We delude ourselves. We think we can carefully plan and control our lives. We think we know what is good for us. We believe that life is our play ground and we can do what we want. I guess from certain perspectives this is sort of true, but sometimes we have to accept that things just happen because one happens to be in a certain place at a certain time. And if we accept THAT, then we have to accept that maybe we control our life's direction....but not it's destination.
Robert did his annual volunteering with the Adoption Exchange on Wednesday. Children currently in foster care waiting for an adoptive family are invited to this event to relax and have fun. Many activities are set up for the children to engage in and many volunteers are there to help supervise the kids. Volunteers also help introduce prospective adoptive parents to social workers and foster families praying that some connections are made and more adoptive parents will find a child to love unconditionally. Every year Robert comes home and talks about the amazing kids he was blessed to spend time with. I smile and love him all the more for his big heart....then I raise my eyebrows and say "no. You can't adopt them all" and he smiles sadly and says "I know" and then we are usually interrupted with one of the many children currently in our home. This year was different though. Robert returned home but was more subdued then usual. I asked how it went and he chuckled and said he didn't play football with the teenage boys this year (the ONLY day a year he DOES play football) but instead was given the privilege of managing duck food by the pond. This year he was mobbed by youngsters excited at the prospect of feeding the ducks! There was one little girl that could actually quack in a way that sounded like a duck. He told the story and was clearly taken in by this little girl. He was convinced that given the number of people following this adorable 4 year old around that she was going to find her forever family sooner rather than later. It wasn't until much later that he started talking that I started to understand his strange mood. He spoke of watching the prospective parents follow the younger kids around. Being the analytical person he is, he started watching for people to take interest in the older kids. Apparently not playing football leaves him with more time to observe people's actions...at least during the occasional calm between duck feeding mobbings! What he saw saddened him. Several older kids wandered about sampling the various activities, their social workers giving these teenagers some space. The volunteers would interact and help them, but the prospective parents would only smile and pass them by. In particular, a girl of about 16 was just sitting watching her 10 year old sister play in the creek. Robert sat and chatted with the worker and the teenager, while all of them joked about the strong possibility of the younger girl falling into the creek. All of the prospective parents missed the careful patience of the younger girl first just feeding each duck a single pellet to make them last, and then her utter joy at being shown how to feed them a whole handful so that their nuzzling bills tickled the palm of her hand. They also missed how her older sister was content and happy for nearly an hour just to watch her play. Robert was devastated by the observation that these charming, beautiful girls had no one interested, and that they almost certainly recognized that no one was interested. What usually happens to similar sibling sets is that they are split up to give the younger sibling a chance of making a match. But, at age 10, the younger girl may still be left bouncing from home to home until she ages out with no one to count on forever.
So I did what I always did. I said "we can't adopt them all" and he said "I know"...but then none of our kids interrupted us like they usually do. So I said, "did you get the social worker's name?" And he said yes. Turns out these kids are in the same county as the other kids we are wanting to adopt. Ya...don't forget we have another sibling set that we are currently waiting to hear back on. The 3 & 4 year old I wrote about in my last blog. Oh how their smiles haunt my dreams. It has been 4 months since we set out to adopt them. Yes we were asked to meet them 3 weeks ago, but it seems that still no decision has been made and we have lost hope that we will be their forever family so I tell my husband, "fine. Let's talk with the social worker and see if we might be a match for these girls"...both of them. Because each other is all they have right now and they should have the chance to stay together.
So that brings my story to Friday, Aug 4. As I packed my suitcase minutes before leaving for the airport for a weekend of R&R while my parents turn my home into some sort of super secret grandparents playground (which apparently involves lots of laughter, silliness, video gaming, shopping and trips to iHop) I got a phone call. I glanced at the phone and immediately recognized the caller. A social worker. The social worker. And in my heart I know what is going to happen if I answer that phone. I actually hesitate because I know my husband will be walking in the door in the next 5 min and I so desperately want him there when I answer this call...but I can't ignore it. This worker has had too many unanswered phone calls to other families, too many unreturned messages. Besides, it has been 4 months since we first made contact with her. I can't leave her hanging so I reluctantly answer the phone but I know what she is going to say. Somehow, the words still shock me, somehow I went on automatic and made plans, agreed to meetings, asked questions and now, suddenly, we are the parents of 9 children. God has blessed me once again and entrusted me with a precious gift to love and cherish while helping guide them through their healing process. I only pray that the choices I make will serve to teach my new children that they are loved unconditionally and that I will protect them so they no longer have to feel afraid. 12 years ago, Robert and I set a course in our lives that would include loving children we had not given birth to. K3 was our first adoptee and gave us our direction...to this day, I wonder where my final destination will be.
Robert and I are extremely excited and proud to announce that we are the proud new parents of a beautiful 4 year old girl (K8) and her 3 year old brother (K9) and rest assured, we won't forget the girls at the creek...