Pretty sure I brought this up before, but just in case you aren't following along: we are in the process of adopting kids from the California foster system. It's called Fost/Adopt. We are using a private adoption agency instead of going directly through the county. We chose this route specifically because that means we get to choose kids from all of California, not just those in Riverside county where we live. It's taken us a year to get to this point which is where our homestudy is done and we are now waiting to be matched with kids.
The waiting is the hardest thing. Well almost as hard as when you find a kid you are interested in and you start to get excited thinking, these might be the ones. You tell yourself not to get your hopes up, but you do anyway, you just can't help it. Then you find out they were matched with another family. Yours just wasn't good enough. So you start wondering why? Why are we not good enough? Is it because the Social Workers think I'm not going to be a good enough mother? 'cause I think I am. I think I'm gonna be an excellent mother. I love kids. I mean seriously LOVE them. I would rather chill with kids and watch cartoons than hang with adults and make adult conversation most times. Kids are simpler, and they love me. No joke. Sara gets frustrated, "kids LOVE Sherri and I'm the one that does crafts with them and plays games. It's just because she's like a giant cartoon character". Well, she kind of has a point there. But seriously kids love me. And cats. Which is creepy because I hate cats and they will seek me out and rub all over me. Cats are creepy. Most kids aren't. Unless they are eating boogers. That creeps me out. I always tell them to put it back. That usually confuses them. No, I'm serious, put it BACK!
Ok, so wanna know my secret to making kids like me without even trying? I listen to them. That's it. I listen. Kids always have something to say. They want to be heard. So I try to get down on their level and just let them talk to me. And I look them straight in the eye and listen. Seems so simple. But if you watch other adults around kids they usually are so busy with their own lives they barely hear the constant chatter coming from the kids so I listen. When Jordyn tells me about what she did in school, I listen attentively and ask questions, Jerzi explains the wrong that was committed against her by her cousin Gavin I listen and sympathize. Mr.Jett explains his boo boo and it upsets him deeply, so I get a Sponge Bob band-aid and tuck him up next to me on the couch and we snuggle and watch Bob and Patrick do crazy underwater things in that pineapple under the sea.
Olivia likes to drape herself across my lap like i'm her personal lazy boy recliner, long legs dangling back and forth she looks earnestly in my eyes and tells me all about how they are working on the bar exercises in gymnastics and it's hard. Emily comes up and tries to tell me a very complicated story, involving lots of pausing and thinking as she get's her thoughts in order and perhaps chages directions a couple times, but she gets it out and I listen all the way through, then repeat back what she said and with a firm nod of her head and a little jutting out of her hip, she smiles triumphantly and runs off. Macks takes my hand and looks up at me with the most endearing big brown eyes ever and asks me a question. I answer earnestly and she smiles, holds my hand for a few more minutes than runs off to join her sisters in chaos, umm I mean fun. Marissa is my shining light, she's a little beacon of smiles. She smiles at me. She never stops smiling at me. Just sits and smiles at me and calls me Sara. Which I don't mind. I think it's cute. She has my favorite smile. She can call me anything she wants.
Mags is serious, very, very serious and oh my God she reminds me of myself at that age. Intelligent and needing challenge, unfocused at times, other times with laser focus. She talks to me very seriously. We talk about books and reading. She tells me about some books she has read and I ask her if she has read this one or that one. She explains the plot and the characters in details. She talks to me about her gymnastics and shows me her report card. She craves acknowledgment as she looks for me through the window after every fall from the bar and I smile at her encouragingly and give her thumbs up. She tells me later, "I kept falling off". I told her "so, you got right back up and tried again, that was awesome!" Then there is little Kai. Who could not love this little boy and his adorable laugh when his Nana grabs him and tickles him. He chuckles from his soul and lights up the room.
Tessa isn't sure what to think about me, our relationship is very new. But she's coming around, Caleb tells me he loves me in sign language because he just can't say the words yet, but I tell him I love him too and shower him with kisses while he squirms in his Missy's arms. I'm lucky to have had such great kids in my life. I miss them severely when I can't see them, which is just another heartbreak I get to endure. I wonder if I will ever get to have my own kids to love, every day. My own that can't be taken away from me. I want forever kids. Not just ones on loan that get taken back after you have fallen completely and utterly in love with them. That's why we didn't do foster care. Couldn't stand the idea of losing the kids after getting attached to them. Totally get that. It sucks. But so does this adoption thing. The waiting and the unknowing suck. If we make it through and get our family I may feel differently, but right now. I'm not a fan of the system. 28,000 children in the foster care system in LA county alone. 700 of which are up for adoption. And here we wait. Yeah, it sucks.