Saturday, October 23, 2010

I want to keep Helen

I told Roland that. He agreed.

When I got her on Friday and found out that I was supposed to drop her off at school so that she could be picked up by a social worker and be taken to some as yet unknown place, I started feeling mighty protective, even possessive. When I told Roland what was going on and he responded "she's family" and started trying to figure out how fix the basement so it would be comfortable for three young men, well, the train had left the station. I found myself thinking things like, "Damn it, she's part of our family, she shouldn't have to go live with some foster family she hasn't even met!"

So I am going to tell her agency worker, who is conveniently the same person who was Gary's worker, that we want her back. I will propose that she spend at least one weekend a month with us through the school year and then transition to us with the goal of being adopted.

I told Roland that it is not unreasonable for me to want one girl.

Of course it isn't just our decision. The social workers have some say in this, but it is her life and she gets to decide. Though I have told her things like, "we are your family and you will always have a place" I haven't said, "We are going to talk to your social worker about adopting you." Partly because I want to support her transition to this home, and because I figure her life is too chaotic right now for her to think objectively about what she wants.

I don't know what the social workers will want to do, but I can't imagine that they wouldn't ultimately agree that it is best if Gary and Helen end up in the same family.

Gary seems to have deeply ambivalent feelings. Before she came over, he was not as positive as everyone else about her new home. I told him that it was in her school district and he responded, "you've heard of CARS, right?" I said, "Remember, they are LDS and it would be really good for Helen to be able to actually live in an LDS family." He looked at me like I was exceptionally stupid, pointed out the kitchen window to the building on the other side of the alley, "That is an LDS stake, RIGHT NEXT to us."* I told him that living next to a stake was not the same thing as getting to practice your religion with your family. He started talking about why he dislikes organized religion, which I figured was his way of moving away from the topic.

Today his girlfriend came over and he didn't even let her know that Helen was here. He did not give me a happy look when I told her and then introduced her to Helen. Gary has a lot of complicated feelings surrounding his sister, and sometimes he needs to protect space.

Now just to be clear, I am not averse to Helen moving in here even immediately. I just know that I don't get to make the decisions.

I guess I'm protecting my heart too.

Roland, as I mentioned, has been brainstorming what to do about the rec room. He measured it and told me that he thought he would build a wall to separate it into a small TV room and a bedroom. I countered that we won't actually need that many bedrooms all the time and we should look at various room dividers so that one or more boys can have a degree of privacy when they are all home. At the moment we have agreed that he will design something study, but removable. I have made it clear that I get to give approval (or not) over plans he makes, but right now I am open to him putting hooks or some other anchoring system in the ceiling.

*I have avoided making mention of the number of LDS churches in the area because it is a pretty big geographical hint, but I've decided not to worry about that any more. You will probably guess what part of the country I am in, but you will likely get the state wrong. Oh, though I've said I don't mind you guessing, I won't leave up comments that speculate.


  1. Now why does it not surprise me that you want to adopt her? Go for it.

  2. My thought when you mentioned LDS yesterday was how do you reconcile their stance on homosexuality with your kids who may be gay and/or LDS and/or Helen? Or I guess it is any religion that sees homosexuality as a sin.

  3. Suzy,

    The thing to remember is that the LDS church, like most churches, are composed of people with differing views. I see a lot of similarities between the Roman Catholics and LDS. Both seem to have a significant number of people who are committed to their tradition while disagreeing with it. While those of us from the protestant tradition tend to start a new denomination whenever we quarrel.

    So I guess I don't reconcile it. It isn't my job. People know I have gay kids. If that bothers them then they don't hang out with us. Helen knows that three of our sons are gay. That hasn't seemed to be an issue for her.

    If it becomes an issue for her, it is hers not mine.


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