September 29, 2021

Rhyming names. Why not? Unscripted. Unbending. And more.

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. 


Larry:  YEAH, PROBABLY (with a shrug)



*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.


Harry WAIT, WE'RE SHEANIGANS TOO, RIGHT? (*remember our name in reality is a real cool last name)

Well. No. You're not - but whose going to tell them that? Coach just sort of dodged it and rephrased his point BEHAVE IN THE POOL.

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. 


Coach beamed, as this was a direct quote from Reg's childhood directly from Coach's frequently spoken favorite phrases. 

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. They

didn'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?
Tank played the funniest game of memory with them. All our kids wanted to hang with their friends, but we just asked that they be around to engage for parts of the weekend. 

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?   


Anonymous said...

How nice that the boys seemed to mesh into your brood so well. Very sweet to see the teenage kids playing with them. Like you said about nobody preparing you for the kids’ questions/comments that might come up, that would be tough, especially after having a couple of previous kiddos not work out. I can see where you’d be guarded and want to guard the kids’ hearts too.

Beth Cotell said...

The saga continues! I love that they seemed to fit in so well at your house. A lot of cool kids to play with, talk to, watch, - what's not to love!

Busy Bee Suz said...

The names. Goodness. What are parents thinking when they try to get 'creative' naming kids? It always baffles me.

I LOVE that your kids all chipped in with the home and away visits; again, they are great humans. Also Lad coming back? yes, the timing was perfect for all of you to feel more comfortable moving forward.

Them watching you guys interact. They probably didn't have a lot of that before and it was most likely like watching a Disney movie; one that they had never 'lived'.
Recently the day we were prepping for The Surprise Shower one of Lindsay's friends was with us helping with decorating, etc....she said to Linds that night: Your family is awesome. SO much happening today and NO ONE WAS FIGHTING. She also comes from a different perspective, so I understand why Harry and Larry are mesmerized by your family dynamic.

Regs: And I want a million bucks quote had me in stitches. He's his fathers son!

Jenny in WV said...

I was wondering, did the boys know when you first met them that you were potentially going to adopt them or was the introduction more "Mr and Mrs. Shenanigan love playing mini-golf, so I invited them to join us today"?

It looks like you all have had some fun times and made great memories this year!

Charlie said...

Lovely instalment in the series. And lovely to hear how welcoming your kids are. It’s amazing what we take for granted, swimming trunks, snow boots etc. It’s doing all of us readers good to appreciate how other families/children who aren’t as fortunate live.

Kara said...

I love this update.

My kids names don't rhyme, but stupidly I named them all with the first starting letter. Thankfully we were smart enough to give them a different middle initial.

Ernie said...

AM- Yes, our kids did go a good job of welcoming the littles. It is hard to know what to say at times and we sure as heck didn't want to say the wrong thing. It was hard to know what was clear to them and what was fuzzy.

Ernie said...

Beth - Yes, looking back at these simpler days is heart warming. In real time, we've hit a rough patch, to say the least, in this journey. My heart feels very heavy today.

Ernie said...

Suz - Oh, the names. We were never thinking about 3 kids, but I did look at a profile for 3 here and there. One set of 3 brothers were names after two famous NFL bothers and the third brother had the two famous guys' last name as his first name. That could be a riddle and we could see if anyone guesses. I was dumbfounded when I saw that someone did that. Sadly, they apparently did far worse because they lost custody of their kids.

All things considered, our kids have really risen to the occasion all the way through on this. It sure as heck wasn't their decision, but they've been supportive - mostly. ;)

Ah, if all of their problems could just be solved by them sitting around and watching us interact. I might put on a few pounds, but LAWDY that'd be the easiest, laziest solution EVAH. 'OH. LOOKIE HERE COMES THE NEXT COURSE. WHAT SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT FOR THE NEXT FEW HOURS.'

When Reg said that, we were like CLASSIC. OUR WORK HERE IS DONE.

Ernie said...

Jenny - I think the boys had just recently learned in early December that they weren't going to see their parents again. Rough stuff. So, I believe their worker told them what it meant to be adopted. Regardless of how their parents failed them, this was going to be a hard transition.

Ernie said...

Charlie - You are very sweet. And you are right - there are so many things that never occurred to us that they wouldn't have. I guess they don't get much snow in southern Indiana.

Ernie said...

Kara - Thanks, glad that you are following the saga. You are not alone in the same letter for first names. I know so many people that do that. Coach and I often spoke about our children in code when they were too little to 'get it'- like I'll take D to the library if you start baths with P. Then we screwed that up because both girls start with an M. Well, plus the kids got old enough to start being able to identify who 'D' was.

Jenny in WV said...

I don't follow football so the only brothers I could come up with are Eli and Peyton Manning. Eli and Peyton are perfectly fine names on their own (Manning seems a little out-there for a first name), but all three names for brothers is a little much!

I hope what ever rough patch you've encountered resolves soon.

Bibliomama said...

It just struck me that you're basically my age and I have shipped my youngest away and you still have some at home AND are adding two new ones. It sounds difficult and exhausting and potentially very rewarding. Heartbreaking to realize that what we consider the very basics of care are things that some kids have no knowledge of.

Ernie said...

Jenny - And the winner is . . . Jenny! Yep, you nailed it. So strange, but I guess I've heard of stranger names than Manning.

We are hoping things become clearer for us soon. New info has come to light and I feel ill.

Ernie said...

Ali - Yes, we started this process years ago and I'd be lying if I said we didn't feel really old at this point. Never dreamt it would take so long to have kids here. Once we were licensed in '17, I ran around the house to make sure we were prepared, thinking the phone would ring any minute. I laugh at that now. It is amazing the things that they haven't experienced. Fruit being one of them - even though they'd been in a caring foster home for over a year. That placement did them good, but there were things that just went to the wayside.

Ernie said...

(Pat said . . . ) How sweet. Your kids are to all spend time with these guys. I can imagine the two brothers would be in awe of the whole big family dinner experience. I was one of 5 kids, but I recall staying at cousins where they had 8 kids and there dinners seemed wonderful. You & your entire family are really special people. Man...I am hoping for a happy ending for all here.

Ernie said...

Pat - I just saw your comment in my inner-blog-workings but for some reason it didn't show up here. So sorry about that. Wish I didn't have a better handle on the inner-blog-workings, but alas - that's not my speicialty.

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, they did a good job of hanging with the boys. Partly this was because we wanted their input and if they wanted to weigh in, they had to put the time in. Our family dinners are fun and loud - usually. Busy nights are more of an eat when you have time kind of dinner - so our 'the gang's all here' dinners are something to enjoy.

Maddie said...

Oh my gosh I was so moved by what you wrote. So many things - like fruit for the first time (*sob*), the realities of having no script to go by, and the wonderful, supportive, kind behavior of your kids. Thank you for sharing this. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to take your experiences and turn them into thoughtful, informative posts. And you’ve done that here with this whole series. Did I already say thank you for sharing this? :-)

Ernie said...

Maddie - Thanks. Flying by the seat of our pants with no script in unchartered (to us) territory has been challenging. We are both super proud of our kids for their involvement and enthusiasm. Thanks for the kind words.

ka-lyn said...

I have recently discovered your blog and am fascinated by your journey...because my husband and I have been on a similar one with almost the same timing! We started talking about/praying about fostering in August of 2016. Got licensed in March of 2017...and though we were adamant that we were only going to foster and not adopt...We adopted our youngest son in Dec. 2020. He is four years ole and it took 3 1/2 years to get permanency. We fostered him from the time he was 3 1/2 months old though, so that's different than what you are going through. Anyway ours was a long story with a million twists and turns (some that are still coming post adoption) but our little guy is the light of all our lives (we have 5 bio kids ranging in age from 23-12) and such a blessing. Praying for your family and that God's will be done for those 2 little boys.

Ernie said...

Kari - Thanks for commenting and welcome. The ages of your kids and the timing of your journey and how it parallels ours is AMAZING. So happy that you had a happy ending. We opted not to foster, knowing that our goal was adoption we feared falling in love for kids only to have them be reunited with their parents. We wondered if that might be hard on us and REALLY hard on our kids. Thanks so much for sharing this and for the prayers.