So, 2009 was pretty big for us and as a result I don’t want to go back and link to all the things I’m going to reference!
It started out with us finally getting our homestudy written and approved at the state level, though we found out maybe six months later that there were substantial errors in it and those errors have still not been corrected. As soon as we were approved, we were offered a chance to adopt Ezra, who was six at the time and had a fairly high level of special needs compared to what we thought we could handle. After much thought and agonizing, we told our workers that we just couldn’t commit to him. Since then, the woman who’s been his foster mother for the last 3+ years has decided to adopt him, which is absolutely what we hoped would happen to him.
In the midst of all of that, both of my grandfathers died within six weeks of each other. It meant I got to make two trips to snowy areas of the country at extra snowy times and see my family, but it was also the first time I’d had to deal with death so close to home. Lee accompanied me on the first trip for my paternal grandfather’s funeral, and just as we started our drive home her car was hit and totaled. Her new car is very nice, but that was one extra stress we didn’t especially need, and it kicked my anxiety and post-traumatic stress stuff up a notch.
We started sending out for information on more kids available for adoption in our state, but it was very hard to get responses. We focused on getting a lot of repairs made to our house, since that was something we could actually control. Our file went out on a boy who was 11 at the time, Mychael, and it took something like two months to hear back that we weren’t selected for him. We’ve gotten oblique confirmation that the problem was that we’re a same-sex couple and his worker/region doesn’t approve of that. He’s still waiting for a family.
Claudia recommended that we work with her and Adopt America Network to find a match with a child or sibling group outside our state. We sent out our homestudy many times and Claudia featured us as her family of the month for the workers she knows, but we only made any kind of match with one child in the two months we spent trying. His worker was supposed to be making a decision in December, but we’ve never heard any more about that.
Our little cat, Thing Two, died unexpectedly at about age 2, and that left us reeling and re-evaluating how our family worked and what it should look like. In October, a high school classmate of mine made contact with me and asked about our adoption plans. She asked if we’d be interested in a boy on her caseload, Rowan, who had just turned 15. He came to stay with us at Thanksgiving and we all had a good time. Plans were made for a Christmas visit and for him to transition to living with us full-time early in 2010. We had Adopt America Network put us on hold while we focused on Rowan, once we’d met him and cared about him so much.
And then this past week, Rowan came to stay with us but told us how scary it was for him to be back in our region of the state, where his bad memories and bad influences are. He told us that he doesn’t want to be in a family, which I realize is typical for a kid his age who’s had the background he’s had and I don’t take personally at all. I think he liked being part of our little family, but it was also obviously hard on him. On the day after Christmas, he went AWOL for 26 hours. We had to return him to his Residential Treatment Center early and while we haven’t heard any updates on his placement plans, we’re assuming that there’s no longer hope he’ll be with us any time soon.
We started going to the church we now attend in summer of 2009, and there’s pressure on us to join church (which I can’t since I’m not a Christian!) because the general impression is that we’re more involved than a lot of the people who are members, which is flattering. I’ll be at the soup kitchen with them again tomorrow and I’m looking forward to more tutoring for the rest of the school year. We’ve made some very good friends and opened our lives to something new.
But more important than all those events was how we changed and grew as people over the year. I do think that has been noteworthy and impressive, though I’m not sure it’s something people reading the blog can tell. Lee and I had some real lows during the year, plus times when we were annoyed or annoying. But we’re also learning to be better partners as a result of the hard bits. We’re learning more about what we can actually manage. I can’t wait to spend a quiet evening with her (our current plan, though subject to change if the need for socializing takes her, as it sometimes does) and look forward to a new year together. I’ll be turning 30. We’ll be spending the first half of the year trying to find a child we can adopt.
I’ll also be keeping this blog going and enjoying the connections I’ve made through it. There are some wonderful people out there in the online world and I’m so glad that in 2009 I was able to meet friends in the flesh in Columbus and in Chicago. In 2010, I hope there will be more of this. If nothing else, we’ll get to go stay at the same swanky Chicago hotel because Lee is presenting at a conference there and I of course want to go along to enjoy the city (and sneak out to The Oriental Institute while she’s busy, especially since the section about my region of interest was under construction when I was there last). Maybe I’ll be able to make it to an adoption conference. Maybe I’ll just keep playing lexulous with friends from all over the country. But I know my life will be richer and warmer because of the love, support, and wisdom I’ve gotten from my readers and the bloggers I read. I’m very, very grateful for that.