It has been one crazy summer.
We have spent time traveling and visiting family and bonding as a family. Sadly it is quickly coming to an end. I will be back at work full time in a few weeks; gf starts teaching again this week; and J starts school in two weeks.
-watching J bond with all of his new cousins and grandparents
-listening to him giggle
-seeing him gain confidence in the water to the point where he can put his head under the water.
-dealing with too many philosophical questions from a certain curious six year old.
-hearing him say “I love you more than you know.”
We are moving closer to the six month date…
It seems like the best conversations happen either in the car or in the morning. For example, today’s conversation went something like this:
J: am I your boy?
Me: yes. You are my boy.
J: did you choose me?
J: why did you choose me?
Me: because I thought you would be a good fit for my family.
J: okay. I’m hungry.
(I mean, he is five….)
Time is getting the best of me.
Mother’s day was really special.
I never thought too much of the holiday…except as a reminder to call my mom and step mom to say hi.
This year was different. Although gf and I didn’t get wished “happy mother’s day” on Sunday, J did call us his moms and mentioned that he loved his family at other points that weekend. He made us a gift at school, which made us both cry happy tears. Apparently at school he went around telling other kids that he has two moms. He still calls both of us by our first names though. All in time.
We had a lovely day-cleaning and then going to the beach for a picnic and playing in the sand.
Now I’m learning how to make time for myself. Now that gf’s semester is finished, she will have more flexibility with her schedule for helping with pick-ups and drop-offs. I went swimming on Sunday and then brunch with friends. It felt luxurious. And I had only limited guilt.
SW is picking J up from school today and coming over for her second home visit. He has to live here for six months before we can move forward with adoption. As of last Wednesday, he has been living here for a month. Seems very hard to believe! I think we are finally getting into a rhythm/routine, but I know that once summer hits it will be over….
We attended J’s IEP meeting on Monday.
I was stressed beforehand and cried during it.
And I worked as a special education teacher and administrator for 14 years. I understood everything they talked about-the lingo, the evaluation terms, the paperwork I needed to sign. But nothing prepared me for the wave of emotions I experienced as I sat there. They were talking about our little boy.
I realized that how a kid reads on paper is in fact incredibly different then what they are in reality. A lesson I thought I knew, but until I lived it, I had absolutely no idea.
J was dealt a shitty bunch of cards for the first three years of his life. I know that the next hand he is dealt will be MUCH better.
Things nobody taught me (us) in the parenting course I took:
1. You will be tired. All the time. Naps and afternoon coffee will become your best friend. I think it’s because we didn’t have the infant stage of sleep depravation to go through that I (and girlfriend) are constantly tired. I am drinking way more coffee than I ever did in the past. Yesterday I took a longer drive home from the farm with J to go to Starbucks and get a latte.
2. Wine (or beer or hard alcohol) become a necessity to help with wind down time in the evening. I have never been a huge drinker, but I now feel the need to have just one drink with dinner. It takes the edge off for sure.
3. Drive throughs are god’s gift to parents. (see #1) We ran out of milk yesterday morning and I needed coffee STAT (see #1)…thankfully there was a drive through DD’s on the way home from an appointment. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if I had to get out the car with J and convince him he didn’t need the doughnut. Somehow he believed me that this particular drive-through only sold coffee (and the sandwiches he saw posted on the menu)….
4. Sometimes you are going to fundamentally disagree with therapists. J has an incredibly active imagination. He can make believe almost anything-pirate ships, magicians, robots. The other day GF took him for a walk in the woods while I got to nap (see #1). She made up a whole story about how they were looking for little red riding hood. And they had a fabulous time. When I retold this story to his therapist, she promptly told him (in front of me) that little red riding hood isn’t real. I was stunned. And just sat there in disbelief. WHO CARES??? The kid has the most active imagination of any five year old I have ever met. Now if he still believes in little red riding hood at age 12 or 15, then maybe there’s a problem. Right now though, I don’t care. Luckily I found a sympathetic ear in his social worker, who came over for his first home visit yesterday. She agreed that his imagination was developmentally appropriate and I should take what his therapist says with a grain a salt. “Sometimes they are too clinical.”
5. Although it is sometimes a helpful time to transition over a school vacation, I would not recommend it. The lack of structure and consistency that the school day provides is VITAL to making the transition to a new home work. Of course, ask me next week when I am back at work and he is back in school how it is going….
6. You must reach out to others. You must keep in contact with other adults. You must ask for help when feeling overwhelmed. You must talk about YOUR feelings. And remember to have check ins with your GF about hers. (This is the mantra I have been repeating to myself since Sunday when we all had multiple meltdowns.)
I have a brief moment to compose this first post, but wanted to say I am officially tired.
Before I dive into this feeling, I should probably give you some back story.
This journey started back in December 2012 when I signed up for a MAPP class.
And lo and behold, I was matched with J in February. (There was a much longer process that preceded this, but it’s kind of boring, so I won’t go into that here…) He moved in with us in April.
Who is us? My wonderful amazing girlfriend and myself. But because I started this process before we met, I am technically adopting him as a single parent. I have to say though that besides the legal technicality, we are doing this as a family.
But that comes with it own sets of problems and issues. Some of which I will highlight in this blog. I hope it’s helpful for those who are in the process of starting adoption. I tried looking for other blogs that touched on these same issues, but didn’t find any.
Regardless, we have a high energy, caring, sweet five year old boy in our lives. And besides the tired, it’s pretty amazing.