In my humble opinion, I think no matter what you know and how you try to prepare- it is HARD to imagine adopting (older, non-newborn) kids without envisioning them behaving like your current brood. There just is no preparing.
The boys names rhyme, because God has a sense of humor and for some reason He sees me trying to do good but he wants to screw with my mind and get a good chuckle at my tongue tied trippings.
*As an aside, one of my babysitting kids is Kerry - not really, but the kid's name RHYMES WITH THE BOYS' NAMES. I can't make this up. The babysitting kid was constantly like WHO'S Larry?
Their names are not Harry (10 yrs when we met) and Larry (8 when we met), but that's what I'll call them here. Larry's real name is a madeup name that's close to a normal name, but it's spelled all kinds of weird. My theory is that his mom MEANT to spell him a very cute, mainstream name but because of the twangity twang with which she spoke, she spelled it like she speaks.
Proof: at the hotel once, a few boys got off the elevator. They knew Larry from school and they called him Gary - not really, but play along, people - an example only.
Mini: WAIT, DID THEY CALL YOU Gary?
Larry: YEAH, PROBABLY (with a shrug)
Mini: DO PEOPLE CALL YOU THAT? AND DO YOU CARE?
Larry: YEAH. I DON'T CARE.
*Mini and I exchanged a look, because we'd SO prefer his name to be Gary, as in a real name - not a made up name like he has in reality.
Our first time staying at a hotel with them in March, Harry followed me into the room and half hugged me around the waist (like not a real hug, like a halfway/not committed hug) and said: THANKS FOR CHOOSING US TO BE YOUR ADOPTION KIDS.
I froze. That was interesting, because we hadn't really CHOSEN anyone, but that brings us to another tough thing: THIS IS ALL UNSCRPITED. No one tells you what to say, or what they've told the kids or how to answer questions. It's just fly by the seat of your pants. We were still just spending time with them to see if they'd be a good fit for our family.
Before we used the pool, Coach gave a speech: WE DON'T RUN NEAR THE POOL OR ACT UP. WE DON'T WANT ANYONE KNOCKING ON OUR DOOR SAYING HEY SHENANIGANS - WE KNOW YOU WEREN'T BEING CAREFUL AT THE POOL.
Harry WAIT, WE'RE SHEANIGANS TOO, RIGHT? (*remember our name in reality is a real cool last name)
It was hard to find things to do with stuff shut down. Because they were in southern Indiana, the weather was typically warmer than in Chicago so we hit the outdoor b-ball court regularly. Having our own hotel room helped. Curly and Reg built Lego train tracks and raced cars - similar to the game that Charlie and Max enjoyed so much.
At one point Harry said, WAIT, I WANT THE GREEN CAR.
Reg: YEAH, WELL I WANT A MILLION BUCKS.
End of February we were able to have them cross state lines for a visit to our home to meet our kids. (telling this out of order here - home visit before the hotel.) NOTE: Crossing state lines is a big deal and it could only take place BEFORE the papers were filed. Once papers were filed we couldn't have them back in Illinois till papers were complete.
*If you'd like to read my upcoming dissertation on red tape and government agencies and other related nonsense, let me know. I promise it'll make your blood boil and it won't make ANY kind of sense, but there you go.
Coach and I drove to meet the boys' social worker Joy halfway to pick up the boys. In order to pull that off, we took Curly out of school (remember our drive was long, even meeting halfway. We were trying to get home for dinner and bedtime. No one wanted to start them out at our house at 9 pm). School had JUST gone back to in-person and we were yanking her to fill in as 'me' at my daycare. This was our new normal: CURLY, WHAT DO YOU HAVE AT THE END OF THE DAY TOMORROW? CAN YOU HANDLE THE BABIES FOR ME?
The visit at our house went really well. They worshipped Reg. Sat in front of him while he ate breakfast and begged him to play nerf guns or mini hoops in the basement. He rose to the occasion. Mini pulled me aside: I THINK THESE TWO ARE A GOOD FIT. NOT PERFECT, BUT THE BEST YET.
We did a heck of a lot. The aquarium. Bowling. Sledding. Igloo building. All activities they'd never done before. Theydidn't have snow pants or boots, but our close friends who 'knew' came through, dropping off stuff to borrow/ keep. Have I mentioned we have some awesome friends? Oh, same goes for the hotel pool. The boys didn't own bathing suits, and Becky came through borrowing her friend's son's suits for us.
|Hmm, can you pick |
out Curly in this pic?
Harry freaked out a bit when we introduced him to fruit. They loved our house, the bunkbed room, but we noticed that they REALLY LOVED sitting around the dinner table watching us interact and laugh. They were totally thrown by the 'WE TAKE A SHOWER EVERY DAY' mandate.Probably it's important to be flexible in a pre-adoptive situation, but I didn't feel bendy here.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the timing of Lad's reappearance. He showed up the end of January - just before our fist visit to Indiana. I have no doubt that God steered Lad home. How could we've considered growing our family when it felt so broken?