It’s been a journey. That’s how people always start these stories. Going through the adoption process with Patrick has been a journey. It’s like traveling to a new country by boat or train or some other slow and unsteady form of transportation. Definitely not an airplane, though. While airplanes have turbulence sometimes, they are so darn fast. This process didn’t feel fast. Anyway, on with my analogy. It’s like traveling to a new country and then having to live there. The journey is over and then the real adventure begins.
Through these last few months, I’ve had my share of doubts and concerns. Just like I’m sure that he has. Not big, dramatic doubts. I mean, I knew that I loved him. I was just afraid that my life would always be like this. A little chaotic, with constant attempts at juggling, and very noisy. I never wanted to send him back, but I was scared about how it would be since he was staying. And, I definitely didn’t like everything that went along with the last few months. Case workers, fingerprints, physicals…not fun. While I appreciate the importance of these things, (I really, really do); if I’m going to clean my house, I want it to be because I want to clean the house, not because a case worker was coming. Well, wait, that would never happen, I would never “want” to clean the house. So, maybe it’s good that they force the issue. 😉 But, the stress of a virtual stranger coming in and not knowing if she would see or hear something that she didn’t like; well, it wears on you. Especially, since we were done with our 90 days at the end of September and, there we were, in mid-October, setting up our local case worker visit and arranging for a new Guardian At Litem to come, as well.
Why? Partially because the case worker from south Florida quit. Anyone who has ever dealt with the system knows that everything can change when a case worker changes. We went through 4 or 5 workers with Lizzie. Yeah, that was stressful.
Our non-local case worker in south Florida changed. Our local case worker in North Florida received no notification and had to get contact info from me. Lots of new paperwork was sent. Our case was sent to a committee to be reviewed. Then more new paperwork was sent. New questions were asked. I started freaking out a little and worrying that something was going wrong??
So, the local case worker made her visit. (She’s awesome, by the way.) She didn’t know why the process was taking so long. She thought that she had read something about them planning to finalize on November 23rd. She said that she’d be back next month.
The day that the Guardian At Litem came, I think I was almost at my breaking point. It was a new person and who knew what she would ask, look at, or think. I was frantically cleaning the house which already looked pretty good because Brian had worked on it that morning. (I like him.) I was cleaning what he cleaned. I was cleaning what I cleaned. And, I was cleaning what wasn’t dirty. And, I was cleaning what needed to be cleaned. I’m not proud of how grouchy I was during the whole thing, but it worked out and it would seem that my family has forgiven me.
She came. She was super nice. She didn’t know that we were already done with the 90 days, the paperwork, or anything else. She thought that the process had just started. She didn’t know why we were still waiting. She also won over the case-worker/GAL weary teenager. That was a first.
I was losing my mind. Every question that I asked seemed to be greeted by vague or confusing responses. I was losing my mind. I know that I said that already, but it bears repeating.
Finally, on Friday morning, the non-local case worker emailed me, simply saying – “Please call me at the office.”
My dramatic thoughts — What does that mean? What did she find out about us that I didn’t know existed. Something has gone wrong! Are they going to take him away?
So, I called and spoke to my case worker for the first time. (We had communicated via email up to this point.) I have to admit that I was a little surprised by her pleasant voice.
And, she said “Congratulations, it’s a boy!”
As it dawned on me that she was telling me that we were officially approved, she went on to discuss logistics, finalization dates, and lawyers. I hung up the phone and said goodbye to a lot of anxiety that I didn’t realize that I had. Months of anxiety –gone. I didn’t realize how much of my stress was just about the uncertainty of it all and not about him at all.
It might be my imagination, but I think that he feels better now, too.
The next day when we were out and about, Patrick told me that Brian had a talk with him about Lizzie and his jealousy towards her. Patrick doesn’t understand why Lizzie gets so much attention. Usually, I respond un-helpfully by pointing out that she’s 5, the only girl, and darn cute. (This was after several unhelpful talks where I explained that we loved them all, but people tend to address young children with a different tone, it’s no reflection on him, etc.) So, I asked Daddy to talk to him! And, thankfully, It seemed to help.
Then Patrick said “I always wondered why you didn’t have children of your own.”
I had heard that expression and been asked that question, but never had it hit so close to home. And, never had it been more important to answer the right way. I responded with “I do. You are all my own.”
In the middle of a pumpkin patch that he was vaguely annoyed to be at, I told him that they were all my own and not being biological had nothing to do with that. I put my arm around him and told him that he was my son, already, and that soon it would be legal, and then he would be completely stuck with me. I don’t know if it meant anything to him, if it helped, or if he just thought I was being dramatic again. But, I know one thing, I know that I needed to say it and I needed to hear it. Because I definitely felt it.
Now I realize that it was silly to be afraid that my life would always be chaotic, unsteady, and noisy. I’d be better off just accepting it. It was all of those things before Patrick and it will continue to be all of those things, just a little more so. I like a challenge, anyway. I mean, my blogs would be pretty boring if I had time to think things out in my head. 😉 I’d end up writing about clothes and shoes, if I had time to think about them or extra money to shop for them.
So, here we are. We have traveled to our new country. Let’s call it 6 Parkerland! The boat made me sea sick, but had a pretty view. Our journey is almost over and our adventure is about to begin. The good news is that I think I’m finally ready. No, I know that I’m finally ready. 🙂