I cried within 30 minutes of the girls arriving on Saturday. I am a very emotional being by nature, but that was still surprising for me. Their vibrant, loving personalities, mixed with the knowledge of why they have been taken from their biological parents, was just too much for me.
My parents were foster parents, so I am fully aware of how the system works and how children are treated and neglected in our country. I also have a good enough grip on reality to understand that we are human and make a tremendous amount of mistakes on a daily basis. Couples become parents when they don’t intend to, or don’t realize the huge commitment it is to raise a child. Parents have mental issues or disorders that hinder them from being the best parent they can be. I get that.
If these precious girls needed a forever home, we would have taken them in a second. We could have called them our own, snuggled with them every night and raised them to know that they are beautiful, precious and valuable. But the fact of the matter is that we can’t. They have biological parents that are trying to get their act together and welcome these girls back home. Our crib and toddler bed have been empty for 2 nights now, and we mourn the loss of the opportunity to give these girls a home that will accept them for who they are. Everything else in our lives pales in comparison to taking care of Dancer and Cuddles. However, we must press on and begin to understand the purpose of it all and our role in the larger scheme of parenthood.
We took our first foster placement this weekend. Originally, we were not going to take placements unless we were planning on adopting them, but this was just respite care, while their foster parents were out of town for the weekend. Unknowingly, it only took that long to get extremely attached to these two precious girls.
Dancer (obviously not her real name) just turned two years old and is talkative and rambunctious. She was constantly asking for more food and was happy with everything we offered her. She used our bottom two stairs as her platform for dancing to just about anything we would turn on, be it the Wiggles or Beyonce.
Cuddles is 9 months old and just starting to crawl. She preferred time on her belly, chewing on blocks or watching us. She devoured the Cheerios we kept giving her and loved to be held.
The girls struggled with sleeping, both in their own little ways. Dancer had recently had some nightmares, so we put her in our bed and laid with her until she fell asleep, with Mr. Keckles wrapping her snug in her blanket. She woke up a few times screaming, but was quickly soothed back to sleep. Cuddles did not want to be put down, so we spent our night in the recliner, her in my arms happily sleeping and me nodding off a few times during the night. I will never, ever let a foster child cry themselves to sleep. Mr. Keckles and I will both snuggle that precious child until the sun comes up.
My emotions are running high today, as we sent them back to their foster parents this morning. I will be sharing more about that in the posts to come.
I apologize for the abrupt nature of the last post. Mr. Keckles and I were super frustrated and at our wit’s end regarding the adoption and I just wanted to get the word out and get over it. Now, however, I am ready to give some explanation.
First, the shower situation deemed to be the huge hole in our plans. We could not find a reasonable solution to this problem, keeping us from being a home suitable for 3 children, rather than just 2. From the beginning, we have had our eyes on a specific sibling set of three. In the city that we live in, leases are for 12 months, so we are stuck here until August. Another big problem is that we are kind of running out of money. I know this sounds very wishy-washy and I know that, relative to people in third-world countries, this is not an issue, but for us, it is. We ran into some car troubles, among other things, late in 2011, that put us way behind on our bills and financial goals to save and pay down debt. When the children move in, I will be not be working full-time, just the equivalent of about one day a week, while Mr. Keckles stays home with the kiddos. This brings our income down substantially. At this point in time, we cannot take the financial risk of taking in children.
Upon re-examination of our desires and goals, Mr. Keckles and I decided to wait until the summer before moving forward, so we can take some time to save and test the waters of possibly adopting a different child or sibling set.
Sometimes, life doesn’t seem to go the way we would like it to. We don’t get the job that we are desperate for. We run into unexpected financial woes. We lose a family member. A number of things hit us in difficult ways, and we are forced to cope with the circumstances. Usually, we come out stronger, sometimes with the realization of who we truly are and the measures to which we will go to fight back against hardship. I have known loss, disappointment and frustration. I know that I will continue to endure through the rough times of life. But this. This could possibly be the worst.
At this point in time, Mr. Keckles and I are not able to go through with the adoption. Through unforeseen circumstances and a tough decision, we are re-examining our goals and means to reach those goals. We appreciate any and all support that our friends and family have offered, to keep us pushing forward.
A few weeks ago, we had our initial home walkthrough with our care worker and it did not go as well as expected. We knew of the few things that we were missing (carbon monoxide detectors, safety gates), but ran into a few problems that we still have no solution for. In our downstairs bedroom, there is a shower. No, not in a separate room or outside of the room. The shower is literally in the room. Take a look for yourself!
Weird, right? Here are a few problems that this shower poses:
- There are 3 stairs going up to it, which means that it needs to have a guardrail of some sort.
- According to regulations, no child’s bedroom can have anything attached to it that is not a hallway. i.e., the bedroom cannot lead directly to a laundry room, garage, etc. There has to be a hallway between the child’s bedroom and any other room.
- We currently rent this house, so we cannot just demolish the shower or cut off all water supply.
- Our care workers have never seen anything like this before, so they didn’t have too many ideas for us.
At this point in the ballgame, we were super frustrated with this development. We know that we have come this far for a reason and we’re not backing out now, but we have no idea how to work around this glitch in our licensing process. I would love to hear your ideas; leave them in the comments!
This week poses to be an important one in the future of our family. I turned in our licensing packet to the agency today and we have our initial walkthrough on Thursday, meaning that a worker from our agency will go through our house and let us know what we still need to fix or add to make sure it is ready to be a home for our little Keckles. Just a few more months to go, we hope!
Originally, when we first found out about the kiddos, Thing 2* and Thing 3* were in a home together and had been for a while. Thing 1* was in a home by himself, on a TARC plan, tracking his development and making sure there weren’t any major issues. We were overjoyed to know that the girls (Thing 2 and Thing 3) were together and living life as sisters. Today, we found out that all three of the kiddos have been moved into the same home. What a wonderful family they must be with, a family willing to take care of and love on all three of them. While this is wonderful news, it also brings doubt to my mind.
There are very few things that could get in the way of this adoption, money being one of them, something I try not to let my mind dwell on. The other hindrance would be the idea that we are not the best family for these children. In the end, we must be chosen as the best possible option by all their workers and caretakers. It is assumed that there are not many families willing to adopt 3 children at once, especially at such young ages and so close together. The fact had been considered by my husband and I, but never really dwelt upon until now, with the knowledge that there is at least one foster family willing to take care of all of them now.
So, what if we aren’t chosen? What if we aren’t the best family?
Then so be it. From the beginning, this has been about the kids. We know that we have what it takes to be great parents. We know that we are ready for the chaos that will ensue from the time they enter our home. We know the emotional energy it will take to raise abused and neglected children. But it’s not about us. We are simply opening our home to children that need one, be it these three beautiful Things, or another family of Things in the future.
*Disclaimer: We obviously do not consider our potential adoptive children as “things,” but want to offer them a title for you to follow along with throughout our story. The number beside their title refers to their approximate age, for your reference and guidance.