November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. This weighs heavy in my heart. I have a brother and a cousin who are adopted, and my mother-in-law is adopted. And then there was a little boy…
I always wanted more than one child. While I am content with my Only now, it took the last few years to get to this point. After experiencing severe Postpartum Depression and Anxiety with my daughter, my husband was not yielding on his decision of no more biological children. I don’t blame him. It was a rough time in both our lives. The recession hit, and our finances were not stable enough to add to our family, so any discussion on another child was put on the back burner for a few years.
Then my oldest and dearest friend had her first child. I held him, made him laugh, and my biological clock started ticking. This was back in early 2013. After further conversations with my husband, we went to an introductory meeting with the Department of Children & Families (DCF) about foster care and adoption for the many children in need. It was held on my birthday like it was kismet.
Adoption was always an option for my husband and I. Because we both had relatives that were adopted, we knew just what help we could provide. With adoption through DCF, there was very little expense on our end. After the introductory meeting, I knew this is what we had to do.
There were a lot of things that needed to get done before we were put on a list as potential parents for a child. We had to take a multi-day course on what it was like to become a foster parent at first, and then an adoptive parent. In the classes, we learned that these children had broken lives that may contain abuse, neglect, and death. We were taught the steps we would need to take to help them overcome their past. We were fingerprinted and had background checks. My husband and I had to fill out a 10+ page questionnaire about our own family and how it was when we grew up. We put together a book for potential families and social workers on what we had to offer and why they should choose us.
My husband and I completed the course within a month. We got our license a couple of months after and then, then we waited.
In the beginning, my husband and I related this waiting game as to what it was like when I was pregnant with our daughter. Anxiety grew. Our first phone call came, and I was so excited. Unfortunately, this child was not a good fit for our family as he liked to throw things, and we couldn’t risk injury to our daughter. The next phone call came about another little boy. He didn’t work out either as he was placed with relatives. Days passed. Months passed. And then we got the call.
There Was A Little Boy
We had decided to request a little boy between the ages of 3 and 6. Our daughter was 7, about to turn 8, at the time. We still wanted her to be the oldest. This little boy that was matched with us was 2 1/2, close enough. Most importantly, he was legally free (legally free means that there were no relatives, and his birth parents lost their parental rights). He would become ours. We would be able to adopt him.
I met him on a late August day and fell in love instantly. He was sitting in a highchair playing with toys and “reading” a book. I admired him. I yearned to hug him and kiss his dimpled cheeks. Over the next few weeks, we spent days with him. Then we began overnight visits. One day, the last Sunday in October of 2014, he moved in. We were all elated.
From the moment I met him, he was my son. I gave him the same amount of love as I did with my biological daughter. There was no difference.
The Adoption Journey Comes To An End
While my new son thrived after a few hiccups in our house, I, on the other hand, was spiraling downhill and fast. My anxiety was so bad I couldn’t eat. I lost a ton of weight, and then panic attacks started. My mental health was worsening. The day before New Year’s Eve, I was at the ER for a panic attack. My husband was home with our daughter, our foster son, and his social worker. I knew his social worker would wonder where I was. I knew he would worry when he was told. The following day, I moved out of my house and stayed with my parents. I couldn’t be there anymore. I couldn’t be there when our foster son was taken away.
He was removed early January because I was very unstable. My husband tried to take care of all of us. Ultimately, we had to consider our foster son’s needs. It was an extremely hard decision to make because we loved him so much. But with my mental and physical health failing and our daughter’s mental health declining, my husband and I (along with the social workers) thought it was best if our foster son was removed.
I would love to say that I returned to normal after he was removed, but I didn’t. I went through my worst episode of major depression, my 6th, from grieving him. It took years of therapy and medication to be able to discuss this.
My boy was removed on January 3, 2015. There has not been one day I haven’t thought about him. I wake up and see him in my mind and go to bed each day thinking of him. I know he is happy and loved where he is, and I know that we helped him get there.
He was a shy boy with no social skills who drank smoothies out of a bottle when we met him. When he left our house, he was eating food, talking, and giving hugs and kisses. He knew he was loved, and he knew how to love back. Even though he is not in our house anymore, I am happy he knows how to love his new family because of us. I have no regrets about the adoption journey we went through even if it didn’t work out.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and I urge you to consider fostering a child or adopting one. There are so many of them in need of a good loving home.