Monday, December 30, 2013

Meeting our children

It felt like a first date even though I haven’t had a first date since I first started dating my husband 20 years ago. I guess looking back on it now; it was our first date and also the prelude to a few more “first dates”.

My husband and I were both shuffling around in the bathroom  trying to figure out what we were going to wear,  discussing what would we say, and chatting about what questions may be asked.

I really didn’t give it much thought as silly as it may sound but I could tell my husband wanted to make a good first impression.  He wanted to make a good impression when meeting David and Grace for the first time.

We had less than 24 hours to show up at their group home and meet them.  It was Grace’s desire to be home and be adopted by Christmas. This was something that both agencies were not sure could happen. Therefore, we had to speed things up to make sure there was a Christmas miracle!

We left our home early Monday morning and drove two hours to their home.  We arrived an embarrassingly 30 minutes early because I was worried about traffic or getting behind a slow tractor as we made our way to the ranch where they were. We waited 30 minutes at the end of the dirt road that would lead us to their house. While we waited for their case workers to appear, I found myself checking email, making Facebook updates and taking some beautiful pictures of the country side while waiting. We had to wait for all of the caseworkers to appear so they could introduce us as “Mom and Dad” to our children and also watch our interactions.

When we arrived, we went into their home and our children were sitting on the couch waiting for us so quietly and patiently. I am sure they were just as nervous as we were. After all, they didn’t know us and didn’t know if they could trust us since so many adults in their lives have failed them over the years.

Grace was the first one to run up to me and give me a huge handful of waded up paper that was clipped together with a tiny clothespin. Since she learned of her new adoptive family, she drew pictures of all six family members and wrote us all hand written letters. She was so very proud and wanted me to read each piece of paper.

Our son was a bit more anxious and he came over to say hello and then immediately wanted to show us the Legos he has been working on. He had such pride in the Legos he had made which were stored in a small shoebox in his room. After staying for about an hour, they felt comfortable to spend the day with us.

We spent eight hours together on our “first date” eating cheese pizza, getting milk shakes (with no cherry on top!) and bowling for the first time.  We learned quite a bit about each other on our first date. My husband taught my son to bowl for the first time and I was able to braid my daughter’s hair for the first time.

We knew our next “first date” together would be a double whammy.

The next time we’d see our David and Grace would be in five long days. Even though we talk every night at 8:00pm, it felt like eternity.  On our 17th wedding anniversary our newly adoptive children David and Grace would be introduced to our biological children and it would be our first overnight visit at their new home with their forever family.    

Read more of Christy's posts about her foster parenting journey here

Christy Benson is the director of Clinical Informatics Analysis & Measurement for Texas Health Resources, Mom to two boys, and Foster Mom.

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