Monday, October 5, 2015

Joy

Let me preface this blog with the details that this story was selected to be in a book by a dear friend of mine who is writing his second book. He's a stay at home dad like myself and he has been my inspiration to tell my story, share my experiences and show part of my family. So I wanted to share what Henry selected to be in his book. Please respect my story. Thank you in advance. 


Hello to anyone who is reading this. My name is Joël. I became a father seemingly over a weekend. My husband and I received a call on a Friday from our adoption agency. We were matched with two children, yes two! Siblings to be exact.

Now in our child desired packet, we had specified that yes we would consider siblings but at a specific age and my husband wanted a specific gender as well. What was presented to us was a boy and a girl, both who had just had their birthdays earlier that year. The boy was 3 and the girl was 1(14 months to be exact). So we had to decide.

After much thinking, discussion, calling Human Resources for our work benefits and the overwhelming things we needed to do beforehand we said yes and we would meet them. So we had a list of things to do from our agency. There was going to be a home inspection on the coming Monday. We would be starting the placement process.

Now I had plans, one of my best friends was coming over for the weekend. So I quickly called him and told Garrett that my husband and I had some errands to take care of and if he wouldn't mind tagging along. He was cool with it and was uber excited that we would be starting our process of hopefully becoming parents. We were in for a surprise. (Oh and were we ever!)

So yes, the weekend was fun, we handled our list of things, cleaned our house (AGAIN!!) on Sunday evening after Garrett left and knew what we could put away/store somewhere else before Monday's home inspection. A side note, our agency knew we didn't have anything child appropriate for either child and that was okay. Our understanding was this placement process would be a while.

Now Monday comes. I am at work, yes I did work once however I don't remember it much now being that I'm a full time stay at home dad. Eek, tangent, so I am at work and my husband, Sean - don't think I ever told y'all his name - was home meeting our agency's representative for our home inspection. By the way, a home inspection is to check the child safety of your home. You do foster before adopting a child. That's the process.

Okay so the story continues, my husband is going through the inspection. He's calling me every so often to let me know what we need to do with X, Y, A and G. Just a bunch of new 'To-Do' tasks. Then I don't get a call for about an hour. I, being at work, have focused back on my normal modus operandi. Work, work, work and more work. Business as usual.

Then my manager tells me my husband is on the phone for me. My boss tells me to take the call in my office. So I do. Worry sets in, questions start to arise, my head is spinning and it is only then that I realize I didn't eat breakfast and lunch shifts at work are about to start. Gotta send Gigi to lunch, so I did before taking the call. That was my last work function/duty for the next two weeks but I didn't know it at the time.

Sean tells me that we are being placed with the children today, Monday, not in a month as discussed, but today! We need to be at our agency by 5pm. It was only 11:59am when I looked at the clock right after my husband told me this. I began to sweat. Code red, code red....child placement is happening, I repeat child placement is happening. We are going from Zero to Two Children......TODAY! This is where our process differs from others. I immediately thought of our full bed in our spare bedroom directly across from the bathroom and how that canopy bed was not suitable for a 3 year old boy. Let's not even talk about the futon bed in the other bedroom as that is NEVER appropriate for a 14 month old girl.

Our agency knows we aren't exactly child ready. We AREN'T! We don't have toys, clothing, child appropriate hygiene products or toiletries either. We are two men who have two spare bedrooms, empty for the most part but yes we have two separate rooms for our long term goal of two children. Now we are going from zero to two children. One boy and one girl, siblings, they are becoming our reality faster than we had ever expected.

So I spend the next hour and a half in my office after telling my boss the news. I end up no longer working that day as I call Human Resources again and let them know I am being placed with children that my husband and I intend to adopt. Yes adopt. We had decided early on in our journey of becoming parents that we would always want to adopt. We knew that the process involves fostering the children first. Another tangent!

I was going to be able to take two full weeks off of work and be paid. My husband was going to be off the second week of those two weeks with me and he too would be paid that week. We had our Family Medical Leave time. So with a whirlwind of a storm, almost like from The Wizard of Oz that carried Dorothy to Oz, I was leaving work. I was a basket of emotions. Happy, excited, anxious, nervous and even scared. I don't remember anything work related and I don't remember the drive home.

I arrived at home and my husband was already there. So we both changed into more comfortable clothing. I couldn't figure out what to wear! I actually was concerned that these two children who were about to meet me for the very first time in their lives would actually care about what I was wearing. I mean can you say 'HOT MESS' because that is what I clearly was at that very moment.

Pink rolled up sleeves button up shirt with white linen pants and brown loafers option 1. Red tank top with white linen short sleeve button up shirt over it with navy fitted capri chinos oh and those cute white leather shoes too - option 2. Oh what about the lightweight taupe chinos that flare at the bottom with that cute green polo shirt and those cute navy boat shoes option 5,675,897! I mean who was I kidding. My husband wore his black suit pants, white dress shirt with a New England red v-neck sweater, he was preppy sharp! Children at that age have no idea about clothing at that age and neither did I at that moment in time!

I was on my way with my husband to the agency. He drove and I navigated. I had so many questions. I also remember my husband telling that he spoke to the boy on the phone. It was in reference to us coming there and him meeting us. It was brief but he heard his voice. Wow! Already talking on the phone. My stomach gurgled....excitement.

At the agency. We both were in a room going over documents, lists, a rundown of the situation, processes, what's next, what's tomorrow, what to do in the first week and it went on and on and on. I was just absorbing everything. My husband was writing everything down as he always does. We were going to be receiving all this information in two separate binders, one for each child.

Now time to meet the children. We were escorted to the playroom where both were at. Jonathan spoke to Sean first as he was the one who spoke to Jonathan on the phone beforehand. I said hello and his eyes looking at me, melted my heart, warned my soul and touched me deeply. I was mesmerized. Then came Janette. I saw her little self and her face and I waved. She on the other hand gave this pinched look and went running back into the playroom.

We watched them play for a while and noticed that Janette will play but will also clean up any toys before she goes to the next toy. Jonathan loves bubbles and he would giggle, jump and spin all the while trying to grab and pop the bubbles. (Childhood bliss) One of the social workers of our agency was blowing the bubbles to keep him entertained. Next was for us to gather our things and take them home. TAKE THEM HOME! Already! Really?!

Just as quickly as we got there it seemed we were quickly leaving. Now I looked at my watch and it was 7:34pm. I hadn't eaten a thing that day. Maybe that's why my head was throbbing. (No that's not why!) We were escorted to our car with Janette being held by one agency employee and Jonathan holding hands of another agency employee. I had a bag of their belongings and Sean and one bag too. Then I also had all the binders and materials given to us.

Now I realized these two children only had one plastic grocery bag full of their belongings. ONE! They each had their own car seat, I installed them into my car once we were in the parking lot. (I remembered how to do it.) Sean put the bags and stuff in the trunk. Then it was time to hand off the children to us. Jonathan cried and Janette scream cried. It was a whole lot of emotions going around. However I won't ever forget the one emotion that I felt that day. I was elated! I was over the moon! I was now a parent. Yes, there were a lot more steps to finalizing our process but I just knew. This was it. This would be our family.

Today as I type this I have tears of joy rolling down my face. I have my family. We are together and the last 7 years have been awesome. Our son is now 10 entering 5th grade and our daughter is now 8 entering 3rd grade. I look forward to all the years to come. This is my joy!

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