As Christmas approaches and I look at our new son, who is right now enjoying family Christmas movie night, I am thinking about how lucky we really are. I was asked today at the bookstore if I wanted to donate a toy to a child in foster care, and I thought, "Lady if you only knew what was under that tree!" It is no secret in my family that I have wanted to adopt forever - literally since I was a child. I used to read books about families that adopted, and then when the blog "thing" started I quickly found adoptive families that I followed. I generally followed blogs about foreign adoption - except for fosterhood (because I love her humor), so when Brian wanted to start the process through foster care, I honestly expected the worst.
I thought we would have huge emotional issues, and perhaps mess up what we have going with our daughters. I thought people from DSS would be sort of invasive with their questions, and looking for reasons why we wouldn't work. I thought the child would resent us some because we aren't his first family and lash out with violence or willful misbehavior.
I was wrong.
YES, he leaves everything EVERYWHERE.... but cheerfully picks them up when reminded. He would rather play games and build with Lego than go to school, but he didn't have the successful start our daughters had. He doesn't hit anyone, but has asked if we do - and was visibly relieved that we don't. After school he runs to the house to drop his things on the floor, but then runs back to either help Blondie or me get the rest of the things out of the car. He grudgingly put in time to learn multiplication (the first hole in education we plugged) and when he saw that it got easier, he was proud of himself. He came here playing mature video games that we don't generally allow anyone under 16 to play, and doesn't ask any more. He raked the yard to earn money to buy his birth sisters Christmas presents, and then gave me a one-armed hug when I paid for them myself. The two times he has gotten really frustrated it was more about missing his first family than anything else. The homework struggle is going to continue for awhile, but I think it has to do with lacking skills, and testing boundaries. He is learning that 100% of the time I won't let him slack on the work. He doesn't believe in Santa Claus, but is checking out where the Elf hides EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
The folks at DSS have been nothing but kind, and working like crazy with us to make everything work. They've seen the craft closet all over the floor, and didn't bat an eye. I had the GAL show up with one hour notice and not worry that the backpacks were still in the entry way, and the beds were unmade that day. When they heard my grandfather passed away they pushed through paperwork so we can take The Boy with us over break - keeping in mind they are all about to start their own vacations with their families. They have given up evenings and Saturdays to work around our schedule to visit with him, and delivered Christmas presents to his sisters for us, as well as work to keep the kids connected.
The birth family is still a bit of a mystery for me as to how it will work out. Right now it doesn't sound like a good idea to call them, and I think it would upset The Boy. I really would prefer something where he could write letters, or email them, but I think that will be down the road when birth mom is healthier. Right now when he tears up (has happened a couple times) I agree with him that, "it sucks" what happened to him, but when he is able to see first mom again she is going to be so proud of him. I am glad though that he is starting to process all that has happened in the last few years because apparently he didn't talk about it at all in foster care. In the meantime we're going to call his older sister periodically, and keep plugging away at school one goal at a time. We'll work on what he wants to call us, and how to pick up toys when we want to do something else, and just keep taking it one day at a time with our son.