MountainCity’s Dave Powers Talks About Adopting His Son, Kai

(Denver, CO)  The first thing MountainCity’s Dave Powers did when he met his newborn son, Kai, was sing a song over his life.

Four years ago this week, in the shadow of the glorious Rocky Mountains, a county courthouse south of Denver was where a signed decree finalized a journey that was both emotional and legal. The sound of the judge’s gavel signified the official, final transfer of the custody of baby Malakai to MountainCity’s Dave and Tara Powers, aka, his mommy and daddy. Family and friends erupted into spontaneous cheering and applause. There was a collective sigh of deep joy and rejoicing with Dave and Tara and Malakai’s big brother, Hunter, that day.

Adoption is a process, a journey with many unexpected turns. Though Malakai, or Kai, as he is known by those closest to him, had been living at home as their son since the day he left the hospital just after his birth, there had been home studies to complete, legally required supervision, and the relinquishment of bio-parental birthrights. There were Colorado State laws that needed to be carefully observed. Every “t” had to be crossed, every “i,” dotted.

Every single step was worth it! Dave and Tara and Hunter welcomed Kai to the family, finally and officially that day, and have become avid adoption advocates.

We spoke with Dave about it recently. His enthusiasm about adoption has increased as 4-year old, blond-haired, blue-eyed Kai, has gotten older, and the love for him has grown deeper. Here is what Dave told us.

Q: When did you and Tara first even think about adoption or possibly adopting a child yourselves?

Dave: Some of our earliest conversations around having kids in our first months of marriage involved wanting to adopt someday! I’m not sure where the idea or passion was planted in me originally, but I’ve always had a heart and deep love for people. The idea of each person experiencing a loving family sounds like a pipe-dream to most. But to me, it sounds like a piece of heaven.

Q: You had been married almost 10 years by the time Kai came along and Hunter was 8 years old. When did the thought of adopting a baby get really serious for you as a family?                                           

Dave: We had been trying to have more kids for about 6 years and because of some physical complications, we found out that we couldn’t have any more. Traveling across the Nebraska interstate to play some music in Iowa, we started dreaming and wondering about pursuing adoption.

A friend of ours, Brannon, had recently adopted some children, so we called her right from the car. As we listened to her story, Tara and I started to choke up, and felt like we should do some exploration of our own.

Q: What were your first steps?

Dave: We started out looking at the foster care system in Colorado and went to some training classes. For a variety of reasons, the foster-to-adopt program didn’t seem like a fit. We went to an information meeting about private adoptions through an agency and felt like this was the way to go.

Q: Did you see any obstacles at first?

Dave: The biggest hindrance to us was financial. Private adoption is usually tens of thousands of dollars, and we didn’t have it. Some amazing family members and friends rallied around us and a community of people contributed toward our adoption costs.

One day, we received a letter from a spectacular organization called Show Hope. They were writing to let us know that they were going to contribute several thousand dollars toward our adoption! WOWOWOW!!! It’s mind-blowing how good community can be. None of us are meant to pursue a dream alone. We need each other.

Q: Besides the financial piece, what were some other obstacles in the adoption process?

Dave: We had to deal with some fears.

Fear that we wouldn’t be chosen by a birth mother even if we applied.

Fear that our child may not like us.

Fear that the birth-family might not want to be a part of the child’s life at all, or that they might want to be involved too much.

Q: How did you approach the discussion and process with Hunter?

Dave: We are very open in our communication at home, and Hunter was deeply involved in the process. Throughout the journey, Hunter said, “All I want is a baby brother!” And, even though we’re sure he’d have learned to love a sister if it had gone that way, we were extremely thankful to receive Kai into our family!

Q: Of course, the process from application for adoption to bringing a baby home is a lot longer and more involved than we are talking about here. But having made it to the hospital for his birth, it was probably, suddenly, very real. What was the day of his birth like for you?

Dave: Tara was able to help deliver Kai into the world. She was there for his very first breath! And Kai’s birth-mom was laughing between contractions, filled with the joyous anticipation of his birth! Kai was brought into the world in an atmosphere of love and joy and he’s been in that atmosphere ever since!

Q: What did you feel when you got to meet him?

Dave: The first time I saw Kai, I held him in my arms and I felt that I was inheriting a son who would bear my name and receive an inheritance from me. In that moment, I also felt that Kai became my son in a spiritual sense. I had my guitar with me and I sang a song over his life in those early minutes of his story.

Q: How did you come up with his name? Does it hold a special meaning?

Dave: We were sitting in a Chipotle not long before he was born when we decided on Kai’s name. It’s Malakai, but Kai for short.

Malakai means, “My messenger.” and Kai as a stand-alone name means all kinds of things. In Hawaiian, it means “ocean” and we do have love for him that is bigger than an ocean! In Japanese, it means “restoration, recovery, and worth.” Apparently, in North Germanic languages, Kai means “keeper of the keys” and in traditional Germanic languages, Kai signifies “safe harbor.” The one we resonated with most was the Swedish description, “a male name meaning ‘Rejoice!’”  And, oh, we do rejoice over Kai daily!

Q: I know people always wonder how it will work. There are obvious risks and possible complications with so many relationships and connections involved. Talk to us a little about the family dynamic.

Dave: Kai’s birth-family are amazingly supportive, encouraging and loving toward Kai, and toward Hunter, Tara, and me. We are blown away by their generosity and thoughtfulness. We love them very much!

And Kai has been welcomed into our immediate and extended family just as Hunter and all the other nieces, nephews, and grand-babies have been. He is deeply loved, cherished, and highly favored!

Q: Do you have any advice for families who have considered adopting?

Dave: If you are considering the idea of exploring adoption, I would encourage you to do these 5 things:

  1. Attend classes for both foster and private adoption.
  2. Talk with friends or find people that have adopted.
  3. Take your time.
  4. Pray like crazy.
  5. Invite trusted friends and family to journey with you through the process.

Q: Thanks for letting us share a part of your story that obviously means so much to you. One last question. What would you say you have learned from all this?

Dave: I learned right away that I could love Kai with the love of a father. He is my son, the son of my heart, a son that I delight in greatly. And obviously, there’s so much more….

Kai is deeply loved, greatly treasured and was born to be Dave and Tara’s son and Hunter’s little brother.

[-Jeanie Rhoades]

———– ♦ ———–

Dave would like to thank his sponsor, La Luna Sound!

Dave says:

“Created in Denver, Colorado, this patent-holding pick company has revolutionized the plectrum-world! By integrating an ultra thin layer of silk between 2 pieces of wood, they have increased flexibility and strength to their wood picks. Their picks are made of a variety of hardwoods, like mahogany, rosewood, and olive wood, and they add a warm sound to stringed instruments! It is a great privilege for me to be a part of the La Luna Sound Family of Artists, and I absolutely encourage you to try them out!”

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