When I turned 28 I decided if I wasn’t married by the time I turned 35, I would adopt children. 35, single, and wanting to be a mother, I started to go to informational sessions at different agencies. Since I had my own business and had to work, I was looking to adopt a young child who could go to school instead of an infant. I also wanted to adopt siblings so I asked a woman at one of the organizations if the fee charged was higher. Her reply, “Yes, if the children are desirable,” broke my heart. Every child is desirable and deserves a home. Some agencies made me feel undesirable since children “deserved” two parents. Undaunted, I kept going until I found a place that accepted and respected me.
I met with a social worker who did my home study. Contrary to what many people experience, I loved the process. It helped me clarify what problems I felt prepared to handle and which children might be a good fit for me. The social worker also held group sessions with other prospective adoptive parents and that was very helpful, too. They made me feel more prepared to be a mother.
I went to adoption events and was bombarded by social workers who saw me as a desirable match for some of the available children. I was glad my home study helped me clarify what I could and could not handle so I could set appropriate boundaries. One day my social worker called and told me there was a seven year old boy I might want to consider. I came to the agency to learn about him and felt she was right. I agreed to meet him only after I had decided to adopt him. I did not want him to feel he was auditioning. I knew he had a lot of issues but I felt I could handle them.
The afternoon I met him I came home and decided to eat a bagel for dinner. In my excitement, I sliced my finger and had to go to the emergency room for stitches. Imagine how embarrassed I was when I told the doctor it happened while I was cutting a bagel. It was even worse when I admitted it was a fresh bagel not hard or frozen. At least he and the nurse got a laugh out of it!
For the next month, I spent more time with my soon-to-be-son. We went to McDonald’s. He spent a night at my house. It all seemed too easy until the last visit before he moved in with me permanently. We went to Kmart to buy him a coming-home shirt. When we got there, he said he wanted a toy not a shirt. I told him it was a shirt buying trip not a toy buying trip. He sat down in an aisle and refused to move. After half an hour of discussion, I told him we were leaving. He said he was going to stay and live in Kmart. I told him even if he really wanted to; people were not allowed to live in Kmart.
I grabbed his hands and he got up pretty easily. I led him out of the store while he screamed. When we got to the car, he pulled his jacket over his head. I buckled him in and we sat there while I talked. I asked him if he was afraid of coming to live with me. I told him I was scared, too, because I hadn’t been a mother before. After about 10 minutes, the jacket came off over his head and he said,” Okay, let’s go.” I guess he wanted me to see the worst before he moved in.
During that month of visiting, he directly and indirectly told me everything he was worried about. I decided when I brought him home I would use that information when we walked into the house together, but that is another story. To be continued…