This goes back a bit. Cliff notes:
Mid-September 2020, I drove Reg home from the dermatologist. I was a bit blue- frustrated by our adoption journey. I thought of the other family going through the adoption process. Kids who were 'the right fit' popped up so quickly for them that their licensing had to be rushed along. I said a little prayer. (click the links in this paragraph to read about the start of all of this).
An hour later I was on the phone with the police. My therapist had suggested that we let the local police know that Lad was struggling (don't panic - remember this is a look back to last Sept). We wanted them to be aware of the situation in case we needed to call them, if he became disruptive, etc. He hadn't been staying with us for a few weeks, but the messages he was sending were unsettling.
*these were some really dark days, and while we are still working on getting him on the right path, things are no where near where they were. So grateful to God for that.
My other phone line kept clicking. When I hung up with the po-po, I called the other number back. It was our social worker. There were two brothers in Illinois. They were most likely pre-adoptive. The parental rights hadn't been terminated, but they expected that they would be. Were we interested?
Details: Max, 10 yrs., is autistic. Charlie, 4 yrs., has a serious speech delay.
We agreed to meet them. Coach and I met them with their worker at a park in Libetytown, an hour north - just down the street from Lad's work (and the backyard of my childhood home). We drove through the dealership parking lot before we met the boys, wondering if we'd see Lad.
Max seemed fairly high functioning, doing whatever he could to keep Charlie happy - helping him to climb things, etc. Coach climbed a tower thing not made for a 6'4" man to help Charlie reach the top.
Note: the boys were placed in two different foster homes at the time because their placement was emergent. They were overjoyed to be reunited at the park that day.
The next day their worker, Jazmin, called. Were we interested in setting up a weekend visit so our kids could spend time with them, etc. We said yes.
She then asked me 'DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO ADOPT THEM?'
Me: (stumped): Isn't this the point of the weekend visit? Don't know yet. Why?
Jaz: Charlie's foster mom wants to adopt him. She's willing to adopt Max too. They haven't met Max yet, but they want to get licensed to foster/adopt two instead of one. She has a 7 year old son. He and Charlie get along well.
I called Coach at work. We both felt like we were getting in the way of what might be a good match for these boys. Charlie was bonding with a possible close-to-his-age brother. The family was willing to take Max. We also factored in our situation with Lad. It was an unknown.
I called Jazmin back: We'll defer to this other family. *We were ahead of them because unlike us they weren't licensed for two kids. They were pre-adoptive, and felt he'd fit well with their family, but he came with a brother and DCFS doesn't split siblings unless necessary.*
That call was hard. I cried a little. Were we doing the right thing? I asked Jazmin to let us know if anything changed. I called Ed at college and he reassured me. More tears. This was the right thing. Stepping aside meant something would work out for us. Karma.
Mid-November, Jaz called. The foster parents gave 2 weeks notice on Max. After less than 30 days, they didn't want him. They wanted to keep Charlie, but they couldn't do that if someone wanted both brothers. I said we were interested in the brothers. Together. But I first wanted to talk to Coach. Coach agreed.
Max and Charlie visited the weekend before Thanksgiving. In all of this, no one gives you a script. When it was time to bring the boys back to Jazmin on Monday, I just said THIS WAS A GREAT VISIT. HOPE TO SEE YOU GUYS SOON.
|Reg and Curly reading books the Max and Charlie - |
I'm perched above them on the basement stairs, thus the bird's eye view.
Max was confused. Why was I bringing them back? What had they done wrong? Dear God. It was hard. I told him, THIS WAS JUST A VISIT. Our weekend had been really good. Still, confusing: Coach and I fluctuated between: CAN WE HANDLE MAX'S NEEDS? and DO WE HAVE THE ENERGY FOR A 4 YEAR OLD?
Was this the kind of direction you though this 'upcoming' story was headed in ? Were you thinking that our adoption plans had faded after last summer's challenges? There's much more to this story, but I've broken it into what I hoper are manageable parts. More on Wednesday.
This was a total surprise - I did think that you were not thinking about adoption anymore. I look forward to "part 2."
Oh my goodness, as Nicole said, didn’t think adoption was still in the plans. Cannot wait for Part 2!
Nicole- I figured most readers would think we had washed our hands of it. In reality, we felt like the other situation was not a good fit but we decided it meant we were one step closer to finding the kids who would work out for us.
Pat - Yep, we never really stopped focusing on it, just proceeded and hoped to have a better experience.
Your family is amazing. In the midst of SO much with Lad, you were still forging forward with your calling. I love this. I hate the heartache you go through, but I love your hearts.
Suz - Thanks. That made me day, and today I needed that.
We really do feel called and at times I wish that call hadn't been so loud. Maybe we would've been able to ignore it, but not the case. ;) We realized last summer that it just isn't an easy process, or more people would do it. So onward.
Holy cow, this is quite a story. I hope this turns out well for all involved. Sending you love.
<3 Reading intently and with high hopes...
OH my!!! How exciting! But why must you make us wait for a part 2?????
You people are really good people. You have so much on your plate and are willing to take on more.
Must love children, and you surely do! Best of luck and I hope everything ends well.
Wow Ernie! I also thought your adoption dreams had faded, but you never cease to amaze us with your energy and enthusiasm, so really I’m not surprised at all. Looking forward to part II.
I have to agree with the above comments, inspired by your determination to help and to love kids who need it, while also finding the best fit for your kiddos and you as parents.
Looking forward to what’s next! Feel free to give us long posts!
Kari - This is only the tip of the ice burg. Several posts to follow. Wrapping up in December? Kidding, I hope.
Suzanne - Thanks and I have been struggling to find time to read blogs AT ALL. Hoping to get some reading time in today. Life is busy.
Suz - Just re-reading my response and realizing I was doing my best pirate impression with my 'MADE ME DAY.'
Beth - You aren't waiting for part 2, you're waiting for part like 10, maybe? As I haven't quite reached the end yet. I couldn't update you all at once, WAY TOO MUCH to tell. I am considering posting 3x a week during this particular thread.
Cheryl - Sometimes good people are disguised as silly, foolish people who think things will be a breeze. Kidding, never thought it would be a breeze - but we still might be silly/foolish. Thanks very much.
Charlie - Maybe it's because my dad used to read us the children's book all the time about the little train that thought he could. I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN. So much of this has been frustrating. We've leaned into our faith HEAVILY. Which I think is better than relying heavily on the drink. But, dang the drink was so tempting. ;)
AM - Thanks a bunch. We were definitely down but not out with the experience last summer. It's been a journey, that will extend well past the next post. I might share 3x a week just to not leave you hanging. Here and there there are even a few humorous bits, which are my favorite parts - but needing to power through the details first. I hope I remember the funny bits that I want to share by the time this is wrapping up. ;)
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