The Missing Links
Tristan wants to write a book. While his story isn’t one of flying superheroes or sci-fi battles, it’s still packed with adventure. It’s a story of moving to a new home, navigating virtual school and making a memorable appearance on his mom’s work zoom call – sans pants to her chagrin.
When Tristan, and his brother Aiden moved into the Link family home on February 1, 2020, as a trial run for their adoption it seemed like the pieces were finally coming together. But six weeks after starting at a new school, in a new neighborhood, with a new family to get to know, Tristan’s first chapter began to write itself. The boys were sent home with a packet to begin virtual learning, and the world held its collective breathe as the pandemic rolled on.
As much of the outside world shut down, the inside of the Link family home was frantic with activity and change. Michelle and Christopher, no strangers to a bustling home with six adult children between them, were ready for the challenge. After raising their blended family, they realized a deep desire to serve and care for more children. Despite a great love for their family and gratitude for the life they’d built together, they knew that something was indeed missing.
After much thought and discussion, the Links decided to pursue adoption through Judson Center. In 2019, they were matched with two brothers, Aiden, 9, and Tristan, 12, and began the process of building relationships with the boys. After spending nine months with the Link Family while in foster care, their adoption was finalized in November of 2020. Although their Adoption Day wasn’t glamourous due to the pandemic, all of the Links were able to celebrate virtually with family and friends who had helped make Aiden and Tristan part of their family.
Another part of the Link’s support team present for their journey were their caseworkers and caregivers who worked tirelessly to support Aiden and Tristan. Although Michelle and Chris originally came to Judson Center to receive help in the licensing and adoption process, when Aiden and Tristan were faced with mental health challenges and learning gaps, the Links and their care team came together and activated Judson Center’s continuum of care to meet their needs in creative ways. “The behavioral health team adapted very quickly in a virtual environment to offer the boys behavioral health services virtually,” Michelle says. “They were responsive and professional and were our family’s safety net. They gave us a lifeline and were invested and wanted to see our children succeeding.”
This continuum of care that surrounds the Link family showcases Judson Center’s unwavering commitment to helping clients find whole health, well-being, and, in Aidan and Tristan’s case, a forever family.
With love from their forever family and compassionate care from a team of Judson Center professionals, Aiden and Tristan are now thriving in and out of school, participating in sports and setting new goals for their futures. While they may not have been able to choose the beginning of their story, as the newest members of the Link family, they get to be part of making sure their adventure is one with a happy ending.
Like the Links, when we choose to soften our hearts, fling open our doors, and make room at our dinner tables, the pieces that have been missing often find a way home. Michelle’s mother intuitively described the Link’s journey by saying, “It’s as if our life was one big puzzle, but there were two missing pieces. Tristan and Aiden were the last two pieces of that puzzle and it’s like they’ve always been a part of our family.”
Here’s to forever. The missing Links have found their way home.