Thursday, November 09, 2006

How I became a Father, part IV

How I became a father
part IV
We got our Bethany paperwork in the Fall of 2004. We finished our Bethany paperwork, and the home study, in Feb of 2005. We settled in for what we were told would be anywhere from 6 months to a year or even two year wait. We were at peace this, satisfied we had taken the necessary steps and leaving it in God's hands at this point. We started thinking about what else we needed to do. I had bought my house in St. Elmo in '91, and liked the neighbors, but Laurie and I agreed it wasn't going to be big enough for a family with kids. We decided to start looking for a new place, and put 1501 W. 44th St. up for sale. (That's actually a whole saga in itself, in some other forum...) That was in April.
By early May, we had a contract on our house, and after Laurie had dragged me through 40 or 50 houses in various developments, we had settled on our new place in Ooltewah, TN. That was early May. We set a closing date for both houses of June 30th. We started packing. Packing under any circumstances is no fun, and I'd accumulated 15 years of bachelor crap, and Laurie had brought stuff from WI that we had never unpacked, it was all crammed into the attic. We started stacking up all the boxes in the Dining room. In addition, we had converted our "spare room" into a nursery, complete with crib, changing table, dresser, etc. It had been therapeutic for both of us during this whole time to be "working" towards adopting our first child, and helped us anticipate that big day. We took the nursery apart as well, disassembling the furniture, stacking everything in the dining room, making a yard sale pile. That was Mid May.
In LATE May we got a call from Bethany. Would we be interested in meeting a young family with TWO boys? 3 years old and 8 mos. This scenario had not even dare entered our minds. We had said we'd be open to an older child, but I think both of us deep down hoped for an infant, as I suppose may be a common emotional need amongst parents who have found out they probably won't ever have a baby naturally. But when we got the call...("Two brothers.... and the birth mother wants to move fairly quickly") honestly, all other preconceptions we may have had were lost. We said Yes instantly. However else I had pictured adoption might be, or might play out, was forgotten. A week later we drove to the Bethany office in Knoxville. We met the mother, father, and both boys all at once, in a conference room in the office. We sat around on the floor playing with them. We spent about an hour, mostly playing with the boys, sharing nervous laughter with Amanda and David as all of us tried to get used to this situation, and figure out how to behave. At the end of the first visit, Laurie and I both felt a chord had been struck, perhaps reassuring both to us and to them that this could work, that the boys could be happy and there might be a future for a relationship with them (Amanda and David) long term.
It's kind of weird to think about a birth Mom and Dad looking through a book of profiles, much the same way a detective would scan a book of mug shots- but isn't amazing that both Amanda and David had decided they wanted to meet us based on this- they thought that Laurie and I resembled how they might look at our age (they are both about 10 years younger). With this thin thread of commonality we soon all found that it was pretty easy to talk when it came to the boys, and both of them spoke of the boys with obvious love and interest for them. They were trying to give us all the information they had that they thought we could use: "Damian loves to take things apart" "Damian has started potty training already" and "If they ever act stubborn, sorry, they get that from me". The whole thing was slightly surreal.
We agreed to meet again 4 days later, a Monday, to make sure that the rapport that had been struck was not a fluke. It wasn't. The second meeting was much easier, and it was more like seeing cousins whose name you knew but hadn't seen in a very, very long time. Does that make sense? You know that you are family now of sorts, but your behavior is still somewhat guarded. In any case, more "tips" were given to us by Amanda and David, and pretty much Laurie and I were 110% certain that this was really going to happen, that the wait was over and we were going to not get not just one child, but TWO! We agreed that Thursday, we would meet for the third time, and bring the boys home. When we got home Monday afternoon we looke at the room that had been the nursery. Empty. Then we looked at the crib and the nursery furniture stacked up in the living room, ready to move. The boys were coming home on the 16th of June. We were closing on our new house on June 30th, moving to the new house July 1.

We reassembled the nursery.

To be continued...

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