(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A local family is going to be honored on Nov. 5 by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) ahead of National Adoption Month.

“Do it for the kids, because it’s worth that sacrifice,” said Elisa Hopper.

Elisa and her husband, Evan Hopper first met their then eight-year-old daughter in 2020.

“We had some friends of ours who went to church with us that were fostering Jaylen,” Elisa said.

They said it was an immediate connection.

“I talked to Evan, and he was super on board, initially, which freaked me out,” Elisa said with a laugh.

They quickly began the process of becoming licensed foster parents.

“We started spending time with her on weekends to get to know her a little bit,” Elisa said. “She started doing overnights and then we got licensed to do foster care specifically to adopt her.”

She was ten years old when the Hopper family finally adopted her in March of 2021.

“She comes with opinions. Things to say. Memories that are really hard for her. Trauma that really… even from birth… that trauma sticks,” Elisa said.

In the beginning, they said it took some time to process that they were parents.

“I had very little experience with being like a father figure,” said Evan. “You know, I had always wanted to be, but I was just kind of like ‘that’ll happen at some point’. And then it’s like that’s now. And she’s already eight! And it’s like whoa!”

It took time to help their daughter get through the trauma from her past, and they said it’s been a journey that’s been worthwhile. And now, they said they’re encouraging others to try out fostering to adopt to see if it’s right for them.

“Respite Care is when a family is licensed for Foster Care, and instead of taking in a foster child for a long-term placement, we provide temporary homes to give a reprieve to families that are doing foster care,” Elisa said.

The Hopper family said they still do Respite Care to help out and in case some day they want to adopt again.

“It’s easy to be worried about… ‘well, what’s that going to do for our family’?” Elisa said. “We don’t know that kid, do we want to commit right away to this long-term placement, not knowing what it’ll mean? But, Respite Care also leaves that door open for us.”

Currently, according to CDHS, there are 43 children and youth in El Paso County waiting for a family. CO4Kids recommends trying out Respite Care to see if adoption is right for you.

You can head to their website to find out more.