One of the hardest parts at the present stage of the journey is that big brother and little sister are not aware that they will be adopted. They know that we are a family they can live with for a long time and that their bio parents have things they have to work on.
The past 2 visits with bio dad have made big brother wonder, “When am I going to live with first dad?” and just yesterday little sister asked why first dad, maternal gma, and maternal great gma aren’t at the waterpark with us.
Our approach has always been honesty. So we answer these questions the best we can with age appropriate language… big brother knows that bio dad first has to first obtain a job, housing and take classes and be safe. During dinner last night I explained to little sister that for safety she can only see her bio at the social worker’s office. I’m so proud of her for voicing her question as this is the first she’s ever asked anything like this. Yet equally as proud it’s frustrating that since she was 6 months old (she will be 4 next month) little sister has not lived with any family longer than she’s lived with us. She and big brother have lived in 5 different homes. (Big brother is 5.)
Yesterday while the children were visiting with the bio family we were in an adjacent room reading the two chunky (5-6 inches thick) folders of case notes about the children’s situation. We were able to review one of these folders for two hours before meeting the children for the first time last May and asked to see the files again as a number of details in their precious lives can be found in these documents. (Also because once adoption occurs this file is no longer accessible and the file can only be accessed anywhere at the kids’ social worker’s office.) The hunt of yesterday was for answers to something the psychologist asked last week, “What was the initial issue that brought the children into care?” My husband and I knew it was because both parents were incarcerated back in 2010. What we didn’t know was what the children saw when the bio parents were arrested together and who transported them to live with paternal gma. Because termination of parental rights is on the horizon we were given access to a second folder that contained all the info on when the kiddos were in care the very first time.
Some of the information was at first shocking but it also was so helpful to some of the things big brother remembers. Thank God for whoever hotlined concern after concern after concern. It’s only by God’s grace that our kids were protected from much greater harm.
In the wave of anger and gratefulness of this information my heart felt more certain than ever that I am one proud momma of two strong, fun, and beautiful children I am blessed to raise, love and adore.
Yesterday playing at the indoor waterpark I was smitten. Little sister went down the water slides over and over and over, taking turns with other guests and laughing at the waterfall that would splash her on the way down. Her adventurous spirit and confidence has grown so much in the past year. As I was waiting to catch her at the bottom of the slides I kept singing softly… (to the tune of “This Little Light of Mine)… this little daughter of mine… I’m gonna let her shine…
Then big brother returned from going down big slides with my husband. He was so excited to report how “awesome” they were. I (someone who steers clear of roller coasters) offered to go down one with him. I told him I might be a big baby about it because I was scared but that his bravery made me want to be brave. We stood in a long line, went down the yellow slide in a shared raft, and when the slide dumped us out I watched big brother raise his arms into the air with a “Yes!” of accomplishment. I… on the other hand was trilled I didn’t pee my swimsuit. 🙂 His eagerness to have fun and be daring… which has developed so much in the past year… is so inspiring.
Such precious memories. And many more that will be ahead.
One thing that’s been on my heart all week is that when you are willing to adopt children who aren’t babies you will always hear questions and stories about parts of their life that happened before you entered the story. Some run the other direction at the thought while some who have been an incredible encouragement to us know that it serves the child best to let them know their story. All of it.
My prayer is that while this journey has had its ups and downs, delays and knowledge of things I wish so much weren’t true… that it would become more common for US families to adopt children (most who are not babies) from foster care.
Children who fall victim to the environments and choices of others deserve safe and loving homes where they will be loved, adored and cherished.