For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to adopt. I remember discussing adoption with my high school boyfriend, who also thought it would be a good idea when we got married or joined a commune. Well, we didn’t work out, and the idea was put on the shelf for a time. I moved on with my life by going to college, joining the Navy, and getting married. I ended up having a baby of my own — a boy. Don’t get me wrong, I adored and worshipped my son and wouldn’t have traded him for anything, but I couldn’t help but wonder… would I ever know what it was like to have a daughter?
I met my current partner at the age of 43, after being divorced for many years. We’ve been together for 10 years this May. We discussed having children back then, but it didn’t work out. The local Department of Social Services (DSS) were really beefing up their campaign to find more families to recruit to foster, and every time I saw one of their commercials or saw an ad in the paper for an upcoming event, I knew I had to convince my partner in crime that this was the way to go.
There was fear — fear that we would fall in love with our child and have to give him or her back. Fear that we were “too old” to handle this — I was already 50 years old and some days felt like 70… could I do this? I’m one of those people that when I put my mind to something, I will figure out how to do it.
After taking the mandatory eight weeks of foster parenting classes, filling out numerous forms, undergoing background checks, and getting certified (this included well water testing, safety inspection by the fire department, and a health exam), we had our foster parent license. We were able to let them know ahead of time the type of child we wanted to foster with the intent of adopting if it all worked out.
One month later, we got the call — a two month old baby girl getting ready to leave the NICU. She was born at 26 weeks at a little over a pound with cocaine in her system. She had some tubage and was extremely fragile. We had to let them know in one hour if we would be her foster parents, as DSS was going into a meeting to discuss her situation and needed to know who was going to step up.
I called my partner who immediately said yes, but we still had to check with our neighbor (also close friend) who we asked months ago to be our nanny if we were to get a child. She lived next door and would come to our house. She agreed. We called our social worker back and with much trepidation said we would do it. We heard back in a couple of hours that they chose us…. and the rest is history.
RJ has thrived and is one of the smartest and funniest little ones I’ve ever known. She is very social and will say hi to everyone and tells them she likes their shoes. She is the first one to go over to a crying baby and tell that child, “It’s OK” while stroking his or her head. She is a miracle, a blessing, and my heart’s own. It looks like we will be adopting her before she turns three in September — we are going to have one heck of a kick-ass party!