Monday, September 29, 2014

Control Freak in Waiting

Good lord. Have I mentioned before that I'm not a patient person? I'm not a person who easily just goes with the flow? Little things, sure, but big life events, I want input, I want control, I want a say, in all of it. And that doesn't work. It just doesn't. And at the age of 39, I'm finally learning this lesson. Just in time too.

I mentioned here, back in February when I last wrote, yeah, February, that Joe and I are going through the adoption process through the foster care system. And we are hopefully getting past the beginning and middle of it, the homestudy and classes and background checks part, then into the searching for kiddos part of it all, and now into the last phase, before the real stuff of parenting begins. The matching has happened. The case workers have sent over photos of our potential kiddo. We've read pages and pages of his case files, and had long talks together about what type of kiddo we think we can parent well, and extended conference calls full of questions and answers and more questions with case workers and foster parents and therapists. And now there's a specific kid out there that we think will be ours.

Ours. A specific kid. One little guy. It's not a mystery anymore. He knows we exist. We know all kinds of things about him too. But we haven't met yet. We're falling in love with him a little bit already. More everyday. And we haven't even met him yet. We don't know what his little voice sounds like. Or how many books he will demand we read together before bed. Or which superhero is his real favorite. Or what kind of jelly he likes best on his pb and j. But I think we'll know soon.

The bureaucracy keeps us waiting. I was talking to a good friend about it over the weekend and he said it made him feel reassured to know that there is a clear and formal process to protect kids and make sure that adoptive families understand the commitment. I've been looking at the process as a slow, painful obstacle somehow set up in our way to prevent us from getting to hug our kid, like yesterday already. And he put it in perspective for me with just a few words, without even intending to. I see irritating slowness there to thwart our best laid plans to grow our family this year, and he saw a deliberate, careful consideration. I'm caught up in the anxiety and anticipation of adding this wonderful child to our family as soon as possible, but people who aren't as impatient as I am, see the reasons for the delay. The reasons for the process and the methodical paperwork and signatures and the infuriating checklists.

Because it's not for certain that we'll click with this particular kiddo. It's not 100%. We might meet and it might just not feel right. It might be the hardest decision we've made yet, to walk away. Because the making of a family is tricky, especially with older kids. The right chemistry and the realistic expectations and the forever commitment all have to be there. But we're hopeful. We're really really hopeful. I think we might have our boy. We just might. And I'm sitting here trying not to imagine what it will be like to send him off to college, or take photos of him posed with his prom date. I find myself trying not to cry at the oddest times, with raw excitement and concerns popping up here and there. I'll try not to jump ahead too far. I'll try to tame my inner control freak, my inner impatient soon to be mom who wants to plan and strategize and read every parenting book before he gets here, so we can make sure we do it all right. I might have some perfectionist tendencies thrown in for good measure, too. Maybe.

I'm trying to tame this person inside of me, this ball of nervous tension and fear of failure who keeps closing her eyes scared of the unknown, because this combination of hopeful anticipation and sheer terror seems to be a feeling we're both going to have to learn to embrace.  It sounds like it's going to be our new normal sometime soon, hopefully soon, like really soon. Come on, people, it can be soon, right? Soon? I'm trying to be the soft, gentle, soothing voice in my own head that says "It's going to be ok. Whatever happens, you can handle it. And you'll do your best, because that's who you are." I'm going to be that voice for myself right now, because very soon we're going to have the honor of being that voice for some small boy, who is just waiting to meet us too.

(Side note: this was my 500th blog post! Yippee! What a way to celebrate, by picking up a kid!)