Adoption? My Head is Spinning! (Part 2)
Part 2: Visits and Placement
Once you have a potential match, there are still many unknowns and timing is definitely one of them . The state generally has a meeting or two to decide if you are the right family and you may even have a phone call with the foster family or meetings with your caseworker. Timing on this is unpredictable because it depends on a lot of people’s schedules lining up. However, once you get the final yes, it is time to start planning visits to get to know your new child. They will probably tell you that there is a requirement of something like 3 visits and at least one overnight visit but again, I can tell you 5 stories and everyone of them is completely different.
For us it wasn’t near as organized as we expected. We had a group phone call with the foster parents and caseworkers first and it was super uncomfortable. The foster mom later told me that she was trying to scare us off a little bit which was exactly what we thought. However, we didn’t back down at all and I stayed in close touch with the boys caseworker trying to schedule a time for us to meet them. They lived about 5 1/2 hours south of us so it wasn’t a quick trip but we wanted to make it happen as soon as possible. We got a call one evening around 4:00 that we could meet the boys the next day but no formal arrangements had been made. So, with very little to go on we worked out all of the details at home like Aaron calling into work and me canceling my private vocal students to free up our schedule. We loaded our 3 girls into the van the next morning and hit the road. Upon starting the drive we had heard nothing else from the caseworker. All we knew was which town the boys lived in so we programmed that into google maps and hoped we would hear something by the time we got there. Five and half hours later we arrived and had heard nothing. We wandered around a Wal-mart for a little while and then located a city park. We thought it would be good for the girls to run and play a little bit after being in the car for most of the day. The hours were slowly ticking by at this point. We knew noone and had nowhere to go. With each hour that passed our nerves twisted tighter and our thoughts raced faster. There was a walking path around the playground at the park so Aaron and I decide the best use of our time was to prayer walk. About 45 minutes into walking and taking turns praying out loud, my phone rang and the caseworker said we would be allowed to meet the boys at their foster home when they arrived after school. It’s hard to explain our emotions in that moment but if I keep our focus on expectations, I can tell you this was absolutely nothing like I had expected our first meeting to play out.
We had about 30 minutes until the boys would be homeand we had a pretty short drive but decided to head that way in case we had trouble finding it or needed to take care of any business once we got there. Honestly, what else were we going to do? We had literally been passing time for hours at this point. We arrived with no trouble and checked in at the main office. Our boys lived on a ‘ranch’ that is made up of 5 foster homes that are run by full-time foster parents. I wouldn’t say we were warmly welcomed. In fact if I’m completely honest, we didn’t feel like we were really wanted there at all. Again, manage your expectations! We were introduced to the director of the ranch, confirmed who we were and what we were there for, they told us it had been a rough day and not to expect much, especially from the oldest boy. It was as if they wanted to suck all of the joy and excitement out of us. I am not exaggerating!
To finish up the story quickly we ended up having a great visit, being warmly welcomed by the boys, invited to stay for dinner and then return the next morning for some more playtime. We left feeling confirmed that these were meant to be our boys. Within the next month we planned their 2 overnight visits and started working on their room. All of that went as planned and they were set to come home to stay in January 2014. You would think at that point we could hang our hats on those plans, but no. We still needed to be holding our expectations with an open hand. The first week in January I received a call that the state was putting everything on hold and we may not get to adopt the boys. We heard very little for the next 8 weeks, almost no contact at all with the caseworkers and none with the boys. Finally we were told that they were separating our boys, believing it was best for the boys as they continued healing, and we would still be allowed to adopt the younger 2 if we were willing. We believe without a shadow of a doubt things turned out just the way God had planned, even if it didn’t play out according to our expectations. The more flexible your expectations, the more you are able to trust God’s plan and timing, and the more easily you will be able to stay buckled in and ride the rollercoaster of your adoption journey.