A Foster Mom Cried When Her Boy Interrupted A Judge To Say How He Really Felt About His Family

On August 13, 2018, Sara Cozad sat before a judge with her husband and her two foster children by her side. They were there to finalize the adoption process, so if things went well, the foster mom would legally become the boys’ mother. But then her eldest boy, Dayshawn, decided to speak right in the middle of the court proceedings. And what he had to say sent Cozad into floods of tears.

That day in court had been a long time coming for the 26-year-old. Even from a young age she’d known that she wanted to be a foster mom. In fact, seven years previously, when she first encountered her soon-to-be spouse, Stuart Shank, she told him as much within moments of meeting him.

“I was impressed with how [Shank] rolled with it,” Cozad told Good Morning America in September 2018. Perhaps inevitably, then, the pair tied the knot in 2014, just a few short years after their first date. And almost as soon as they had returned from their honeymoon, the couple set about becoming foster parents.

ADVERTISEMENT

At the time, Cozad was just 23 years old and couldn’t get her head around the concept of helping kids closer to her age. So, the newlyweds were initially only intending to foster newborns and toddlers on a shorter-term basis. And to begin with, that’s exactly what happened.

But after fostering a baby for seven days, Cozad and Shank were asked to take in a three-year-old boy named Michael. The plan had originally been for the couple to look after Michael for just one weekend. “That weekend turned into a week. And that week into months. And those months into years,” she later wrote on website Love What Matters.

ADVERTISEMENT

At one point during those first months, though, Cozad and Shank oversaw a visit with Michael’s brother, Dayshawn. And the moment that the little boy laid eyes on his sibling, he sprinted over to him and wrapped him up in an embrace. It was then that Cozad realized just how important it was to reunite these brothers.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yet any decision to take in then ten-year-old Dayshawn would be to go against all of Cozad’s initial plans. The foster mom is just 13 years older than Dayshawn, you see. That made the young man far beyond the age that she’d originally been willing to foster. But then the 26-year-old began to speak to the teenager – and her concerns simply fell away.

ADVERTISEMENT

Still, it wasn’t just the foster mom’s own fears that she had to overcome. Cozad and her husband were, after all, still fostering other children. To date, in fact, the couple have taken in 14 children for various amounts of time. And the ultimate goal for the pair is that each child will eventually be reunited with their birth parents.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cozad explained on Love What Matters, “We advocate for reunification whenever it’s possible. The best part about fostering is seeing parents work tremendously hard to get their children back.” In the case of Michael and Dayshawn, however, the couple were prepared for both reunification and adoption.

ADVERTISEMENT

In fact, the boys’ case plan would constantly shift from one goal to the other. So, the couple would ready themselves for Michael and Dayshawn’s reunification. Then, half a year down the line they would be prepping for adoption. And another six months after that, they’d be looking towards reunification again. “This process went on for years,” wrote Cozad on Love What Matters.

ADVERTISEMENT

There was a positive side effect to all of this back-and-forth, though. As Cozad admitted on Love What Matters, it taught her to be patient and just relish every second that she got to spend with Michael and Dayshawn. And that way, she could let any future plans take care of themselves.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, that process finally came to an end on August 13, 2018, when Cozad and Shank officially became adoptive parents to the two boys. That day was no doubt emotional for all involved. What happened inside the courtroom, however, caused Cozad to really lose it.

ADVERTISEMENT

In footage recorded during the adoption proceedings, the judge asks, “You think they all agree that this adoption ought to go forward?” And Dayshawn replies, “Yeah, they all love us.” A ripple of happy laughter then erupts in the courtroom – but the teenager still has more to say.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dayshawn continues, “We love them. Our whole family is the best thing we ever had. I’m glad to have these people in my life. I’m glad to be their son. They’re the best thing I ever had,” At this point, Cozad is understandably ugly-crying through sheer delight. Yet the young man carries on talking.

ADVERTISEMENT

The teenager goes on, “If I could wish for anything in the world, I would wish I could just love these people for the rest of my life.” Needless to say, the adoption went ahead as planned. And to celebrate the day, Cozad and Shank threw a party with all of their loved ones.

ADVERTISEMENT

After the adoption, Michael and Dayshawn took on Shank’s last name, and the teenager even got to pick a middle name of his own. He settled on “Star,” which Cozad said suits him down to the ground. “He defies every stereotype of a teenage boy,” she told Good Morning America.

ADVERTISEMENT

And since Cozed adopted Michael and Dayshawn, she believes that their lives have both completely changed and stayed the same. After all, they were a family before the adoption day, and they’ve continued to be a family since. But the question many people have asked is whether the couple will now continue to foster.

ADVERTISEMENT

Well, in September 2018 the couple were looking after a 14-year-old child. They were also in training to become foster parents to children who have suffered at the hands of sex trafficking. Yet Cozad claimed that this is not because they are amazing people or even great parents.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cozad wrote on Love What Matters, “It’s heartbreaking that these demographics of teens sit in social workers’ offices or shelters for weeks (or even months) on end since so few homes are open to them.” The specialized training therefore aims to allow the foster mom to help these teenagers in any way that she can.

ADVERTISEMENT

And Cozad and Shank apparently wouldn’t dream of their lives taking any other directions. “No child should feel grateful to have a family love them,” Cozad told Good Morning America. “It should be a given.” For the brothers, then, it seems that Dayshawn’s courtroom wish has come true.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT