COLUMBIA CITY — Some might say the Sery family does adoption a little differently.

If you ask them, however, it was a blessing both ways.

On July 21, 2016, Jennifer and Michael Sery adopted their daughter Jorah, now four years old, and welcomed her into their big family. What was unusual about her adoption was that previous to joining the Sery family, Jorah was their foster child.

The Serys decided to try being foster parents in 2010 after they had considered having another child.

“We decided to give back and become foster parents,” Jennifer said.

A year later, they had their biological daughter Autumn, but decided they still wanted to try foster parenting. But, for the next several years, the phone remained silent and no foster child graced their home.

“We were wondering if we did anything wrong,” Jennifer said.

Then the phone rang.

“We got a call from our [Department of Child Services] agent on Jul. 3, 2014, and she said, ‘We have a girl that needs an immediate placement,’” she said.

That night, Jorah became a part of the Sery family as their foster child.

“When they brought her to us, there was no emotion. None,” Jennifer said. “She sat on our living room floor and everyone crowded around her and there was nothing. When we got Jorah, she literally came in a pair of pants and a blanket, and the Whitley County DCS were able to hook us up with clothing right away.”

Being a foster parent for a young child is emotionally tough, as Jennifer describes.

“I think that obviously the hardest part is to bring a child into your home with the thought of reunification and loving that child as your own and then having to cut those ties,” she said. “The goal of foster care is first and foremost reunification.”

The Serys tried to be a part of the foster program, following this goal by fulfilling every detail.

“We started with visits with the biological parents, but it seemed at the beginning of 2016 that there was discussion of termination of parental rights,” she said.

Jorah stole the family’s heart as a foster.

“The first time she smiled at me was a few days [after becoming our foster child], and I can’t even say how that warmed my heart,” Jennifer said. “To see her finally open up and become a lasting happy little girl was huge.”

As the year progressed, the Serys pursued adoption.

“Because it was a foster-to-adoption case, we had visits from local and regional DCS, as well as [Court Appointed Special Advocates] representatives. We were able to obtain an attorney, and July 21, 2016, she became Jorah Ruth Sery,” she said.

Today, Jorah is a happy part of the family, and blends right in with her siblings.

“With our family, we just throw you in, and we didn’t treat her any differently than any of our other children,” Jennifer said.