On the 29th day of the 10th month of 2019, at 11:30 AM, Cole Daniel Scott and Thomas James Stephen became the newest official members of my family. But, through it all, this family has expanded to include the number of people who have helped to make all of this possible and those close friends who have supported me through all the twists and turns in this journey. People often ask if it feels good to have helped reshape a child’s future. The simple answer is, of course it does. Unless you’re a sociopath, that should always be the answer. That is always a great feeling. But I didn’t start out with the motive of saving a child, or, in my case, children. I set out on this journey from a place of desperation and narcissistic navel-gazing. Scared that I would die without ever having the privilege of being a dad. What I set out to do was prove to myself that no one had the power to decide that for me, but me. What I did was reshaped the lives of everyone who has ever mattered to me. None more than my own.
From the first day the boys were placed with me, November 10th, 2017, they felt like my kids. One year later, the possibility of reunification was barreling down on me like a rabid dog. There’s nothing quite like looking at two children whom you would jump in front of traffic to protect, while listening to someone telling you that it is necessary to start working on a plan for transitioning them back to their biological parent, which will surely be a death sentence. Metaphorically, hopefully, but not necessarily. Vision clouding as the blood drains from your face, wondering if it had just been a reprieve and everything you’d been through together would leave the most confusing and gaping hole in their short lives, to date.
That was when I knew for sure that I was capable of extreme violence against another human being. But my rage was against an invisible adversary. It was against an imperfect system in an even less perfect world, and for that, there would be no bloodshed. It is an intangible beast for whom men position themselves, fruitlessly, at her reigns, only to be, themselves, devoured by the very power they seek to wield.
Fear is the fuel that feeds evil deeds. It has been said that people do nothing, but to change the way that they feel at a given moment. Terrible to think that everyone, stripped of there convictions, can be boiled down to this one trait in common. From the addict to the CEO; from the slave to the King he serves. All responding, godlessly, mindlessly, instinctively to the baser needs all mankind shares. And there is no more motivating a feeling than the fear of losing a child. It will bring the proudest warrior to his knees and the weakest coward to pick up a sword and take a life. Be it another; be it his own.
Nothing in any foster parenting book will ever prepare you for this reality.
But it’s still worth the fight. It’s worth it for even a glimpse of the light in a child’s eyes as he or she looks up at you with total trust and childlike innocence and says, “Help me, Daddy.”
Well, today, I got to witness judicial power grant me the rights of a father to do just that for two boys who have shared my home, my life, and now share my name for as long as the good Lord will allow. This is the happiest I imagine I will ever be in this life, and I have never felt less worthy of the gift I’ve been given. But I promise you this: I will spend every day of the rest of my life trying to earn it.
And, not just that, but to stare humility in the face as I think about the impact various people have had along the way. I’d like to name a few now:
To my ex-fiance, Anna. Thank you for your honesty. Had you given me what I wanted with you, I would never have experienced the pain of the last two years, which shaped me into the man, and, more importantly, the father I am today.
To my mother who showed me what a parent’s love looked like from the very first seconds of my life. A woman who has sacrificed more for me than I can ever fully comprehend.
To my sister, Ashley, who has given nearly every one of her days off to the care of my children so I can still maintain my employment. A person who has been as much as a mother figure as she’s been an aunt.
To the rest of my family, who have embraced these children as though they were my own blood from the very moment I welcomed them into our lives, terrified and overwhelmed.
To Daniel, whose name my son now carries, for being the unshakable rock who could always talk me off of any emotional ledge and offer a word of reason and an unwavering friendship that is, truly, one in a billion. There are no words to express the value you carry in my life. And, to your beautiful family who gave me the honor of calling me family and supporting me through this process.
To Rose, for being the big sister they have grown to adore. You are a beautiful person, inside and out.
To my friends, whom I nearly forgot to mention because, in my mind, they were covered under, family. You are all amazing. You are always there for me. I hope that I have been that kind friend to each one of you. Loyalty is a trait I value at the highest level. Thank you for yours; You, in turn, have mine.
To my employer, who has graciously allowed me times of absence from work to handle sicknesses, appointments, and exhaustion. Thank you for your generosity!
To the Social Services Dept. and my State Adoptions worker. From licensing to adoption, you are all incredible people with the hardest job on the planet. Thank you for dealing with my neurotic moments and for your support through it all. I feel a little sad that it’s over, but as we part ways, know that you do so with my eternal gratitude and respect.
To the biological father of my boys. Thank you for the job you did for the time you did it. I don’t take for granted the fact that without you, there is no us. Your boys will be great men because you gave them a chance at a life you knew you couldn’t provide. For that, I thank you. And, one day, these boys will as well. I wish you all the best!
To the family whose name they carry no longer. Please know that it is with no disrespect that I have taken the actions I have to insulate them from aspects of your lives. I have one job, and I intend to do it until my dying breath. Thank you for respecting the extremely difficult boundaries I’ve set, and for recognizing that they are non-negotiable. But they are not without mercy, either. You will always have access, within those boundaries, to have a relationship with them. In time, maybe those boundaries will loosen. But you, better than anyone, can appreciate the power of influence and example. You, ****, made one of the most difficult decisions any (relationship omitted) can make, and, because of that decision, you are never going to be shut out of their lives. But this has to be on my terms. That’s the only way this works.
And, finally. To my loyal readers. I’m sure that when you started this thread you expected something different from what you got, but I sincerely hope that what you got felt real. As real, unfiltered, and genuine as what you set out to find. Please know that this was started, under a pseudonym, for the privilege of being free to write unbridled. To take you through all of the raw emotions that I experienced. At times, there were large gaps between posts. Those were often the result of me dealing with emotions I could not yet craft into literate prose. But it is all true. And I hope you gained as much from reading it as I did from memorializing it.
I hope to one day share in your journey…
This concludes the intention of this blog thread. The author reserves the right to revisit it from time to time, to update you on where things go from here. Blessings!
Until next time…