We were about 99.9% sure that we found our boys, but there was still more work to be done. For starters, we needed to learn a little more about them. Actually, more than a little, at the info share, you learn everything about them, literally. You get to go through every file and every bit of information that child services has collected on them. Family history, the story of their apprehension, medical history, current medical files, their foster care history ect, ect… If their worker has done a good job, you should have alot of information, but depending on how cooperative bio family was, you may not get as much family/background history as you might like. We were fortunate that a bio family member was very cooperative and was able to provide a complete family history, as well as corroborate, or correct the bio parent’s stories (which often aren’t completely reliable because they aren’t usually overly eager to share with child services). Our info share took all afternoon, as the boy’s files were massive. And at the end of it all, we FINALLY got to see a picture 🙂
Now, let me open up a little bit here. I won’t lie, it was not love at first sight for me. I was leery of trusting that this was actually happening, and weary from an afternoon of information overload. I purposely put a wall up so that I wouldn’t fall madly in love with them right away, because I wanted to protect myself from yet another gut wrenching disappointment. They were CUTE, I’ll give them that, but I was scared to allow myself to attach to a picture. Our drive home was pretty quiet. Their story is heavy, and disturbing, and alot to process. It had zero impact on our decision, however, but we needed sometime to take it in. By the time we got home, we were ready to chat… there wasn’t much to say though, other than YES!!! Of course, we said YES 🙂
Now here is were things got trick (shocking, I know :P). Normally, once you say yes, everything else can happen quite quickly. You set up a transition plan, meet your children, bring them home, and start your new life. I’ve heard of some families having their new child home within a week of their info share. But not us… try FOUR MONTHS :s. Once we said yes, then our stand-in worker needed to assign us a permanent worker, which took time. Once we had a new worker, she wanted to meet us to get to know our story and learn about the boys, this all took time. Then we were up against a foster mom who was reluctant to give up ‘her boys’. If you remember from my matching post, she had wanted to adopt the boys, but for reasons beyond her control, they were denied. She was having a very tough time wrapping her head around the idea of having to say goodbye. Excuses were always being made to postpone the transition.
Finally, there was the above mentioned bio family member, who had been visiting the boys on a regular basis. This was organized with the foster mom, not the boy’s worker, and there was an expectation that these visits would continue on a regular basis after the adoption. This turned into a bit of an emotional issue because for the safety of the boys, the visits needed to end (and probably should not have been allowed in the first place, but it fell through the cracks). Because there was no formal visitation agreement in place, our worker and her management felt it would be best to take the family member to court and have an official end of visitation written up, to reinforce the termination. Of course, this took alot of time, and was very difficult for me. I often questioned whether we were doing the right thing. Although we had expressed our concerns about this person and how healthy it would be for visitations to continue, the ultimate decision to terminate legally, came from our workers. I cried for this person who, through no fault of their own, had to say goodbye to the boys. I grieved for the loss, but ultimately, it is for the best, and the eventual mess that was their final, court appointed, goodbye, reinforced that this was the right decision (but that is a story for another day…).
When the day finally came to get our transition plan, I was literally vibrating with excitement. So many thing had come up since we first learned about the boys, that I couldn’t believe the day was actually approaching when we could meet them. Our transition plan was fairly simple, and common. It was on the long side of ‘normal’, about 8 days. The first day we just met them (YAY!!!) and hung out at their foster home for about an hour (or 2 1/2), with their worker and foster parents and siblings. We played in the backyard and chatted with them a little bit, just to introduce ourselves. It’s a surreal moment to see ‘your children’ calling someone else mom and dad, and being parented by them. They had been prepared for our visit, so they were excited to see us, but being so young, they didn’t really know why this was such a big occasion. It was hard not to just grab them and squeeze them and hug and kiss them, like you would do if your child had been away at camp for a whole week and they were finally back home!
The next day we went over for breakfast and to spend the morning with them. They were excited to see us come back which was so heart warming! On day three, we went for the whole afternoon, and again, they were excited to see us and spend time with us. Day four was a full day at their house, that included dinner and bed time. By now we had basically taken over the roll of parenting, changing all the diapers, helping them with anything they needed. We went to the park to play, and had a great day! Day five was a big day because KB finally got to meet her brothers!!! We took them out that day, played at the waterpark, had a picnic and even went to the mall to take on busy crowds together. It was amazing to see KB be a big sister for the first time! She was a superstar (still is, believe me!) and the boys just loved her 🙂 Day six was the first time the boys got to come to our house! Their foster mom and sister dropped them off, and they spent the night. It was so cool to have them HOME, under our roof, my family all together. They loved their room and did so well over night.
Day seven was a hard one. We brought them back to their foster home so that they could have a final night there and say their goodbyes. Often foster families will throw a little party or do something special to say goodbye, especially if the children had been there for a long time. Fox was not happy when he saw us leaving, and clung to me, crying “Mummy I want to stay with you” (yep, he called me MUMMY, literally from the first day we met). My heart was both over-joyed that he wanted to stay with us, and broken that he was crying in front of the lady who had basically raised him. We both knew that he was young and you can’t always take things personally, but I still knew it must have hurt her. We ended up being able to convince him to stay, and I cried all the way home. The next morning was THE DAY! We drove there as early as we, politely, could and brought them home!
For all the ups and downs we have had through this journey, our transition went pretty flawlessly. Our worker, and the boys worker, still comment on how well it went. The attachment therapist we saw to help with the transition, couldn’t believe how well it was going. Of course, we have our normal, day to day, struggles, they are pre-schoolers, afterall. They have all the typical behavioural issues of any other pre-schooler. They also have some unique issues, typical of children who have gone through trauma and have spent time in foster care. We deal with the issues as they come, but all in all, we have been incredibly fortunate to avoid a lot of the problems that could have happened. I’m sure we will hit more bumps on the road, and I’m terrified of the day when we tell the boys about their bio parents, but that is all in the future, and for right now, we are just enjoying every minute we have with the two little humans we spent so much time waiting for and loving 🙂
Thanks so much for reading! Take care everyone 🙂