We pulled up in front of the house and saw our social worker waiting in the driveway. A friendly, familiar face. She told me I looked nice, knowing I was wondering what a person wears who is trying to give the impression of being a ‘nice Mom.’ I had decided on the pink sweater because it seemed sweet and calm (although my 5 year old thought I should go for the ‘big red dress’ if I wouldn’t consent to my wedding dress that she’s always hoping I’ll wear to church or something!) We walked into the house and a dog started barking. A television was on. Someone was giving me a dog treat to give the dog and there were no kids in sight. They were hiding behind the furniture, too nervous to come out. I wondered where the remote was and dropped the dog cookie. I couldn’t even focus on giving a dog a treat-there was just too much going on all at once. A girl taller than I envisioned peeked out shyly. Our little guy poked his head out to see if it was safe. Then my hero, Nathan, took over. He just picked up the books we had made for the kids that had just been given to them the day before and asked the kids what they thought of them. He was quiet and calm and nice. Everything calmed down and everyone was suddenly okay. Quickly they told us they thought ‘the books were awesome’ and there we all were, sitting on the couch, looking at pictures of the books and talking like we knew each other. It was going to be okay.
I had prepared myself that we would probably not see the kids’ real personalities for quite a while. The foster Mom had prepared us that our little 9 year old boy would be hanging off the light fixtures. We were okay with that-after all, if you were a 6 year old girl or a 9 year old boy and you were put in a room with strangers and told they were going to be your ‘forever Mom and Dad,’ how would you act?
The social workers and foster Mom faded into the kitchen as we talked about pig plans and their Grandparent’s farm and new brothers and sisters. We asked if they would show us their rooms and they were quick to take us on a tour and started pulling out old school projects. Our little guy pointed to some adult-looking printing on a project and told us that that was his printing. I suspected that his was the messy, hard-to- read printing and wondered if he was afraid we wouldn’t accept him if we knew how much he hated printing and how hard schoolwork is for him. I wanted to tell him that we did know and that it was every bit as hard for one of our birth kids, too, and that even though his learning disability was caused by a very different reason, they would understand each other. I would look for an opportunity to have that talk soon.
Soon artwork and plastic bracelets and drawings with the words, “To my New Mom and Dad” were presented. We gave our gifts: a Canucks jersey for the Canucks fan and a diamond princess necklace and hair flower for our new princess with an explanation that all of the Scott princesses had necklaces and flowers and the girls had said she could choose her favourite of all the colours if she didn’t like the yellow one best. We took photos all around and our little guy made the social workers do a silly-face picture too, and forced them to eat just a couple more cream puffs and then the social workers decided they could leave. They had seen the kids interact, come and check on their foster Mom to see if she was okay and then race back to us and they felt that we could handle it. Our little guy was surprised- “But YOU’RE not leaving yet, are you?” and we told him no, we’d stay for a good long visit. He asked Nathan for a hug. Looks like all those books I read about attachment are not going to be too necessary. I told them that I had missed out on hundreds of hugs and kisses from them and that we had some catching up to do.
We went to the park. My little girl showed me her chewed finger nails and told how nervous she had been to meet us and I told her I had been nervous, too, but now we could stop being nervous. She mentioned her ‘real Mom’ and I told her that she would still get to see her birth Mom and Dad the same amount of time as they do now. They usually visit 3 times a year for an hour’s supervised visit. They need to know they’re okay, and they need to know that we know about them. They don’t want to live with them anymore and they are all too aware of the issues but they need to know they’re okay. I told her that I was a ‘real Mom’ too and taught her the politically correct terms for ‘birth Mom’ and ‘adoptive Mom’ and how she could just call me plain old ‘Mom’ when she was ready-then I wondered if I should have corrected her so soon.
We discovered things about each other as they played. Our little girl slid down the slide into a giant puddle and we went home to change. Our little guy played his first ball game with the ‘sporty Dad’ he had so badly wanted. It was a good solid first meeting. They told us they were ready to move in with us.
We hadn’t thought about how ready they would be. They remember quite a few moves they’ve had and they’ve never had more than a few hours notice. They don’t understand this month-or-more long transition. Our little guy doesn’t like his foster sister and is ready to escape her clutches. He is tired of living with just 3 sisters and can’t wait to get out there with his ‘new brothers.’ “It’s going to be a long wait until Sunday when I get to meet them” he says.
We give hugs and kisses (I tell them that all of my kids love to kiss me and they go ahead and kiss me because I asked). We make plans for lunch the next day. They decide on a picnic over a restaurant. I had a list of things for the next day: Picnic, Piper the dog, Pink hair flower instead of the yellow and one more P thing that I forget—oh yes, I decide to print out pictures so they’ll each have a framed picture with their new Mom and Dad for the next day.
We drive away and dream about what the future holds. We like them. They have a wonderful foster Mom, but they need a family and they’re so very ready.