Friday, March 4, 2011

THE FAMILY GROWS - 1982 PART THE LAST

At the beginning of eighty two our family consisted of Barb, myself, and two dogs.  We had been trying to add a human addition to the family for several years but had been unsuccessful.  Not being able to get pregnant had put stress on us along with a lot of frustration.  At the beginning of nineteen eighty two we decided to try to adopt a child.  Barb made the phone call and we were put on a waiting list.

The waiting list was a list to be put on another waiting list.  The second waiting list would be the list of prospective parents that had been approved to adopt a child.  Once you made it on the second waiting list it could be up to another three years before a child would be adopted to you.  I felt comfortable that we had plenty of time before we made it through all the jumping through hoops to get a child.

We were not on the first waiting list very long.  In late January we received a phone call saying they were opening slots for the second waiting list if we would come to a meeting and sign up.  We went to the meeting and still they warned us it would be approximately three years before we would see any outcome in the adoption proceedings.  In the meantime they were going to work on approving us as being good potential parents.

To be listed as approved for adoption of a child we had to go through many things.  We had to go to a series of parenting classes that would take up the whole summer.  It was a group class thing and so we joined about seven other couples to learn how to be good parents.  We also had to be evaluated emotionally or by a psychiatrist to prove we would be good parents.  Our house had to be inspected several times to be adoptive worthy.  It had to have all the things a kid would need.  His own room, plenty of play space, and the house had to be clean and in good order.  These home inspections were at random and unannounced.  At anytime a social worker could show up on our door step and inspect the house.

The social worker would also sit and talk to us more about becoming parents and analyzing us on how sane we really were.  this went on throughout the summer and into the fall.  Finally one day they told us that we had been approved.  Being approved didn't mean that the surprise visits would end though.  We still had to be on our toes just in case a social worker would drop by.  As for myself I was still thinking of the three year waiting period as being plenty of time before becoming a father.  I was not too concerned that my life would change drastically anytime soon.

Then one day in December about three weeks before Christmas we received a call from the adoption house.  They wanted us to come in and see them about something.  Barb immediately thought they had a child ready for us but not me.  I held onto the belief that there needed some paperwork to be cleaned up and that it was just a normal visit out to see them.  Barb pressed them for why they wanted to see us but they refused to answer.  And so we headed out to the adoption house to do one of two things.  Either we were going to clean some some unfinished paper work or they were going to say they had a child for us to adopt.  My thinking was that we hadn't even gone through one year of the three year waiting period and so it must be paperwork.  Barb's thinking was that it was a miracle about to happen, that they would be adopting a child to us.  As we drove over to the office I held onto my belief.

We arrived and were led into the office of the head social worker.  She talked around a bit while Barb and myself sat uncomfortably in the chairs.  Then she said the magic words.  "We have a child that we think would fit into your family quite well."  I don't know if Barb jumped in her seat or not but I know I did.  This was unbelievable.  They had a child waiting for us.  It was a boy and did not have any problems as far as they could tell.  Just a healthy little boy.  Were we interested?  "YES!!" Barb and I both exclaimed in unison.  Of course we were interested.  what kind of question was that?  We had been working for this day for a long time and now it was here.  We would take him as is, sight unseen.  Well, the social worker poured some cold water on that thought.  We could not say we would take the child until we visited him and saw him and made an informed choice.  Plans were made to go to the foster home the next night with the social worker to meet this little boy who needed a home.

The foster home was all the way across town taking forty five minutes to get there.  When we walked in there stood the most beautiful boy we had ever seen.  He wasn't walking yet but was holding himself up on the table eating Cheerios out of a bowl.  Both Barb and myself fell in love instantly.  We spent a couple of hours with him that night.  We held him, talked to him, stroke his lovely blond hair that was sticking straight up into the air.

When our time was up we went back to the car with the social worker.  Were we interested in adopting him?  MOST DEFINITELY.  So the wheels were set in motion to have him become a part of our family by Christmas of that year.  In the meantime, we had to visit him every day so he could get use to us and we could get to know him better.  This was going to be a hectic Christmas.

Every night after work we would drive all the way across town and pick up the child.  Then we would take him to the mall because we had to get him Christmas presents.  Then after spending some quality time with him we would return him to the foster home and head back to our house.  At our house we were busy getting the room ready for the little guy.  We had to get a baby bed, a toy box and all the sheets and pillow cases and clothes and on and on.  There was a lot to do in about two weeks time.

We were starting to feel the effects of the new daily routine of driving, shopping, eating, driving, working on the room but we did not let it slow us down.  Once we got all of the Christmas shopping done for him we started to take him out elsewhere to spend real quality time with him.  As of yet, we had not told anyone that we were even thinking about adoption.  We decided it was time to change that.

We took him to my mom and dad's one night.  As I walked in with a baby in my arms she asked whose baby that was?  I answered very seriously that it was her new grandchild.  After she picked herself up off the floor she began asking questions a mile an hour.  Now she had to do some major Christmas shopping.  We took him over to meet Barb's Dad and step mother and they were just as thrilled.  The biggest surprise for me though was when I took him to meet my grandma and grandpa Hill.  We walked in and I told them this was our new son, that we were adopting him.  Grandma was not surprised at all.  She had figured we were up to something like that.  It shouldn't have surprised me, she always knew what I was up to.

As we let the rest of the family in on the soon to be new addition to the family Christmas continued to close in on us.  One day we were given a court date to be at family court in Jackson County.  It would be the day we would bring our new son home for good.  We went into the court room with the social worker and a lawyer that the adoption home used for such occasions.  We were questioned by the judge and by the lawyer.  The social worker was asked questions by the judge and then suddenly he announced that he saw no reason why this adoption should not take place..  We had just gotten a son.

We drove back up t the foster home where the foster mother had all of his stuff packed and ready to go.  He was dressed and as we left, the foster mother had tears in her eyes.  Our son did not raise a fuss though.  by now he knew us well enough that he was comfortable going home with us.  We arrived at the house and took him inside for what would become a wonderful life together as a family.

He joined our family just three days before Christmas on December twenty second.  Christmas of nineteen eighty two was the greatest Christmas I have ever had and I look back on it in wonderment.  It was the Christmas that a married couple became a family with a son.  It was a great way to close out a wonderful year in my life.

Thank you God for sending us this miracle.

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