My husband and I are only a couple of days away from celebrating the one-year anniversary of our son coming into our lives. As it approaches I can’t help but think of all the amazing memories we have made together. I think of the beauty we experienced despite the sad days, the hard days and now we look forward to all the days that are ahead of us.
He came into our lives through foster care and because a selfless foster family fiercely advocated for him to find his forever home. That family was stop number 9, and they were dedicated to finding the right fit for this hyper yet loveable teenage boy. Our future son waited as he met families he thought could be his forever only to learn that they changed their minds after initially saying yes. This rollercoaster of emotion left him crushed and heartbroken every time. But we said yes, and although we were scared, we stayed true to what we said initially and will say forever, YES.
I knew from the day he set foot in our house that he was an amazing fit. Was he the cute, innocent baby so many potential adoptive families ask for? No. Was it easy getting through his fears of rejection? No. Was it easy to hear what his journey had been like? No. But he was my son and I love him so much no matter what path it took to get to me. I'm mad to know the trauma that has happened to him. I’m upset that I can’t make the hurtful memories or losses all go away. I’m hurt when he gets hurt and because he has had hurt done to him. I’m told that is what it means to be a mom, and now I fully understand the depths of the love a mother possesses.
Over this last year we have visited other states, seen national monuments, tasted new and weird food, and journeyed together. Part of that journey included asking him if he would like to be our son forever. He shouted “YES!” and did a little dance at the dinner table. He then said “I have been waiting for this day for over 7 years. Waiting for someone to want to adopt me.” My heart just broke. I was filled with joy and sadness at the same time.
We started the process to adopt him, which takes months legally to complete. Now, just as things were getting close, COVID-19 happened. Our son is insecure about things changing. First it was schools closing. Then he couldn’t go outside and play with neighborhood friends. Now, with everything going on in the world, the courts have slowed down, so who knows when the adoption will be finalized.
It never crossed my mind that we would hit 1 year without the adoption being finalized. I know how naive that sounds now... Of course it would take longer, but as a mom I can still dream and pray. It breaks my heart because this week when I was trying to play an April Fools joke on him I said, “guess what?” And he responded, “the adoption cleared?!?” I had to say no. Our son is waiting for it to happen and all it needs is a judge’s signature! Since he is over 12 he had to sign the final paperwork saying this is what he wanted which means there is no hiding how close we actually are.
So now, I have decided, we are going to celebrate like it is his first birthday. We missed those moments with him, so I need to make up some of the moments we missed. Here is the glaring problem though. We are in social isolation because of COVID-19 so we can't hold a party, we can’t go buy presents, decorations or frosting. So, we’re going old fashioned. We are going to bake a cake from scratch and making handmade cards to show our son how much we love him.
While we are stop number 10 for our son and we look at it as forever judge's signature or not, that paper still means something to him. It represents actual permanence. It means we can’t change our minds like others have done. Forever hasn't officially happened yet, so for now we look at each moment of waiting as more precious memories with him. We know these days with him and this time is precious because soon we will officially celebrate that we are his last stop on a journey that has taken far too long.