The Pause

Two and a half weeks ago I broke one of my own rules and posted a sort of cryptic post on FB… I’m not proud but hey. It’s the world we live in.

We hit a snag. A hiccup, let’s say. Our home study was a few weeks behind us, the last step on the whole shebang, and I was expecting a call any day telling us to come pick up our license. Well, we got a call. That they were denying us a license at all. “We’re sure you’d be great foster parents, you’re just not a match for Arrow.”

Now. Since then, we have worked out a number of things with our agency and they have changed their stance to where they are holding our file and want to revisit it with us after a time. An undefined period of time. So it’s not a closed door, just a “pause.” Hopefully.

It’s just never what you expect, is it?

To be honest, we kind of know what happened, but we also kind of don’t. There are things that we could improve, as a married couple. This is not a surprise to us. It’s impossible to say if these things are “worth” holding up, or possibly outright refusing, our licensing. Who’s to say? Well, actually, we know who’s to say — a collection of people who have seen a few things about us on paper. I don’t know, I always thought we looked pretty good on paper.

We are pretty sure we know why this happened, though. And to me, if there’s a Why, there’s not much that’s impossible to handle. As long as I know why. There are parts of me that want to whine about Why do we have to fix this one common thing before we’re allowed to parent, when hundreds of millions of people become parents every day without any of this scrutiny or perfectionism but the truth is, in most (the best) moments I believe that God wants us to fix this, and he knows why we need to. He wants us to be best and to be like him. Not to worry about who else gets away with what, or who else can work on stuff without having their life held up – if we need this, then we need it. If we need it now, and in this way, that’s frustrating and a bit hurtful and frankly rather embarrassing, then I guess we need it.

I don’t like it, because dozens of y’all invested in major ways to make this happen. You watched my kid and gave him baths and fed us dinner so we could go to classes. You outfitted our nursery and wrote recommendation letters. You prayed and prayed and prayed. You listened to me go on about THE PROCESS for hours upon hours. You checked in, you asked, you cared.

I watched moms with little-littles and considered who I’d be better friends with when I added the same aged kids to our family, who we’d go on play dates with or invite over while our dude is at school. I scoped out the best baby play places and sorted about a dozen bins of 0-24-mo clothes. I stocked diapers and assembled cribs and even made my sad attempt at decorating. I researched pediatricians and MOPS groups. I peeked out the corner of my eye, not daring to actually SHOP, for baby/toddler Halloween costumes that could be made or bought in a pinch. I spent about a thousand hours talking to our little man about it and trying to prepare him as much as humanly possible.

I invested, and that hurts, and you invested, and that really hurts. We want you all in on it because that’s how we’re used to living our lives, but now I feel like I have to go and disappoint everyone.

I felt like that moreso the first few days before we talked things over with the agency and they decided to continue to consider us. I hope it’s not one of those things, like where you go on some kind of blind date and the guy’s like “You’re not really my type” and then you stick it out and kind of manage to convince them that you’re alright after all, but then you’re like “well maybe I don’t want a second date, because awkward, and also you kind of hurt my feelings, and also what were you so judgy about in the first place.”

I don’t want to be petty but I also don’t want the whole thing soured a bit with people who are in charge of placing kids in our home. They have been very gracious though and for reasons that are complicated* may have been doing the best they knew how. They have apologized where they were wrong and have extended grace and a continuation of dialogue. They have also been kind where we were wrong and reasonably understanding. Maybe we’ll come out of this with an even greater mutual respect than we would have otherwise. Who knows.

So it could be a couple months. Or it could be a lot more months than that.

I know of so many families who adopted (or attempted to adopt) internationally who met stuff like this all the time. Unexpected delays of weeks, months, years. I kind of thought we might be going the route that avoided that, to some extent. Maybe a delay on your FOREVER kid but a fairly straightforward road into the parenting scene. All anyone can talk about is the NEEEEEED. Oh, the neeeeeed. Kids spending the night in CPS offices and police stations. Group homes bursting at the seams. And here we are. An empty room, two empty beds.

It’s not my favorite. Most of the past couple of weeks I have felt hopeful and peaceful and sound about it, that I’m sure it’s for the best, in some way I can’t quite see. I still am sure it’s for the best. And as I likewise noted on facebook, there have been such moments of provision – a visit from GOOD good friends, a call from this or that person, a note from my grandmother, a visit home for mom’s birthday – that came at just the perfect times to keep us moving forward.

So that’s our situation. I asked you all not to ask and you were marvelous. I sincerely, genuinely hate doing that. But I could not have that conversation a hundred dozen times. It made me heart-full and heart-sick at the same time that it WOULD be dozens of times, that so many people care and ask and follow up. I love that normally. It’s the only way we can do this, normally. But you have all been wonderful in being there when I needed you and then allowing me to rudely shove you away for a minute. You were there and you were sweet but you respected what I asked. You are the best.


*Ok, no they’re not: There’s one random individual who we’ve never met before or since sent to our door with a questionnaire and zero context and a job description of “Figure out what might be wrong with these people” who is tasked with presenting the entirety of our human lives to the people in charge of deciding future temporary and permanent members of our family. It’s like a game of telephone. This unmarried 22-yr-old judges our marriage and parenting style and mental health in a matter of minutes, sends her interpretation to a room full of other people who have met us two times for two minutes, who then interpret her interpretation… I suppose it should be a miracle that we haven’t run into this before. Everyone from private agencies, CASA, contract home study workers, CPS, ad litems, everyone has liked us just a whole awful lot. Maybe we got too cocky. People are doing the best they can with what they have. But it’s a sad substitute for actual relationships with people who know people.

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