All the paperwork is in and we are one step away from being fully licensed foster/adoptive parents. Next Wednesday morning our social worker and the licensing specialist will visit our home. They will pass judgement on how clean and safe things are, count the beds, ask a few more questions, get some signatures and as long as they are happy with what they see- they will go back to the office and walk the last steps of submitting our paperwork and completing the licensing process. We have no reason to think things won’t follow this course, so, at the very latest, we will be available for placements by September first. The soonest? ONE WEEK.
I feel kind of pregnant, only without any real sense of timing and what to expect. People want to know what to expect when they are expecting? Well, in the simplest wording- a baby. You expect an infant. Yes, we can quibble over details like boy or girl or maybe two, but when you are nine months pregnant, you expect a newborn. And that simplifies life.
We are expecting a. . .someone. Probably a girl, because we have agreed to take one girl, or siblings where one is a girl. We know we have room for one kid two years or older and space for one kid two or younger. Technically, we could have room for two infants or toddlers. So- we will get some version of that. And we know we won’t have kids over a certain age, because we have a specific range we are willing to take for the safety of our own children and realistic expectations for our family overall. We will not be having a seventeen year old. Also, no octopi, dogs or flying squirrels. We can check a few things off our list, but I’m not sure how helpful that is.
One thing that I do find kind of cool and exciting is that we have no race preference, so there are loads of possibilities there. I can remember reading back issues of National Geographic at my grandparent’s house when I was a very little girl, marveling at the magnificent beauty of all children. It didn’t matter if the child was from China or Ethiopia or even from really exotic places like Appalachia or Chicago- I was impressed. One thing every culture or country has in common is exquisite children. This made me want to grow up and adopt children from all over the world. I didn’t realize at the time quite why, but I do now. When a person recognizes the divinity of creation in another human being, it is impossible not to fall in love. I think differences have the ability to make us see that more clearly- and people either fear it or embrace it.
I do feel ill prepared materially. You see, one kid needs less stuff than two kids. And an infant has an entirely different list of needs than a three year old. Do I buy a baby carrier or dress up clothes? Bottles or forks? Diapers or panties? An infant seat, a toddler seat, a booster seat? NO IDEA. However, I could medal in shopping at Target, so I assume any major deficiencies we encounter can be dealt with swiftly.
You would think we would be pretty well stocked, but seeing as how we didn’t think we could have any more children, I did the charitable thing and gave away nearly every baby/toddler item we owned. I have always been pretty quick to pass on items that I’m not using, particularly if someone I know has a need. I have always had faith that if I gave away something I actually did still need, it would all work out anyway. I assume that goodness will return goodness and if I was ever in desperate need of an item, it would come back either through the means to purchase it or out of sheer kindness. These things will come together as needed.
The truly hard thing in all of this is that we don’t know if the person/s we are expecting will be around for a week, a month, a year or forever. The first goal of foster care is always reunification. The second goal is finding family the child can live with. The last goal is adoption. And that is a good thing! Every kid should have the chance to be with his own family, to know his roots and feel comfortable within his own culture. Families that are better is best for the whole world. I honestly can’t see myself knowing a struggling mother and not wanting to do everything in my power to help. But not all families get better. Everyone we’ve talked to has said that if you foster, eventually you will adopt. There are always kids who can’t go home.
Do you want to feel like a real dirt bag? Try reconciling your desire to adopt with the fact that you are basically saying you hope there is a kid stuck in a bad situation that will never improve. That you hope a kid’s parents fail. That you hope the circumstances are tough enough that there are no family willing or able to step up. It is hard to make peace with the fact that the only way you will get a child through this system is by other people’s hearts breaking. It isn’t as though I’m camped out at a playground stalking adorable children, mentally willing their families to fall apart. There is no need. Families fall apart in the worst ways, every single day without any help from me or anyone else who wants a child. These kids will be in the system regardless of my participation in it. I am not at fault; I just want to be the solution. I have to tell myself this almost daily, or I really do feel like a jerk.
So we are close to. . .something. Change waits around the corner and oddly enough, I’m rushing to get there. I’ve had six months to imagine every possible combination and situation and outcome, and believe me, I’ve spent
hours days ruminating. I really need everything to go well on Wednesday- if I wait much longer I may actually pop.