The latter half of 2010 was mostly normal. On the adoption front, we finished our homestudy, got set up with the state for foster adoption, and started working with a very small, private adoption agency. We didn’t know what would happen or when, so I nobly spared you those details. Do you remember when David Letterman had “Oprah Watch” on his show? Dozens of nights in a row, he’d say, “Oprah Winfrey did not call today.” That’s how the waiting game is in adoption. The agency did not call today.
And so it went, from midyear, when all of our paperwork and fingerprints and medicals and whatnot were complete, until September, when our state social worker sent us some preliminary files on a group of 3 kids. “They look scary on paper,” she said. “But give them a chance. I think they might be a good match for you.” In this group was H, an 8-year-old girl, and her brothers L and G, who are 5 and 4. We read files, looked at pictures and did a lot of thinking and praying. A few other kids’ files came along in that time, too. We heard nothing more until mid-November.
Our state social worker called to ask whether I wanted our homestudy considered at the best interest staffing, or not. It was time to stop floating along on a cloud of indecision, but actually making a solid decision suddenly paralyzed me in fear. More prayers ensued. I begged for some kind of solid indication from the almighty powers of the universe. We finally decided that we couldn’t say no at this point, so we’d allow the homestudy to be submitted, and take it as a good sign if the kids’ team chose us as the best fit.
The date for the best interest staffing came and went. Our social worker said it would be a week or so before she knew which family was chosen. That extra week also came and went. Not meant to be, I decided.
On a Monday morning, more than a month after the best interest staffing, our social worker called. “I just heard that SRS approved you as a match for these kids. Congratulations! I’m sure you’re nervous, but I hope you’re also excited.” I think I was mostly in shock. I called G at work, then called my mom. Suddenly, in the midst of telling my friends that we were matched, I started to feel the absolute assurance that this was right. Finally! The excitement and love from my friends pulled me from my overwhelmed and shocked state, and put me squarely into thrilled territory. With a side of absolute terror, of course. I’m about to be a mom of four. Hold me!
Later that week, we drove 2 hours to an SRS office to read files on the kids. The information in the files was as heartbreaking as we expected it to be. It was a little scary, too, but mostly it strengthened our desire to give these kids the love and peace and stability that they’ve been denied for too long. After the file reading, we finally got to meet the kids!
We saw them in the hall on the way to the conference room where we were supposed to hang out and play. The oldest, H, kept stealing glances back at us, and I heard her asking her social worker “who are they?” I smiled at her, and she gave me a hesitant smile in return. She’s a pretty kid anyway, but when she smiles? Watch out, world.
We played for a while in the conference room, chatting about our likes and dislikes. The boys made Play-Doh mustaches. It was an incredibly strange time, but oddly comforting, too. What do you say when meeting your kids for the first time? We managed, and by the time we left, I was hopelessly in love with all of them.
Two days before Christmas, we learned that we’d be able to have the kids with us for the whole weekend. So exciting! Except, omg. I have no gifts for three extra kids! Or clothes for the Christmas Eve service! Never doubt that I love my children, internet, because I drove to the city and went to approximately 28 stores in a quest to acquire last-minute gifts and attire. I had to go to Walmart. Two days before Christmas. In the toy section. Yeah, I love these kids.
Christmas was an absolute joy with a suddenly bigger family. Our extended family also rushed to get gifts to include all of the kids in the festivities, and embraced all of them instantly. We had a short break just after the holiday, and then the kids came back to our house to finish up their school break. We’ll have them every weekend from now until the state decides they can move in forever.
So there you have it. 2010 went out with a bang in our household, with our family size doubling overnight. I predict that 2011 will bring Sam’s Club memberships, basement renovations and four times the excitement of the previous year!