Friday, February 22, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

On this day, at this time last year, I was at work. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, I was still waiting  for our homestudy to get the final approval, which I had been waiting on since before Christmas. It was never-ending.

Let's recap the day of February 22nd, 2012.

12:00 I went to lunch with a fellow adoptive mother at a Chinese place near work. We talked, well I talked about my struggles with waiting for our child. Was it ever  going to end? How long would I wait before we got "the call." She prayed with me, and we asked God to bring me a child that was meant for me. My friend adopted a 19 month old a couple years before, and was in the waiting game for a second child at this point.

12:45 I walked back to work, and saw on my phone that I had gotten an email from our adoption agency. It was saying that our homestudy had been approved and was now on the state site for social workers throughout the state to view. I was a mother in waiting.

1:15 pm My phone rang. It was our social worker, I figured she was calling to tell me that our homestudy was now live, just a follow up call to the email. She told me, "Actually, I'm calling because I have a potential placement." Me: "Huh?!"

I listened and learned that two little girls were looking for a family. They were 3 and 4. My immediate response in my mind was that I couldn't do this. I wanted a baby, or a child less than two, which is what we put in our profile. We also had only signed up for ONE child. But I listened. I shut up, I prayed, and listened.

Not even an hour later the girls social worker was calling me to give me a phone disclosure. Normally, when you go to a disclosure about a child you go to the social workers office, and go through their file over and over, you get to ask a lot of questions, see pictures, etc. I got none of that. I got a 30 minute crash course on the phone, in an empty office, at work, on these two little girls. I knew their race, but didn't know what they looked like. I learned of their sad story. Their journey for a mom and dad that was taking far longer than any child deserved. They were healthy, they were vibrant, they were cute, she assured me.

At this point she put the pressure on. The girls were arriving at her office Friday morning (it was a Wednesday afternoon). They needed a place to go. I hadn't even spoken to my husband yet. Holy shit. She said she knew she was putting me in a difficult spot. She could try to find a foster home to take them for the weekend, we could meet them there, and then decide. I thought of these poor little girls, moving again, and then potentially ending up at our home anyway, I couldn't do. I knew in my heart I had to give this a try.

So I called my husband, who didn't have his cell phone. We went over and over the importance of him always having his cell phone during the process. On this day he left it at home. So I called someone who coached with him, and found him. I told my husband the situation while he was in the middle of coaching practice, in the middle of field. I'm lucky he didn't collapse. He was actually calmer than I was. He said, well we can take them this weekend and then see how it goes.

The decision was made. We would pick the girls up at 11am Friday morning. By now it was Wednesday at 4:30pm. 3 and 4 years-old, mostly potty trained, healthy, cute, I got a height and weight from a Dr's appt a few months earlier. They didn't know if the girls would come with any clothes or anything. All I had was a kid room with a crib and a few blankets, and a ton of baby clothes. What the frick was I going to do.

I made some calls, and by the end of the night that night (thanks to many generous friends and a trip to Target with a friend who had a four year-old) I had acquired most of what I would need.

I was excited, nervous, terrified and exhausted. Sounds like a mom to me!

On Thursday I went into work for a few hours. I hadn't planned on any of this, and now I was potentially initiating a maternity leave with no notice, which everyone was great about. I tied up some loose ends and planned to take at least the next week off, because if it didn't work I needed to give the social workers time to find another place for the girls. I got the rest of what I needed to have, another bed, car seats, toys and books friends brought, and came home to get the girls room ready.

I didn't sleep at all the night before we picked them up. I couldn't wait to meet them.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Aftermath (of Adoption)

So, when you sign adoption papers, and are getting ready for the finalization date, the social workesr ask some difficult questions, and not only were we not expecting them, we didn't know what to answer. They asked us whether 1) we'd be open to more children that came into the system from the girls birth mom 2) would we be open to sibling contact if the girls had siblings that wanted to be in touch with them. After some discussion with our social workers, we said they could contact us for both, and then we would decide. Because the situation was hypothetical we didn't want to close the door.

A week or so ago, I got a call. One of my kids has 2 birth brothers. They have the same sperm donor (or birth dad). So, apparently the mother of these boys went to the county office and asked to contact us, this lead to a phone call by a social worker to me, which lead to pictures in the mail and a consent if I was interested, which lead to a big decision.

I felt a little lost. Almost like it wasn't my decision to make. Of course it is. But, this is HER past. If I say no, and she asks me one day about her birth family, how will I tell her that they tried to contact her and I sent them away? Will she hate me for that? So after much discussion between me and my husband, we decided to give the birth siblings an email address for her that they can mail pictures/write to. The email is anonymous and doesn't use our names at all. I also sent a picture of her.

The pictures I got from the boys mom were interesting. Her brothers look just like her. She looks like her sperm donor. Almost a spitting image really.

I think sibling contact hits close to home for me because I miss my sister everyday. And, if it were me, I'd want to know about siblings. Maybe when they get older they can meet if my daughter wants that. At least for now I have a few pictures and know their names. Their mom wanted us to meet and be a part of each other's lives, but I don't think thats in my daughters best interest. She is just too young to understand.

These complicated things were definitely NOT covered in all the required adoption classes. Honestly, I wanted to shut the whole thing down because, in a selfish way, it hurt me that these "strangers" looks so much like my daughter and I don't. My kids don't look like me. But, I suppose it doesn't matter because our hearts are the same <3