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.
His foster mom handed me a box of his belongings with a stuffed bear from his birth mom, a few clothes, and an art project he made. She got choked up and said, “Don’t forget he is scared of the dark.” Reaching for me in a time of heartbreak, she gripped me tighter than most hugs I’ve ever received. It was a hug of need, of love, and of absolute despair and loss. I have never felt so much pass between two people during one moment. I gripped her hard too, I promised to take care of him with all that I have. I cried unexpected tears that were full of exhaustion, fear, excitement, and compassion for her loss. For their health and safety, the decision was made to separate the sibling pair and place the youngest with us.
“Who loves you?” she said tearfully.
“YOU!” and he blew her one last kiss goodbye.
On a Saturday morning, outside a sub shop parking lot, we became parents. As we drove away, I saw her break down with pain. For 6 months she cared for him, hugged him, and loved him.
It was the longest 2-hour drive I’ve ever experienced. A silent 3 year old is deafening. He looked out the window and for a short bit mumbled a quiet self-soothing tune.
As you know, we have been going through the adoption process for two little boys. It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that the adoption will not be going through as planned. Some unfortunate events occurred that make it impossible to move forward in quite the same way.
As we have gotten to know these beautiful faces over the last 3 months, it is heart breaking to lose two children we were ready to bring into our home and hearts. The details are so horrifically devastating, I ask that you respect our privacy during this time. As you can imagine, retelling the details to so many people would be tragically painful.
This reminds me of a miscarriage in a way, as some people wait to tell others of a pregnancy for fear they may have a miscarriage. After going through this, I would not change a thing about telling you all. This is such a roller coaster, I can’t imagine not sharing the highs and lows of this process with others. For me personally, it would be incredibly awkward if one day I was just miserably sad with no explanation (or the flipside of randomly having kids you didn’t know about). It is important to us that the road to growing our family not be hidden.
This is still how we are choosing to grow our family, and in time it will happen. Perhaps we will be a little more jaded about the process, sure, but we will not lose hope.
Two little faces staring back at me in a photo. My gut wrenched and I got uncomfortable. This was different than other kiddos, this was something in my heart.
After reading through their file, meeting with their social worker, and having in-depth conversations with other people leading their team, we got the go-ahead to meet them.
We arrived to the place where we would meet with the foster family and the kids. We arrived first, patiently waiting for their arrival. They came in like a whirlwind, not knowing who or why we were there. To them, we were just random people their foster parents knew. They came inside, wild from being outside, like only little kids can do and I checked them out with this internal question of “Could they be my family? Could we be theirs?” But there was no time for quiet reflection…kids need to stay in constant loud motion.
Immediately after meeting them, we watched a parade. Awkwardly standing with the social worker, the foster family, and the kids, we waved uncomfortably and also out of habit. If someone in a parade waves, you wave back.
With honking, balloons, and crowd noise that never makes a lot of sense, my wife and I stared at each other. What were we doing? In a sea of people, in a life that I never imagined to be my own, I found myself coming into that feeling of being on the brink of greatness. That nervous teetering feeling that you are just on the very edge of a massive, life overhauling change.
There have been many months of creating draft blog posts related to adoption. I’ve come to the realization that perhaps nothing can quite sum up the frustration in a concise and readable post. But that’s not to say that I won’t try again…
After a long time of deciding that adoption would be the best way to build our family, we felt so secure in starting the journey that we knew would be challenging but well worth it. I don’t think we expected it to be challenging to get TO the journey.
We have tried to begin this process since April. No one has the same information. No one has the same schedule of classes or lists of requirements. I’m up to 10 people that I’ve been communicating (long communication, not the hang up and dial someone else type of communication). However, I do have the pleasure of seeing countless news articles and urgent requests made to the community which have something to do with needing more foster and adoptive parents. That the system is swamped with too many kids.
This shatters my heart.
The fact that there are kids out there looking for stable homes that shower love on them and hopeful parents literally cannot reach them. Not without jumping through hoops and rings of fire just to begin the process. Perhaps it would be great if the system had a way and the capacity to actually follow up and follow through on inquiries. Legitimate inquires from sane adults, with adequate income, stable environments, and a background in childhood trauma (professionally and personally). Of course, I imagine this has to do with how understaffed and underfunded these agencies are currently.
Sigh. It is not so.
We did finally get a meeting with a real human this week. This has boosted my confidence that this journey to build our family will happen in time. Certainly not without an agonizing fight. But I’ll fight for it. Damn right I will.