Couple adopts one-, two- and three-year-old
Apryl Meyer-Smith and her husband Jason were living the dream as empty nesters. After raising three children, who are all in their 20s now, the couple was getting used to a quiet, peaceful house with just the two of them.
Then, they got the surprise of a lifetime. Well, three surprises.
One life-changing situation later and the couple ended up with three toddlers at the ages of one, two and three.
In 2022, the couple officially adopted Karson, Kassidy and KaDynce after fostering them since December 2020.
What was once a family of five quickly turned into eight, and the family stepped into a whole new world.
“Well, I’m definitely learning how to handle toddlers again,” said Apryl Meyer-Smith, a Farrell Elementary School social-emotional academic support teacher. “It’s definitely got me saying ‘I’m old’ a lot more, but life’s a lot more fun when you have little kids.”
Although it’s been a big transition raising three toddlers, the couple, who will soon celebrate 27 years of marriage, couldn’t be happier with their decision.
“I love that I get to see things through their fresh little eyes,” said Jason. “All the kids get along so well, and I love how they intermingle. It’s fun to watch them playing and interacting together, even with their age gap. The young ones bring out the kids in all of us.”
Neither of the Smiths grew up in big families, only having one sister each, so having six kids was quite an adjustment. From an empty nest and free time to a full house and busy schedules.
Now, the Smiths typical day looks like dropping the kids off at daycare, picking them up and playing outside to wear them out quicker for bedtime, of course.
Apryl Meyer-Smith has worked in the Arlington ISD for four years, but she’s worked in behavior services for 15 years. At Farrell, she teaches small children how to manage big emotions, and she’s getting more practice at home these days.
She credits her Farrell family for being so helpful and supportive and welcoming of her family’s journey through adoption.
“Apryl has a lot of determination and commitment to supporting children who struggle,” said Glen Brunk, principal at Farrell. “As a SEAS teacher, she teaches children who can be very challenging and draining for those who commit to serving them. While doing that, Apryl chose to first foster and then adopt three children who have some significant needs of their own.
“Other teachers see her work and are impressed with the growth mindset and positive attitude she brings to work. Her biological children are grown, and most people would not be willing to start over and raise three more children at this point in their life. Apryl never hesitated to take in these children, because she strongly believed it was the right thing to do.”
Since the family has grown, holidays and birthdays have gotten a lot bigger this year, too. From Easter to Christmas, “Go big” has quickly become the family’s motto.
How did they celebrate the first Christmas after getting the kids? By taking a trip to Disney World, of course. Adopting three children is basically like winning the Super Bowl.
The family loves spending time at the “Jaccckkks Ranch,” the name they’ve uniquely coined their family ranch after the children: Courtney, Colten, Cody, Karson, Kassidy and KaDynce. This summer, the family is hoping to take a vacation to Branson, Mo., or the beach. Wherever they end up, they are just glad they get to spend it together.
“If you’re thinking about taking in a child, check out the different paths to adoption like fostering,” said Apryl Meyer-Smith. “Yes, it’s time-consuming and sometimes a headache, but it’s about the well-being of kids. Just treat them as your own, be patient and take it one day at a time.
“We’re grateful for our support system, and even though it’s a whole new world, we wouldn’t change it for the world. They’re not going anywhere.”