I cannot begin to explain what I’m feeling right now. This weekend we attended our first event for prospective adoptive parents since we received the approval letter from the agency. It was both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. Exciting because it finally started to feel real and we’d get to meet different kids. Nerve-racking because we really didn’t know what to expect, didn’t want to get our hopes up too much. So, this was a back to school match event. Here’s the premise – prospective parents and kids awaiting adoption get to meet and get to know each other in an informal, social setting. At the end of the event both the kids and the parents complete a form (separately) making an indication if there was any kind of connection with a particular child/parent. If any of the matches appear to be viable then social workers help get the ball rolling.
We arrived early, both of us a little nervous and uncomfortable. Immediately we met Michael, a recruiter from Children’s Home Society who put the event together. All of the kids at the event were between the ages of 10-17. Michael spoke so eloquently and with so much feeling, it brought forth a lot of my emotions almost immediately. I tried desperately to hold back tears. We mingled and played games, trying to learn about each kid and just have fun. We’ve said all along we don’t have real parenting experience so attempting to parent a teenager may be too difficult for us to handle so neither of us was expecting to have a strong connection. But, as Michael said – open your heart, just spending time with this kids and making them special can make a huge impact. We spent the day getting to know these kids and they were all so wonderful. I was surprised at how open they were and how the smallest thing could make them smile.
After a few hours we realized we were making connections, we began to truly care about these kids. They all had different personalities – they all had hopes and dreams and they all have something unique to offer the world. And, they all just wanted to be happy and to be loved.
What we felt for these kids caught us both off-guard. At the end of the event when we were completing our form, we wanted to learn more about every one of them. I swear if we had the means, we’d take them all home with us right then! But, unfortunately we can’t. Surprisingly, there was one particular kid that we had a strong connection with. A young man, who just turned 16. He was very soft spoken and polite, but open and friendly. He loves animals and spending time outdoors; loves history, science and art – math? not so much. He came up to me before leaving to shake my hand. To tell me that it was nice meeting us, he enjoyed spending time with us, we seem nice…
So, here comes Michael – and here come the tears… I couldn’t hold it in any longer. It was all just so overwhelming. We leave and head back to our friends’ house where we’re staying for the weekend. They ask how it went and I don’t know why, but I can’t even talk without more tears.
The rest of the weekend I find myself thinking about this kid – trying to picture what it would be like… is it possible we could parent a teenager? I just don’t know. I can’t explain it, but somehow I feel attached to him. We both do. After we finally got back home tonight we watched his video on the CHS website. We don’t know many details about his past or what brought him into foster care, but we did learn that he’s been in and out of foster care since he was six. Six. Ten years. Can you imagine? We were floored. And again with the tears…
It’s so hard to explain all the emotions I’m feeling right now. My heart is breaking and I’m wondering, what do we do?