Licensed!

As is sometime the case in life, things fall into place in a way which oddly mirrors your version of “Best Case Scenario”. Far more rare, are the instances where circumstance exceed your wildest expectations. As it so happens, my best case scenario (as anyone who has been following my blog can attest) was to be licensed by Thanksgiving and have a placement before Christmas. For me, the idea of seeing the excitement on a youngster’s face Christmas morning — rubbing the sleep from his eyes, the cautious first few steps toward the living room in Santa-red footie pajamas and a wide-toothed grin as he approaches a lit Christmas tree towering over top gifts, his name in big bold letters. The excitement building as he spies an empty cookie plate and milk-stained glass, proving that Santa found him, even in his new home — is the greatest Christmas gift a new parent (or foster parent, in my case) could ever hope to receive.

But, as it would happen, my wildest expectations were exceeded when, ahead of the issuance of my license, I received a call from Social Services stating that two 18 month old boys had just entered the system and they were wondering if I would be interested in having them placed with me.

That’s right…Twins!

If you remember from an earlier post, I asked to be licensed for up to three children, in case there were siblings also needing placement. Twins are rare and I’d never even considered the possibility that I would be offered such an wonderful opportunity, especially for a first placement. But suddenly, I couldn’t imagine having anything else, and as soon as I enthusiastically accepted, I began ordering duplicates of everything. Cribs, car seats, high-chairs, pajamas, matching Jellycat stuffed animals, etc. The realization settling in that I had spent the past three months getting half prepared. Fortunately, there exists a perfect universe where my excitement fueled anxiety can stretch it’s legs: Amazon.com

This was far and away the most exciting phone call I can recall ever having received! Dwarfing past calls that said things like, “Escrow has closed on your new home”, and, “Congratulations! You’ve passed the California Real Estate Broker’s Exam.” It seems like only yesterday that, “You have my blessing to marry my daughter,” was the pinnacle of good news I’d received over the phone. Now a distant and fading memory of what, after this call, suddenly felt like a lifetime ago. So much of life has been this way for me: One chapter ends, the next begins. All to often, the people that occupied the pages of my story remain locked away, left behind for one reason or another in the story of my past. Separation may be the most difficult part of life for me, and my current choices suggest the future will likely hold more of the same, given the temporary nature of foster care in most cases. Adoption is less common and, until final, exists only in the form of hopeful expectation.

But with loss comes gain; with endings, new beginnings. And, these boys will be my life, at least for awhile, and that feels pretty great to say.

Within a half an hour, I had already begun making the transition from one kid to two, and by the end of the weekend, everything was in place. A complete top to bottom transformation in less than 72 hours.

A short few days later, I received a long awaited message. “You’re Official! Your license was signed today.” This was a huge milestone for me, but seemed somehow underwhelming in light of the news about the twins. Truth be told, I really like the Social Worker I’ve been working with for licensing, and am disappointed that we will not be in touch as often now. She has been a huge advocate for me, and has made this process far more enjoyable, not to mention, manageable, than I’d ever imagined it could be. Whether she knows it or not, she will be receiving updates on the kids from me from now on, and I hope we will continue to stay in touch. We’re friends now. Both she and her co-worker have been supportive of this journey since day one, and I hope they both know how much I appreciate the job they did. I wish I could acknowledge them by name, but that, unfortunately, would not be prudent. I am, after all, responsible for keeping the children’s lives as private as humanly possible. That includes the team of people responsible for bringing the boys into my life.

Today, I was shown pictures of the boys. They are beautiful, with the blondest hair I’ve ever seen. Identical twins. Both of them grinning from ear to ear. The pictures were taken by the family they were temporarily placed with. Two of the nicest people I’ve met; both of whom seem to genuinely care about the twins. It was a privilege to meet them and get a little insight into what the boys are like. I am anxious to have them with me, but could not feel better about where they are between now and then. Tomorrow, I get to meet the boys in person and spend the day getting to know them. This isn’t always the case. In fact, I would guess that this is rare. I leaped at the opportunity to meet them and hope I can sleep tonight, despite my excitement.

A few days from now, the boys will be placed in my home.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Continue…

 

The day I decided to become a foster parent.

There are few decisions in one’s life that cause more emotional turbulence than the decision to become a parent. Turbulence which intensifies when the route chosen is anything other than traditional. As far back as I can remember, I have looked forward to holding my son in my arms, stroking those pudgy cheeks with my thumb as I kiss his forehead. The proudest joy-filled tears clouding my vision as I breathe in his newborn smell for the first time. Knowing my life would forever change in the moment his tiny voice broke through the barrier of nervous expectation in an infants cry, announcing to the world that he had arrived.

Just like most perspective fathers, the idea of sharing that experience with a wife I adore — the porch light welcoming us home from across a plush, mowed lawn, wrapped in white-picket fence. Inside, a freshly painted nursery sitting in perfect stillness, awaiting the arrival of its new and tiny occupant — was truly the creative genius my mother assured me I had in spades as a schoolboy passing the time in a distant and pleasant daydream.

But, unlike most prospective fathers, I am doing this alone, and without the pleasure of the love-making that created this new life. It’s not that I didn’t try to paint that picture on the blank canvas of my imagined future. God knows I loved the woman I had once been engaged to marry. Even after several break-ups and reconciliations, our love for one another somehow survived, despite the advice of friends and casual observers on both sides of the metaphorical isle. But reality, as is often the case, has a way of taking up residency in the places where hopes and dreams once flourished.

My reality came knocking, eviction notice in hand, after an unplanned pregnancy “scare,” in which one of us was terrified and the other, hopeful. Which was which is unimportant and I will never tell you. I won’t even hint at it. All you need to know is that the “terrified” insisted on the morning after pill and the “hopeful” regretfully paid for it. It was at that moment that the “hopeful” made the decision to adopt. A decision which ultimately led to the mutual termination of the imperfect and stubborn love that had occupied much of the decade of my life, leading me to this decision. I think I always knew deep down that I would eventually have to choose between the two.

I chose this child and never looked back. Truth be told, in that moment, I have never experienced a time where I’ve felt happier and more at peace in this life. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss her, but I’m trading up for the long haul.

So adoption, right? Well, adoption is a great option. One I would have dived into head first, had I the mere sum of between 30 – 50k with the picture perfect life a parent putting their child up for adoption would choose. “Our Suburban paradise will never be complete without the addition of your precious angel and future CEO/Harvard Business School Graduate to leave our vast fortune in African diamond mines to…Our Yacht’s nursery was just completed…Something about country clubs…You get the picture”┬áBut that is not my reality, either. I work a Graveyard shift as a (recently single) man. Not quite the Ivy League pedigree most people leap at the chance to pass their baby off to, for any amount of money. That reality is what led me down the path of becoming a foster parent, and in August of 2017, I submitted my application and began the process of becoming licensed with Social Services.

The following entries will comprise the journey of my experience: the challenges I’ll soon face; the joys I will soon experience. It is my hope that, one day, my baby, whom I fully plan to adopt as my own,

(Hence the “My”)

will read this and discover how much I loved him, even before I’d met him, and how no obstacle could have ever kept me from one day holding him in my arms. That he may have been dealt a lousy hand from birth, but that he was always wanted and loved, and not a minute of his life passed where his tiny fingerprints were not permanently printed on my heart. Everything in my life has led me to this decision and, for that reason, I would not change a thing from my past.

Having a son is a uniquely special experience for a man that can only be rivaled by the experience of having a daughter… but I have to choose, so I’m choosing a boy between 0-3 years of age, with a high probability for adoption. My hope is to receive a baby, and hours old would be ideal because I don’t want to miss a single second of my son’s life. But this is where patience and faith become thy constant companion, keeping me steadfast in the knowledge that the perfect child is or will soon be matched to me, and that perfection can take any form, in any color, and at any age…But from the moment of his first cry, he was perfect.

Let the journey begin…

Continue this journey