As you know, I have two wonderful – and unusual – daughters. Raine is 6 and Athena 4 ½. When Raine came to me, 3mths before her sister, I already had Sabrina* who was 15 (a glimpse into our life). Shortly after Athena’s arrival, 10yr old Megan* joined our family. All four girls were foster children stuck in the system. For two years we were a family of 5. Then Sabrina turned 18 and Megan decided she needed to move on (based on this incident).
For the first time ever, this past summer, it was just us 3 – Raine, Athena, and I. That was our family. Technically it had been since the adoption occurred. But we’d never really been on our own. It took us all a while to adjust (see Progress Report). Since then we’ve had lots of time on our own. Lately foster children have been coming and going at breakneck speed with long intervals in between.
Mother of two is not how I imagined my life. I’m the oldest of four and thought I’d have at least that many kids of my own. As much as I love my girls, when it’s just us our family doesn’t feel complete. Before Christmas my heart started expanding with the idea of adopting again.
Each night I try to spend a bit of time with my girls while tucking them in. They’re in separate rooms and really appreciate this one on one time at the end of their day. Not knowing my inner musing, one night at bedtime they both said, “When are the new adopted kids coming?” Raine went on to clarify, “I don’t mean more foster kids. I mean adopted kids who stay here forever and get to have the same last name as us.”
“Would you like to have more adopted kids in our family?” I asked both of them – separately.
“Yes!” was the uniform answer (given separately since this occurred in two separate conversations).
Seems their hearts are ready as well. Until this past Tuesday it remained a thought and topic of discussion in our own family and with a few friends.
I was nervous to meet with my adoption worker. After our initial meeting, she came to recognize the unusual skill set I bring to the table as an adoptive parent. She even testified at the hearing where I petitioned to keep Raine and Athena. But…..I am single with two sometimes high needs kids. Finances were of concern when I completed my first adoption homestudy. At that point I was working part time as well as fostering. Now I’m home, building Believe, and benefiting from a government subsidy.
These two factors, I was sure, would disqualify me. I chatted about the changes in our life since I’d last seen my adoption worker – Sabrina turning 18 and moving out, Megan moving on, homeschooling, etc.
“And you want to do it all again?” she asked.
“Yes.” I prayed she’s see through the facts into the truth of who I am and what I’m capable of.
“Ok,” she answered, passing me a stack of paperwork.
After she explained all that, came the question, “What’s your dream?”
“My real dream…..” (there’s always a safe answer, but I decided to be completely honest) “……is an older child – maybe 8yrs old – and a baby.”
“You’d like two more?” Instead of shock, her face was full of excitement. Even with the government initiated subsidy, people are reluctant to adopt older children and/or sibling groups.
“Raine and Athena have a shared history and biological connection. They’re very much aware of that,” I explained. “I think it would be ideal if we could add another sibling group. That way they’ll have that same connection.”
There are best practice guidelines for adoption. Within Ontario, one is preservation of birth order. So my adoption worker’s next query was along the lines of an older child adoption.
In no way is Raine accustomed to being an older child. In her birth family, she’s the fourth born. When she came to me, there was Sabrina and very soon Megan who were older. It’s been difficult for Raine to come to grips with being the oldest child in our family. In our discussions she repeatedly comments about the “new adopted kid” being older than her.
“And I’m the middle,” Athena often says. Even when she and Raine are lined up to get out of the van and she’s last in line. Athena, the baby of her birth family and here since she’s arrived, is convinced she’s a middle child.
My explanation about Raine opened the adoption worker’s eyes to our unusual family dynamics. Immediately her mind started racing with children about to be available for adoption. “Oh, but you’re not even ready yet,” she commented, pointing to all the paper work.
Not yet. But we will be soon enough.
I began blogging after I’d completed my adoption homestudy. And, as mentioned (Why Wonderfully Unusual?), Raine & Athena’s adoption was quite unusual. I’m hoping this one will be more typical and would like to walk you through the process. Thursdays will be my adoption update days. Be sure to follow Wonderfully Unusual so you don’t miss out on hearing about how this unfolds.
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