I got out of bed that morning, not having slept much. Surprisingly I made it to work on time, which was good because it was only my second month of work as an early interventionist. I had made sure to not schedule visits that day knowing I would be a bundle of nerves. I drank my morning coffee with giddy excitement. I can admit now that not that much work happened that day. Around 11 a.m. I happened to look down at my feet and noticed I was wearing one blue sock and one black sock. I was mortified. How could I even contemplate meeting my son for the first time with mismatched socks?
I managed to get home and change my socks prior to picking up A. We were a one car couple, about to be a family. As I drove to his work I had to work hard at staying calm, doing some deep breathing and trying to focus on being happy rather than nervous. When I got to A’s work I made him drive. I was way to excited to be a safe driver. I don’t remember us talking very much on our way.
We arrived at the foster home and we were a few minutes early so we waited in silence for the Children’s Aid worker to arrive. When she did we all moved toward the house, A. and I holding hands as we prepared to meet our son. The moment we had been waiting years for. The door opened and we were greeted by the foster mother. Just beyond her I could see this blond head peeking out from behind the hallway door jam. Nanna (what he called the foster mother) coaxed him over to us. He was holding a large paper rolled up and tied with a ribbon. He held it out to us so I bent down and took it from him. “”Can I open it?” I asked. He nodded and a smile transformed his serious face. I pulled the ribbon and unrolled it and on the page was beautiful purple and pink strokes and at the bottom said “my forever family”. Tears welled up in my eyes and we thanked him for the wonderful picture. We moved further into the room and he ran out of the room. He reemerged a moment later and motioned for us to come with him. A quick look to foster mother garnered a look of approval and she said “He wants to show you his room”.
We entered his room. It was fairly dark though there was no curtains on the window. He had a dresser and a race car bed. He jumped on his bed and we all stood around awkwardly. He went under his covers so I started to play peek aboo with him. He laughed a big belly laugh so we kept doing it. A. joined in and eventually I moved away and sat on the floor to let A. and C. bond a little. A few minutes later he emerged from his bed and brought over a small stuffed dog. “This is Bailey. Can I bring Bailey?” he asked a couple more times and I tried to explain that he wasn’t going anywhere. Then it dawned on me, he thought since we were his new forever family that he would leave with us that day. It made me tear up to think how scary that would be for any child and here he was being so brave. I had to leave the room for a moment to compose myself.
We spent the next hour just playing with his toys and being silly. He was sad when it was time to leave and it broke my heart to have to leave him, even if we were coming back the next day.
That day was 12 years ago. That little boy is now 6ft tall and 15 years old. Its been a rough ride but things have never been better. Our world changed that day, May 2, 2002. We became parents to an amazing boy. Happy Gotcha Day C.