I’ve alluded to a new development, but haven’t elaborated much. Perhaps in hoping that not validating it with my words would make it go away. Well, it hasn’t gone away.
There may be a biological adoption resource for the children. They love to use the word “resource.” I can’t tell you how much I’ve heard it over these past few weeks.
She’s very far away and has never met the children. But, she shares their blood. And culture. And skin color. I don’t deny the power those things hold.
But there is also a power in the way that my voice instantly centers Sprout. And the way my arms bring Rosebud home. And my smell lulls Daisy to sleep.
In many ways this is harder than the reunification discussion. There is something inherently right about children returning to the mother who created them and is now ready to parent them. That’s what we were in this for.
But of course, this was always also a possibility. The fact is these are not my children – not yet. maybe not ever.
For all the calm, quiet and happy days, there are dark and shaky ones. For the laughter and fullness, there is gripping fear of the emptiness that may come.
But I’ve said it before and I”ll say it again – this is what we signed up for, the path we chose for ourselves. There is no going back. Just one foot in front of the other.
They are worth it.
In preparation for the big move this fall, Sprout’s preschool teacher filled out a questionnaire on his strengths and weaknesses to be passed along to his kindergarten teacher. There were plenty of compliments and plenty of areas to address, but one statement in particular stood out:
Sprout forgives friends quickly following conflict. He is our class role model on forgiving.
I couldn’t help but think of this post.
Have I mentioned how proud I am of that little man? He’s such a gift and I pray that we can do him justice.
Sorry to leave you hanging! Seconds before I hit “publish” on this post I got a call from daycare informing me of Rosebud’s fever. Booo. Especially since her surgery, months in the scheduling, that was supposed to happen Wednesday will now need to be rescheduled. That girl’s got some kind of timing.
Though, really, there’s not too much to update.
Friday was lovely. We like the new SW a lot so far. Especially when she said “geez, if it were me, I would have transferred this file at 9 months given the history…”
So the update in non-DCF terms is that the department has decided that reunification with birth mom is no longer the best goal for the children and they will instead focus on other avenues of permanency.
There are still many months (years?) ahead of us since they will be exploring all options including family, fathers, ect and the process to terminate mom’s rights will be lengthy, but its a fairly big step for the kids and their journey out of limbo.
If all goes as planned, there won’t be much to update over the next few months. Our lovely state only does permanency hearings once a year (*&@#%$^) so we’ll have to wait until October to submit the new plan to the judge, get his/her approval, then file for TPR. Then there will be hearings and appeals and at some point when Daisy is 12, she will have a forever home.
Sorry. Nevermind that last bit of sarcasm.
Horray for progress! And thank you all for cheering alongside these sweet children 🙂
Okay, I know that like top 10 strangest titles ever (I wonder how many google hits I’ll get from that one…), but really, hear me out.
I’m always cognizant of the fact that my hemming and hawing and whining and mourning about not being able to conceive despite having a houseful of children might make it seem as though I want a biological child more than an adopted/foster one. Or that it would complete me more, or make me happier. Or that I in some way prefer it. But all of that couldn’t be further from the truth. It really just comes down to having always wanted both. Our foster/adopt journey didn’t come out of our infertility, as it does for so many others. It was a separate and distinct dream from the one in which we were able to conceive. So no matter how full my bucket gets on the one side, the other remains empty.
Or at least that’s how it has been feeling, but I’m coming to a place where I’m thinking it might not feel that way forever.
It’s occured to me recently that I’ve been here before. Many years ago I came to a similar juncture in my life. It was when I found out I was gay*.
So 12 years ago I met and fell in love with A and was shocked. I mean really shocked. Some people say they knew from an early age that they were somehow different from most of their peers, but that wasn’t me. Not that I didn’t know being gay was an option – I had a handful of friends who identified as gay/bisexual – but I had no idea that I was. I simply assumed that I’d find a husband, get married, and live a “traditional” straight life. Well all of those assumptions and plans and dreams came crashing down around me when I met A and decided to pursue a relationship with her.
It was a such a confusing and bizarre time. On the one hand, I was falling in love. Butterflies and adrenaline and intoxicated by her mere presence. I was floating on air.
But then there was that other side. The terrifying side. The side of “this isn’t how it was supposed to be“. And “why me??”
You see where I’m going with this?
On the one hand I have the most amazing family ever. I’m so fulfilled by my children and am over the moon for each of them. But what about…? And why must I be chosen for the hard road again??
But that “other hand” is lessening more and more by the day, just like it did years ago. At this point, so many years later, I don’t feel any sense of loss at being gay. Quite the opposite, actually. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to me with a spouse that’s better than I ever could have dreamed. It was the harder road, but the right one.
And its okay that this is where I’m finding myself again.
* Feel free to substitute lesbian, bisexual, queer, or any of the LGBT terms you wish to describe me. Except, perhaps, transgendered – not that I’d take offense, but I’m pretty comfortable in my gender assignment. I’m just not big on lables…any one of those could apply to me depending on the day.
Guess who we’re meeting today?
The kids’ new permanency worker.
It’s a gorgeous spring day here in New England. The snow has melted, the earth is warm, and the trees are budding. Renewal and life return after one of the hardest winters in memory.
The big kids will be running with the dog in the yard and digging in the sandbox. The baby will be snoozing on my chest. And we will be shaking hands with the person who just might change our lives forever.
I’ve started having the conversation with Sprout about privacy and respecting our bodies. Teaching him what to expect from others and trying to empower him to demand privacy and respect. We’ve talked about who should see his penis and what to do if anyone ever makes him feel bad. I think these are important conversations to have with our children when they are young, but its a delicate balance of being too much or too scary.
Last night during bath (a natural time and place for these conversations) we talked about it a bit more and Sprout had some questions that we addressed. It seemed to go quite well – he’s really starting to understand.
Welp, imagine my surprise when the daycare’s phone number popped up in my caller ID at work. Seeing that number is never a good thing. Either a kid is sick, or I’m late paying the bill. “Oh crap” slips out under my breath.
“Hi, this is [daycare director]. Don’t worry, all the kids are fine. I just wanted to tell you about a conversation Sprout had with Miss C this morning.”
“No, no, nothing bad. He’s having a great day. It’s just that – after your wife left at drop off – there were other parents around, I could let you know who if you want to talk to them, it was in the middle of the preschool classroom, and everyone was clothed – Sprout told Miss C that she couldn’t touch his, ah…penis. We agree with that fully, of course, but I just wanted to discuss it with you to give you the context behind it in case he tells you about it tonight and I could see how that could be alarming to you.”
I could hear the nervousness and discomfort in her voice so when I finished laughing, I was sure to fill her in on our conversations of late. Which she was supportive of, but kindly asked that we please let his teachers in on discussions like that in the future.
Oh man, I’m going to be chuckling over that one for a while.
- Someone is always hungry. Always. And usually its a mommy since inevitably, the minute we heat something up and sit down to eat, the baby wants a bottle.
- Someone is always talking/crying/otherwise trying to get attention. It’s especially fun (and deafening) when it’s all 3 at the same time. I have never valued silence so much.
- There is always a child in my arms, strapped to my chest, hanging onto my leg, or holding my hand. That part’s not so bad. I’m a cuddler and I’ll admit that I’ve made them that way. Though it does make it tricky to eat (see first bullet).
- Moments of chaos are frequent. Even with the best routines in place (routines.are.a.must), it all falls apart sometimes. The worst is right when we all get home from work and school. There are only 3 kids, 1 dog and 1 cat in my house but in that moment, you wouldn’t be able to tell us apart from a zoo. Sometimes you’ve just gotta embrace the crazy.
- Going from 0 to 2 is a million kajillion times harder than going from 2 to 3.
- I do not find it difficult to still practice my attachment parenting with 3. Or even with 2 under 2. Sometimes a baby cries for a minute longer than I would like, but its much more manageable that I would have imagined. The most helpful thing is that even when my hands/arms are taken up by Daisy, I can console RB with my voice.
- Speaking of 2 under 2, I don’t know what the hype is all about. Its cake. Well, maybe not cake, but it’s not bad. At least for now…lets check in on that one again in another 6-12 months.
- It is exhausting. And its difficult at the end of the day to have the energy/time/brain space left to properly acknowledge and connect with my wife. I miss her.
- But there is love – so much love. Sibling kisses galore. Daisy doesn’t even fuss when RB plants a big wet one right on her lips…12 times a day. The girls have special smiles and giggles reserved only for their favorite brother. They are so close – I don’t know how it happened, but its amazing to watch.
- I’ve always got a helper. Sprout races to the side of his sister if she’s crying and if RB is ever in the presence of Daisy fussing, she’ll pat her belly and say “shhhhh”. Then she gives me a smile full of pride at her ability to be a little mama.
- We love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world. The house is full and warm and lively. I always thought I wanted a big family and I was right. Even if it didn’t come the way I had planned, I’m so happy to have gotten my wish. A is a big family convert. So much so that we are currently in talks regarding the timing of baby #4 😉 (ha! as if we have any control over the timing of our children!)
I don’t think I need to tell you how much Sprout has changed over the course of this year. He’s amazing and impresses me every day. But really, I don’t need to tell you – you already know.
Instead, let me show you…
A Sprout masterpiece circa March 2010:
And now, March 2011:
In case you can’t tell, Mommy and Sprout drove the car to the beach. We held hands and splashed in the water. Please note my awesome rosy cheeks.