Way back when, I mentioned that one day I’d share the story of how I came to be matched with my kids. There have been many instances in my life that have convinced me of the power of fate – but this one? Seals the deal. And there is no better time to share it, because we are quickly coming up on our 3 year mom-iversary.
December 18, 2009: It was early evening and I was home alone. The sky-high nerves had me alternating between pacing, fluffing the pillows, and wiping the clean counters, again. Then I heard a car door and I raced out the back. As the door to the car’s backseat opened, I laid my eyes on my son for the first time. He grabbed my hand to help pull himself out of his carseat and I said, “Welcome buddy. I’m glad you’re here.” I loved him already.
But how exactly did he get “here”? Well that story begins the week before…
I was chatting with a friend (on a message board. Yes, I can thank social networking for my children) and venting about our ridiculous licensing process and long wait for a match. She responded with commiseration and mentioned that a friend of hers was a local foster mom and was also having a hard time with her foster experience and placements. Her response tugged at my heart and since we were (still!) childless, I figured I might be able to offer some support. I asked my friend to pass along my contact info to the foster mom.
Right away I got an email from the foster mom explaining that this wasn’t a positive match for her biological daughter and she had asked the state to find a new home for the boy but they were dragging their feet and not offering her any support in the mean time. I offered whatever assistance I could – respite, babysitting, ect. The email I got back was simple and direct…
“Do you think you might want him?”
It took my breath away. My head began to spin. Could this be it? Are we ready for it? Could we handle him? Would my wife say yes?? We need a bed! We anticipated that our first placement would be a baby and our room was set up as a nursery. What should I say? What about daycare? This is crazy! Are we ready??
Never mind the fact that we were desperately waiting for a child for months – I think the “are we ready??” is inevitable, no matter what the situation!
I spoke with my wife and she was open to finding out more info. It’s then that things started moving at lightning speed. That afternoon we got the “official” call from the state and accepted the match.
We spent that evening and the next taking apart the nursery that we had spent months working on and turned it into a room suitable for a 3-year-old. We tucked away the tiny baby clothes, mourned the loss of that possibility, and put out trucks, coloring books, and race cars. Our minds were still racing – we were filled with such an odd combination of excitement and loss. As I mentioned, we always expected (hoped?) that our first placement would be a baby, but it was clear that we were meant to meet this boy, so we tried to keep our hearts open to a new reality.
His current foster mom was fantastic in getting us ready for him. She told us all about his routines, his favorite foods and TV shows, his triggers – everything! It’s so unusual to have this kind of info as a foster parent, it left us feeling as prepared as we possibly could.
A couple days later – 3:30pm – I got another call from the state. The ‘powers that be’ have decided that the boy could not be moved unless it was with his 6 week old baby sister. Both children will be dropped off tomorrow afternoon.
You know the “surprise you’re pregnant!” feeling? Well, multiply that x1000 and that’s about where I was.
Excited, nervous, scared, overwhelmed, but most of all, I was devastated for the other foster mama. It was never part of the plan for her to re-home the baby, but she had to make that sacrifice for the well-being of her daughter.
So that evening we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning taking back out the tiny baby clothes, rebuilding the crib and the pack n play and the swing, buying formula and diapers, and so much more. Our heads were spinning twice as much as the nights before. I’m pretty sure we were in a state of shock working on pure adrenaline.
Less than 24 hours from that second call, a 3 year old boy and a 6 week old girl were on their way to our house. I was home alone because my wife had previously committed to bringing her grandmother to a doctor’s appointment. I was nervous but ready despite having no idea what to expect (I’d never seen a picture…I didn’t even know what their skin color would be). I just had a feeling that things were working out as they were meant to.
As I was spraying and wiping the kitchen counter for the 100th time, I heard a car door slam. And, well, you know the rest.
It’s those little decisions, like passing along your email address on some random Tuesday afternoon, that change the course of our lives forever. 3 years later, I can not begin to express how glad I am to have taken the chance to say ‘yes’.