I suppose at some point I should document the fact that we actually completed the adoption. I had these grand plans of blogging about it that day, September 21st, but I couldn’t. Not because life has gotten too busy (even though it has) but because I just could not articulate that day as well as I wanted. I don’t know if I can even now.
The actual act of the adoption in the court was horrific. Nothing short of traumatic and obnoxious. It was not trauma-informed. It was loud. It was unplanned and all over the place. It was a summarization of this entire process, start to finish. Even down to the paperwork being entirely wrong. As in listing different parent names. The day was good before the court time and afterwards. That is what I will hold near to my heart. Forever Family Day still is meaningful because of what it means for the rest of our lives. But the process left quite a lot to be desired.
Tomorrow is the day that we adopt him. I wanted to write this letter, but I also know that now is no where near the time that you can receive this. Perhaps in time, but not now. Let this be a placeholder for if/when you may be ready.
First, I am so sorry that this life has thrown you unimaginable amounts of pain. No, I don’t know you personally, but I have read about you and I have heard about you and your traumatic and heartbreaking story. Probably more than you would like strangers to know, and for that I feel intrusive. I am sorry you were not cared for as you should have been when you were younger. You should have been more supported from the system in which touted they would keep you safe. It pains me that you and your children had the same social worker.
I do not suspect even for a moment that I know the whole story. I cannot profess to understand your lived experience. That being said, I do not support the way that you treated him and I am deeply disappointed that this is now part of his story.
This is important. I do not blame you, but I do hold you responsible. That is a very big difference to me. I understand to some degree how we all got to this place. While I am empathetic, I can still hold expectations and I truly believe you did not meet them. He deserved better.
I hope that you will go on and flourish. I hope that you will gain your independence in a safe, healthy, and legal way. I hope that you find new people that love you the way that you truly need them to. I hope that one day you will find yourself in a space ready to have a family and the responsibility that it comes with. I hope that if our paths cross at some point when he is older, that you will welcome whatever person he has become and realize that this is about him (and always has been). And while this is profoundly hard for you, it will be even harder for him.
This weekend, for a fleeting moment, I definitely did. I wanted to throw in the rag, call it quits, say eff off to the universe. For a moment I wanted to quit on the adoption. There’s a huge amount of shame in those feelings. But they were real.
Not long after those dark thoughts washed over me, Little came over and in quivering, but oh-so-knowing voice, asked if we could rock. He knew something had happened. Something had snapped in mommy. Thankfully I did not blow up or rage on him, but I knew my entire aura had shifted. I snapped out of it and rocked him knowing damn well that resisting would be catastrophic to both of us.
I had shared these thoughts with my wife. And things got out of hand and somehow we ended up in shitville where I didn’t know if she was wanting to throw in the towel with the adoption and divorce me. Whoa. Whoa. Wait a fucking moment. How the hell did we end up in this space?
So here’s what I know.
This week is the court date. Emotions are high and ever-consuming. Wifey and I are solid. Our ground is wobbly, but the ground is still beneath us and our foundation is SOLID. We know we are better as a team tackling this journey to adoption TOGETHER. I know that little benefits from us feeling secure, solid, consistent. I know that he is confused, excited, and anxious about what “Forever Family Day” means. I know that there is a loss that comes with this gain. I know that he is testing us to see what we will do with all his might.
I know I love Little.
I know I love my Wife.
I know that I could not ever walk away from them.
For that, I am thankful that I was tested.I can stand before that judge on Wednesday confident. I now know, without any doubt, I am moving forward with a fierce loyalty to my little family.
When things get rough, we will just keep trying. We will stretch ourselves to unimaginable heights. And when all else fails, child’s pose it is.
Signed on the dotted line. Yes, THAT dotted line. We hit the glorious 6-month mark with little man in our care which is required by law before submitting paperwork to the court. Now we wait for the court to decide on a date. Let the anxiety commence!
Little will be learning very quickly what not to say to women. Some favorites this week, “Mommy, why is dinner so late?”, “Mama, you need to do the dishes, it’s messy!”, “You have a big bum!”, “Give me gummy vitamin now!” Bonus of having two moms is getting that nonsense checked REAL quick.
We made some ice cream in a bag. It took a LONG 10 minutes (which was an eternity in toddler-time) to shake that mess into ice cream but the result was pretty delicious.
We haven’t been getting hit nearly as much but this weekend he totally took a cheap shot at me while I wasn’t looking. Not cool little man, not cool at all.
The bath fiasco may have a solution? Every bath seems to be a triggering time for little man. He gets in the checked-out space and immediately throws things, smacks me, flips out like you’ve never seen before. So…I tried using the extended shower head kind of like a garden hose spray down/shower while he just stands up. Tried this twice so far and no explosions and he even giggles about it. Anything that doesn’t land me in a space of a dripping, soapy, violent toddler is a win!
We discovered some nasty tomato hornworms eating all our tomatoes. Beastly ones. And rude. If I don’t get my favorite Brandywine tomato this year, I will be the one throwing a tantrum.
We never thought we would even consider changing his first name, but for safety’s sake, we have been tossing the idea around more and more.
Two weekends ago, he was in a particularly lovely mad space. He screamed, he stomped, his nose dripped boogers, his eyes had heavy tears of despair. None of our regular tricks would work. Wifey grabbed her ukulele and plopped on the couch not knowing what the response would be. She tuned it and his screams started to slow. She started to play some calming chords and he climbed up onto the couch sitting on my lap. Within the next few moments he snuggled up on me, mesmerized by this small instrument that he had no idea one of his mamas could play. His sniffling slowed, he started rocking in my arms, and snuggled up closer. As my breath would rise and fall in rhythm with the music, we all came back to the day.
I went for it.
Not wanting him to think of it in the context of a name, I asked him whether he liked the WORD ‘A’ or ‘B’ better. Quickly, he responded immediately, ‘A’. I held my breath as I asked him whether he would like that word to be his name.
Without skipping a beat he said, “Yes. I am ‘A'”.
His mood was better the rest of the day and he has since been responding to his name without even a pause. It makes my heart happy to see him so at ease about it. I know we did the right thing.
We received an email from our adoption coordinator asking for our paperwork to be presented to the court. You know, the paperwork we painstakingly had to fill out back in November.
I’ll let that timeframe sink in with an extra line break.
The paperwork went to location A and it apparently should have gone to location B, although the people at location A were the people requesting it in the first place and gave paperwork to us that had location A’s information. Obviously, because we weren’t even involved with location B and people in location B at that time. Because location A people were connecting us with location B.
We had fingerprints done. Fingerprints that were required before we had him placed with us. But those were not the right fingerprints. My fingerprints have not changed mind you but apparently the form that was sent to us by location A, requested to be forwarded to location B, was denied by location A.
The pressure to grow a family is never more great than the biological clock meeting the herd mentality of designing parenthood. Any non-parents, or not-yet-parents, could probably agree that making new friends with those that are parents is like trying to eat rocks– painful & hard. It’s not as challenging to maintain already established friendships as it’s mostly just phone calls that have intermissions to deal with spit up or to suggest that their 5 year old stop coloring on the dog. It’s fine. A little discombobulated, but you like them, so you’re in it for the long-haul. Even if it means occasional texts or an invite to a toddler’s birthday party where you are the Auntie not in tow with babe.
Pregnancy itself appears to be catastrophic to my entire existence. The puking, the cabbage size feet, the general discomfort that grabs the attention of every mom-to-be.
Also to consider is the per chance of a baby born prematurely. It has literally happened to most of my friends. So that whole likelihood appears to be somewhat more of a risk than others would like me to believe.
The agony of pregnancy, the birth, the just-after-birth phase is difficult enough. But let’s add on the cost of sperm and fertility treatments. Due to the same-sex relationship that we find ourselves in, none of it can be covered by insurance. Okay, fine, a cost is a cost. So if you can actually put that aspect aside (and really who can do that?), the risks are crazy.
There are numerous examples that show the challenge of working with a sperm bank. Questionable practices, considerable controversy around record keeping, and the chance of a lifelong consequence that is anything but a fairytale ending. People do it, and they do this successfully. That can be true. For that, I bow to their courage and adventurous nature. That is not me. Nor is it a risk I can take. Not at this point in my life. Perhaps not ever. But that is to be seen in the “ever” part of life.
Let it be known that adoption is not our “second choice”. It is our first, because in the process of discerning whether “option a” or “option b” could best fit our family, we choseadoption.