Adoption from Foster Care- Sitting with Sadness
A year ago today we were driving two hours away to meet who we thought would be our son. We were full of hope and fear as we drove to another state to meet face to face for the first time the child that we were matched with by an adoption recruiter and social worker.
We were intending to adopt an older child from the foster care system and inquired on over 70 children. The process took a year. A year of daily, scrolling through images and reading profiles of the children in the foster care system who are intending to be adopted from various websites. We then submitted inquiries and then scheduled phone conferences with our adoption agency and the child's social worker so that they could learn more about us and for us to learn more about that particular child. It was often in these conversations that we discovered that we weren't the right family for that child whether it be because they needed to be the only child in the home because they were sexually acting out towards other children and we already have two children in our home that we didn't want to subject to that possibility. Or that they needed services that we weren't able to commit to. We believed in our hearts that an older child would really benefit from being in our family. We are loving and kind, our family thrives on routine and schedules (which is often the thing that kids in the foster care system crave in a family structure) and we had knowledge of trauma and parenting kids with special needs.
On the drive my wife and I talked about what it will be like to meet him, we were giddy with excitement. I spent more time than usual picking out my outfit that day, routinely reminding myself as I tried on several different combinations of pants and dresses, "He's 9! He won't even notice what you are wearing!". But I wanted to make a good first impression. My wife packed up a bag of balls; football, basketball and our beach frisbee to have things to play with him outside and to show him that we are an active family. Something that his social worker mentioned that he is looking for in his "forever family".
We were scared of the unknown; would he like us, would we like him? Would he get along with L and Z, our other two children? Was he kind to animals? Would he accept a family with two moms?
Fear of the unknown often keeps us from going forward. It keeps us stuck in the same place which can be quite comfortable but it is limiting our experiences and the depth of our lives. My wife and I aren't the type of people who stay stagnant, we yearn for expansion. We believe in growth; physically, mentally and spiritually. A lot has happened in this past year. This incredible little boy who we opened our hearts and home to wasn't able to accept our love and decided that he didn't want to be adopted; not by us...not by anyone. Our hearts are broken, but we are healing. We are moving forward. Step by step, day by day.... I know that it will continue to get easier to heal from this experience. But today holds sadness and I'm going to sit with that for awhile.