The Email

Ship

 

 

Andrew and I received a phone call on a Friday afternoon about a little boy in need of a home, and on Monday we chose to step forward and say yes, that this little boy should come join our family.

We didn’t say yes right away.  We took time to think about it, the impact, the fit.

This little boy was sick, he was a premie, he had not had good prenatal care.  There would be doctors visits, possible surgery.

This little boy would not be “ours,” may never be “ours.”  Someone could come forward.

There was a lot of risk.  A great deal would be required of us.

But there was a baby in need of a home . . .

I do want to note here that in foster care Andrew and I have said “no” at least as many times as we have said yes.  We have always taken the time to talk through the scenario, talk through the impact and the fit, and we recognize very clearly that there are times and circumstances that do not line up and we were very clear that this may be one of them.

But on Monday, with all of the risks, with all of the impact, with all that it meant, we said yes.

On Tuesday we learned that Friday would be the day he was coming to be with us and we started preparing.

 

On Thursday we got the email.

Twenty-four hours before we were set to pick up baby boy we learned of an additional possible medical issue.  And for us the need of care exceeded what we felt prepared to give.  It was heartbreaking and we needed to re-evaluate and make a clear headed best decision for the baby and for us.

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I headed to Halibut Point.  Halibut is my piece of nature where I can feel my head clear and where I re-center.  I just made time and space to get there.  And I walked and I prayed.  I got quiet and I felt open.  I was open to the yes, and I was open to no.

And as I gazed out over the ocean this singular boat made its way slowly before me . . .

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And I was very clear.

Before us was an opportunity.

I do not get to set the full course.  I do not get to choose the destination.

But we have been invited to enjoy the sail.

 

So we said yes.

And on Friday, we picked up baby boy.

 

 

The Phone Call

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Our time in Prince Edward Island was grey.  The drive back was rainy.  We had decided to head home early.

Two hours from the border I looked at my phone.  I had turned off all calling features since we were out of the country . . . but there was a little circle letting me know that I had a voicemail.

The voicemail was from a particular city, and we both knew what that meant.

Andrew and I have been doing foster care since 2007.  That is six years now.  We primarily do short-term placements.  It is a good fit for us.  A few months ago we decided to say that we were open to adoption again. We did the switch in paperwork quietly and without fanfare. And we chose to walk forward with open hands, our motto.

This particular city that the phone call was from probably meant it was a call about fostering short-term . . . but we both knew that it could mean an adoption placement.  I did not say that outloud,  Andrew either.  We decided to just wait until we crossed back into Maine and were able to check the voicemail.

The time ticked by slowly and it rained.

When we did finally arrive at the border, the line of cars was long and there was a second voicemail, same number.

“You can check it and we can pay the extra dollar or whatever,” Andrew said watching me look at my phone.

“I can wait . . .”

As soon as we crossed into the states I started to call and Andrew made a wrong turn and  . . . we were all turned around.  I waited until we were cruising down 95 south.

It was our caseworker.  There was a baby.  An eight week old baby boy.  There were some medical issues.  They wanted to place him in a pre-adoptive home.  We were the first choice. Were we interested?  Should they look at other families?

At 3:00 on a Friday afternoon the phone-tag began and finally we just pulled over, put on the speakerphone and allowed the reality of the moment to sink in, if only for a few minutes.

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Our family had an opportunity to grow . . .

. . . but there were medical issues

. . . but there would be a concurrent plan of reunification

He was eight weeks old.  He had spent the first part of his life in two hospitals and then had been living as a foster child with a nurse.

 . . . we had not been preparing for nine months, were we ready to shift everything for an infant?

. . . how would Cole react?

Our thoughts raced.

We recognized that phone call on the side of the road had the potential to change our lives.

And we chose to step forward into the unknown.

Posts Coming

Colton on Adoption Day

Colton on Adoption Day, October 2010

Four years ago our little boy Colton had been born.  The plan was that he would come to be with us and that we would move forward with an open adoption.

All of that changed and Colton was placed in foster care.  The Department of Children of Families would not be working with our adoption agency.  The goal was reunification and “all doors were closed, we would not be adopting him.”

We walked quietly through those days.  Even four months later when a call came asking if we were open to adopting that same little boy my steps forward were so tentative, so quiet that a year later there were family members who did not realize we had officially adopted Cole.

Adoption is a different road to walk down.  The waiting is different.  The expanding of one’s family is different.  International adoption and domestic adoption are different.  Adopting through a private agency and adopting through the state are different.  It is a strange and sacred road.

There was some part of me that was  scared to share the process as we walked with Cole.  I did not want a shower.  We did not announce his arrival.  We waited to have any kind of celebration with friends until he turned one.

We are in a new and sacred place.  There is a new little guy with us, and it is not a sure thing that he will be with us forever, but there is a possibility.  I have decided to adventure forward in a bolder way.

I am going to blog about it, because blogging helps me process.  I am going to blog because it is a strange and beautiful journey.  I am not going to wait to post until things are clear and sure.  I invite you to join us on the adventure of fostering and possibly adoption.  It will be a beautiful road.

Family Command Center

family command center

We have a wall in our kitchen that has become a focal point for our shared goals and lives.  We have changed our kitchen wall once again.  This is our fourth evolution.

Here are the previous three versions. We love having a place in our home that reflects our goals and intentions.

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When our ceiling had to be replaced this summer, and therefore the kitchen repainted, we went ahead and took the opportunity to spruce up our wall, making it even more functional for us.

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We redefined what we really wanted on our command center wall.  We use a shared calendar on our computers.  That includes what is for dinner each night, so we decided that we did not use the monthly calendar or the weekly menu on our wall, at least for the summer.

Instead we put up our Summer Adventure Goals.  Keeping track of those here has been so fun.

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I like the idea of having Seasonal goals here that last longer than our monthly goals (monthly goals are in a google doc now).

The other pinboard may hold anything we like.  For the summer we went for this “centering” picture I found on Pinterest.

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We have been choosing various short phrases this year that we like and that are centering.  This is actually January’s choice, but we reinstated it this summer.

We made the silhouette of Cole this past November and gave it as a gift to his grandmother’s at Christmas.  Here is a link to the tutorial we used.

We love the cheery yellow (actually a cream colored paint) and the versatility of the wall.

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