So as I said in my last post, I was really disappointed at not being able to attend the ARE. But for some reason my disappointment lingered over the weekend. At first I wasn’t understanding why I was so upset, other than I’d been waiting for months, and would have to wait months again to attend the next one. But still. I felt kind of silly putting so much weight on this. But as I thought about it, I came to the realization is that my disappointment was probably compounded by something that had happened earlier in the week.
My husband and I drive to work together with me dropping him off and picking him up. He’s finished an hour later than I am, so I usually just stay at work and plug away at whatever I’m working on. This particular day, I didn’t feel like working any more, so I decided to check out a website that profiles children up for adoption within the province, called Adopt Ontario. I go on this site daily; once in the morning, and then usually again later in the day to see if any new profiles have been added. (Yes, I’m obsessed, lol!) This afternoon, there happened to be 3-5 additions which is a lot, so as always, I got excited to see who these new little faces were.
So I started scanning the familiar profiles looking for one tagged “new”, and came across a light brown haired, beautiful little girl with a gentle smile and a ribbon in her hair. I’ll call her Avery. I noticed as I was clicking on the link for her full profile, that there was also a sibling link on his page. I clicked on that one to open in another window while I read Avery’s profile. She was five years old, loved girly things and art. The whole profile sounded really good, so I excitedly clicked on her sibling’s profile and found a boy with freckles and a sweet smile, that I’ll call Matthew. His profile also sounded great; he was seven years old, was getting straight A’s in school, bonding with his caregivers, both very happy children who by all accounts were adjusting well to their foster home. I was definitely interested, when I noticed on his profile, that the “sibling” link, actually said “siblings“. I clicked it, surprised that there was a third child. This was the first time I had seen a sibling trio on the site. When I clicked on the final sibling link, there was a tiny little brown haired boy I’ll call Carter, with a mischievous air about him. He was three and again, had a very positive sounding profile. All the siblings were said to get along and play well with eachother. The fact they were bonding with their foster family was great, because that signals that if they’re bonding with them, they’ll be capable of bonding/attaching to others, specifically their adoptive parents. Attachment is a huge issue in adoption, for obvious reasons.
Upon reading the profiles, I immediately texted my friend E. She adopted her son, and volunteers with CAS. My text was something like, “Omg! If we were adopt ready, I would express interest in three little ones on Adopt Ontario right now! They’re gorgeous!” That was it, no prefacing it with a “Hi, how’s your day?”, or “Hey E!” Nope, my words spilled out as quickly as my emotion was about to….cue the tidal wave. As soon as I sent that, all of a sudden, I started tearing up, my heart was racing and a whole spectrum of emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and it was freaking me out. I tried to stifle it, because if I let go and laughed, it would have been this psycho freakishly scary laugh, and if I full on cried, it would have been a serious ugly cry. One of those ugly cries where it’s SO ugly people can’t tell if you’re happy or sad. It was not an attractive moment for me, and I had to shut my blinds to the hallway. I was terrified of someone walking by and seeing me bawling amidst my facial twitches I was sure I was having as my muscles wrestled between frowning and smiling. (Thank God it was after hours and there weren’t many people around!)
Meanwhile, E’s response to my text was exactly like this: “DO IT!!!” (Have I mentioned before that I love her? Lol!) I wrote back that we didn’t have room for three, or I would in a heartbeat. I was a mess, so I had to share. I told E that I didn’t know what was happening, but that I was completely overcome with emotion and couldn’t contain myself. It was all rather unsettling. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced emotions that sudden and that conflicting before. I just kept telling her I was a mess and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. She put it totally in perspective: I’d made a connection with these kids. She told me something about them just clicked and that’s what happens when you see a child or children that you can really identify yourself potentially parenting. Really??? No sooner did I ask myself that, than I realized that’s exactly what was happening. I honestly didn’t think when I saw a child or children and I thought may be ours, that it would garner that reaction. I envisioned it as you being drawn to them, requesting more information, and just being able to see yourself with them and feelings growing stronger, the more you got into the process. I never imagined it being this powerful and immediate!
A few months after we decided to adopt and I’d been looking at profiles, I’d come across two little brothers that I just couldn’t get out of my head whenever I thought about adoption. I must have looked at their pics and re-read their profiles a hundred times over, even after learning they had an allergy to cats. Their allergy was a definite no, because we couldn’t part with the two cats we have. They’re our first babies, so we need cat friendly kiddos. That was the only thing that held me back from requesting more info for us. Eventually, I saw their profiles come down, and I had mixed emotions. It seemed foolish because we couldn’t adopt them, so obviously I should have been completely happy to see their profiles come down. I was very happy that they were potentially being adopted, but selfishly, I was going to miss those little faces. Up to this point, I really thought that I had a strong connection with them, but my reaction to them was absolutely nothing in comparison to these three.
So after E made sense of my breakdown, lol, we kept talking about the possibility of adopting these kids if we were really interested. She said “Do it!” and “Just do it!” about a dozen or so times, while I kept giving reasons why it wasn’t feasible. First it was that we didn’t have two spare bedrooms; the boys would have to have a room and Avery would have to have one, as per CAS they can’t room together after a certain age. E told me that CAS may be willing to assist us if we were to rent a bigger place temporarily until we could buy a house that fit a family of five. Then it was, well before I go expressing interest, I really should talk to Mike about this. We talked about adopting a sibling duo, but I didn’t know how he’d feel about three. (Had I even really considered three?!?) So yeah, I’d talk to him and see how he felt and then if he was on board, I’d email for further information. E had an answer for that, which I’m sure you can guess what it was. Then before I could even express concern about financially taking on 3 children at once she had an answer for that too, telling me that there could be subsidies for these kids being there were three. She kept encouraging me to request further information, and I really wanted to but something was holding me back. What was it?
I think it was a combination of the emotion catching me off guard, the fear of my requesting info and it not working out, and just the fear and excitement that this could potentially be the start of our path to our kids. E of course said all the right things and asked what was the worst that could happen? We would either move forward in the process, or be told we weren’t going to be considered. There was no mystery, we knew the possible outcomes. And she brought up the point that if she were in my position, she wouldn’t be able to not inquire and always wonder, “what if?”. I knew, like her I would always wonder, so I agreed to call. E had contacts there, so she told me who to get in touch with. So my fingers nervously dialed the number and as the phone rang, I just kept thinking, “This could be it. Oh my God! This could be it!!!” Of course, as if I weren’t anxious enough, I got her voicemail. It was Friday afternoon, and almost 5 o’clock, so it was to be expected. I just was not looking forward to waiting the entire weekend to see where this would go. So I wrapped up with E, with promises to text her the minute I heard anything on Monday, and I was on my way (profiles in hand), to go pick up Michael.
We left his parking lot, and I think we drove a block or two before I said at the stop light, “So I did something today….”, as I reached into the back seat for their profiles. Michael starting looking at them and said, “Yeah they’re really cute, and they sound healthy.” Surprised that there was no comment about them being a trio, and noticing that he hadn’t yet looked at Carter on the second page, I said, “There’s three of them.” All he said was “Yeah.”, as he kept looking at the profiles. He flipped the page and still nothing. I then told him they were siblings, and I had requested more information. He said, “You did, yeah?”, then there was a pause and he said, sounding somewhat alarmed, “Wait, there’s three of them? They’re all siblings???” And once again, my eyes welled up, and all my emotions started tumbling out of my mouth in a big jumble as I recounted my reaction, and my conversation with E. I told him I figured he would think I was crazy inquiring about three, but I just had to. Once again, wonderful and amazing as always, he told me that he wasn’t concerned about there being three. He said it would be a challenge, but he knew we were capable of it. It was just a matter of us having room for three. My heart had a big exhale at those words. So I recounted my conversation with E, and we agreed to wait to hear from Adopt Ontario on Monday. He just added that he didn’t want me to get my heart set on these little ones just in case. I assured him I wouldn’t, despite my reaction I was still not all in just yet.
As excited as I was, I just wasn’t sure if we were willing to potentially pack up and move to a temporary rental accommodation, sell our house, and look for a larger house, while trying to help these little ones adjust to us and us to them, while we all adjusted to a new life? It would also mean likely moving to a house in the future because on average, it takes about a year for families to form the basis of attachment, and for the kids to adjust. Moving is also traumatic for foster kids because they’ve had the experience of moving out of their childhood home, and often, moving through multiple foster homes. So we would have to play it by ear and see how it went if were indeed to be chosen for these children. That in turn conflicted me because I was thinking that if I wasn’t willing to move for these kids, was I really the best choice to parent them? Shouldn’t I be willing to do anything right from the start? Then I felt I was getting ahead of myself. Ultimately, we were interested in these children, but we really didn’t know much about them yet, nor did we know their story and how they came into foster care. A lot could change. But I still couldn’t stop my heart from smiling and whispering, “But what if???”