Last time…Patrick found all my buttons and pushed them, said thank you and brushed his teeth, and tried to be nice to his little brother…
And, finally, the rest of the story. 🙂
So, it became clear, pretty quickly that Patrick wasn’t into anything that I planned. He liked the movies, but anything else that involved us hanging out? Forget about it. He didn’t like the park. He didn’t like the zoo. He really, really didn’t like the children’s museum. Even the arcade didn’t occupy him for very long. It was frustrating.
Since the zoo seemed to be the least objectionable of my objectionable ideas, we ended up going twice. We have a membership and I was desperate to make time pass. 🙂 On one of the visits, Patrick found a wallet in the bathroom and turned it in. I was pretty impressed and told him so. But, on the way out, he added that he had kept the $5 that he had found in the wallet. He insisted that it wasn’t stealing because it had been lost and no one was going to come looking for him for $5. I told him that it was not his to take and doing the right thing wasn’t about doing it so you won’t get in trouble. Doing the right thing is about doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. He kind of sighed, but didn’t bother to argue it.
This led to more talking. Much to my surprise, he started to talk about his failed adoption. I think they were well-intentioned people, but it was definitely not a good match. The more he had normal reactions to a new situation (which is admittedly frustrating), the more they tried to make him become the child that they expected him to be. Yeah, that doesn’t work. They tried to be firm, physical, and, in the end, he was basically confined to his room with only a yo-yo to play with. This is assuming, of course, that his recounts were accurate. But, after seeing his yo-yo skills (Brian bought him one), it definitely seems possible.
What do you say to that? I wanted to make it better, but, of course, that’s impossible.
So, I said “It’s not fair what you’ve had to deal with. I’m sorry that you’ve gone through all of this. It just plain sucks.”
And, he simply said “It’s all right.”
So, the final days passed. We hung out at the mall. That’s when he semi-casually mentioned that a Batman cup would be cool. Of course, I bought him one. You know that I have to encourage the Batman love! 😉 We went swimming at a friends’ house. Turns out that he really likes to swim. That’s when he started to refer to me as Mommy. (Instead of saying “Go to your Mommy,” he started saying “Go to Mommy.”) It was subtle, but seemed noteworthy. And, on the last night, Patrick put his last $3 from the money that he kept into the kids’ allowance jars. He said that it was to make up for “what you think was stealing.” J
He started to make “jokes” about staying. He started to make plans for coming back for his birthday and Thanksgiving.
I was feeling attached to him, but I still knew that we were in no position to adopt him, at this point. (It was also clear that he wasn’t ready, either.) Our house isn’t big enough. And, there’s not enough food in the fridge. Brian and I agreed that it was best for him to go home and we could all see how we felt about things.
It was the last day. I had spent the night before gathering his random things that had accumulated through the house. Turns out in this way, he is very much a typical 12 year old. It took a while for him to start packing. I guess he didn’t want to go. I felt bad. I didn’t want to rush him, but his case worker was meeting us so we had to go.
So, William’s Nintendo 3DS charger had broken and he’d been borrowing Patrick’s. It had annoyed him, for some reason, when William would ask. But, there he was, on the last day, telling me that he was going to leave his charger for William. He said that he could just use his car charger. I asked him if his foster mother would be upset if he came home without it. He said she probably would, but he would just say that he lost it. Now I don’t encourage lying, but I thought his motivation was awfully sweet. Busted! You care about your brother!
We got in the car, he buckled without being asked, and I felt like it had been a success. If I had it to do again, I probably wouldn’t start with such a long visit. Although it took us that long to figure each other out. I would somehow figure out some activities that a cranky 12 year old would actually enjoy. And, I wouldn’t enter into so naively. But, I would do it again.
We pulled out of the driveway and Patrick quietly said “It was fun.”
I said “Yes, it was.”
And, you know what? It was.
But, it all shifted when we got to McDonald’s where we were meeting his case worker. The walls went up. He got less polite and less interested in anything that we had to say. He wouldn’t take a picture with us and he barely hugged us good-bye. He hopped in her van, barely looking back, and then he was just gone.
And, we stood there, watching him leave. We weren’t sure what to do, so we got in the van and headed home. I hadn’t gotten the good-bye that I wanted and expected. And, I was mad. I knew it wasn’t fair. I mean, I got why he was acting that way. But, in spite of myself, I couldn’t help but be mad at him a little.
We went home and I focused on the bright side. It was quieter now. Not quiet, but definitely quieter. There was less arguing. I felt like I could talk freely. And, I didn’t feel obligated to empty the dishwasher. I didn’t particularly care if the kitchen was clean in the morning.
As I mentioned, I found out the very next day that my beloved English Setter had Lymphoma. Between that and getting the kids ready to go back to school, I had plenty to distract myself with.
I thought of him. I thought of him when I found out that Ben was sick because Patrick is an animal lover and gave Ben lots of attention. I thought of him when I found the random things that he left behind like socks. I wondered if he missed us. I wondered if he was telling people that I yelled at him in a grocery store. I thought about him and wondered about him. But, I still wasn’t really dealing with it. In fact, I had myself pretty convinced that I didn’t particularly care at all until the other night when I had a dream about him.
I don’t remember the details, but he was back at our house. I woke up and I realized that I missed him. I finally emailed his case worker. I know that I waited too long, but hopefully, the universe will cut me some slack for that.
Turns out that he’s doing mostly ok, but he’s having some issues. Just like that, all of my maternal, protective instincts kicked in. I forgave him for not giving me the good-bye that I wanted. (For my sake, not his.) And I just wanted to help him. I still don’t know if we’ll ever be in a position to adopt him, but I do know that I want to be a positive and loving presence in his life. And, I know that I want to see him again…soon.