mom. Eli moved in with us shortly after that and we officially adopted him on December 18th, 2015.

Our middle son, Shepard, is our biological son and he was the best surprise I've ever received. To tell you about him I have to take you back to August 25, 2015, the day we were matched with Eli. It was the first week of school and I had been feeling really tired and sick. I thought it was just getting back into the swing of things after summer break but decided to take a pregnancy test anyway. I can not accurately describe my shock at seeing those little pink lines. In one day, we were matched for adoption and found out we were pregnant. It was quite the journey!

Tell us a little bit about your foster care and adoption journey. What have been the best and hardest parts? What have you learned along the way?

Shepard was born in May of 2016 and Eli was the most excited big brother ever. We took the next three years to bond with our boys and figure out life as parents. We knew we would circle back around to foster care and adoption but wanted the boys to be a bit older. The week after Shepard turned 3, we were placed with a set of two year old twin girls. We walked with them through healing and learning to be loved for over a year. We tried desperately to adopt them but it was not meant to be and the state chose another family to adopt the girls and their older brother. That is what you sign up for when you become a foster parent. You know going in that you are choosing to love for forever or possibly just a season. The goal is to bring healing to them even if it costs you your heart.

The day they moved out will always be one of the hardest days of my life. I felt their loss so deeply. I missed seeing their baby dolls on the floor of our playroom and their bows in the bathroom. I missed the sound of their feet running to tell me something. The spot in my car where their carseats sat was a constant reminder of what wasn't anymore. There is no way to sugar coat this part of our story. It was agony. I was not sure how to go on in this journey and how we would ever be able to say yes again. You know there is always a possibility that the children you bring in will one day leave as quickly as they came but no one can prepare you for how it really feels to watch someone else adopt the children you gave your heart to.

Then one night in the middle of the darkest part of our grief we got a call that a set of preemie newborn twin boys from another city was in danger of being split up because there were no families with two cribs anywhere willing to take them. We were not ready to say yes again. We actually said no at first but I kept thinking about those empty cribs in our nursery and the empty spots in my car and it struck me that our pain had prepared us for this yes.

We called the case manager back and said we changed our minds. A few hours later, two 4.5lb baby boys showed up at our door and brought our family so much healing. They have been in our home for 2.5 years now and while their case isn't completely wrapped up, we are very hopeful that our adoption day will be in 2023! We never thought after losing our girls that we could continue on this foster care journey but I am so grateful that we said yes again. We let our sorrow be enveloped with the joy they brought into our home. It taught me so much about myself, I was so much stronger than I gave myself credit. People tell us all the time that they could never do it, love a child and then let them go. I am here to tell you something, you can do it. It will be the hardest thing you'll ever do but who is going to stand in the gap for them if you don't? I can honestly say that while we began this journey to give these kids a home, they gave us one. They gave my heart a place to call home and for that I am the lucky one.

 

Christine Diggs - Hugging the twins

What is your charity of choice for our Henry Duvall Cares campaign? Tell us a little bit about their mission and why you chose them.

We've choose Haven Retreats. The goal of Haven Retreats is to create sustainability in foster care and adoption. They believe that by supporting the caregivers they are providing direct stability to the children in the home. They offer therapeutic retreats for the caregivers of foster and adoptive children.

We are choosing them because they have directly impacted our family and we have seen the work they are doing to help foster and adoptive families feel supported and seen. Jonathan and I were able to go on their couples retreat in the Spring of 2021 and it was so life-giving for us. When you go through the training class to adopt from foster care or become a foster parent, they tell you that 50% of foster parents will quit in the first year. After that, another 50% will quit by year five. This calling is HARD. Haven Retreats is seeking to change those numbers so these families can keep providing a stable home for these kids to find healing. We were almost part of that 50%, but Haven was so instrumental in helping us find our footing after the loss of the girls.

The Diggs Children in the Yard
January 08, 2023 — The HD Team