Adoption: Boys find loving home with couple

Editor's Note: Adoption proceedings are closed to the public and the press. This family agreed to visit with The Record and share their story.

Staff reporter

They started as foster parents to the two little boys two years ago.

They had taken foster children before. The couple only had one opening at the time but concessions were made to keep the brothers together.

The 50-something-year-old couple already knew the boys because they were their great- nephews but Will and Shannon Bell didn't know just how much more their hearts could be opened.

"They had been through so much," Shannon Bell said.

The boys, Blake, now 5, and Razeal, now 3, began their lives with the Herington couple when they were taken from their home and placed in foster care.

The Bells were the boys' second foster home in a short time period.

"I was really concerned about abandonment issues," Bell said, when the time came to place the children in a permanent home. She couldn't bear to again put the boys through that change.

Six months later, after much soul searching and support from their six children, the couple knew it was the right thing to do.

"We stopped and looked at each other and decided with help from the Lord we can get through this," Bell said.

The adoption began.

On Monday, with Blake and Razeal by their sides, Will and Shannon Bell expanded their family to eight children.

Bell said one of the first things Blake said was the family could go to the lake.

"Foster parents are not allowed to take children under the age of six to lakes (and similar places) without lifeguards," Bell said.

A while back, Razeal had asked Bell, "Would you be my mommy, Nana?"

"Being older is kind of daunting," Bell said, which was the only reservation the couple had about adopting. To make sure the boys get the play time they crave, male family members have stepped up to mentor them.

Blake has a health problem that will require ongoing medical treatment. While pregnant, his biological mother had HPV (Human Papillomavirus) which caused Blake to have problems breathing. At first doctors thought Blake had allergies but then determined that he has the virus.

Blake's condition became so severe that he had a tracheotomy to help him breath. For a year, the active pre-schooler had a trach tube in his throat.

The tube is gone but periodically Blake has had surgeries to scrape the virus from his throat which causes hoarseness.

Through the ups-and-downs of childhood and whatever else life throws at them, the Bells will be by the boys' sides.

"They're good kids with good hearts," Bell said, "and we are so excited that the adoption is complete."

Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge Michael Powers sees many aspects of the judicial system and finds adoptions particularly pleasurable.

"It is so nice to see families willing to take these children into their homes and hearts," he said. "More people are needed to adopt children and provide safe and caring homes."

Adoption month

November is National Adoption Month. TFI Family Services of Wichita, like other adoption agencies, help couples like the Bells adopt children.

More than 50 children were adopted last year through TFI and more than 130 children are awaiting for a home.

For more information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call Danielle Owens at (800) 279-9914 or e-mail