Saturday, May 22, 2010

Adoption Update

The adoption worker called on Monday to tell me that it had been decided that they could use our foster care home study for the adoption. I was of course very excited...right up until she said, "They decided that if you've been licensed with us once, that is enough."

Then I had to explain to her that we had never been licensed with the state, but only by the private agency. So yesterday the social worker who works with a local adoption agency called and she is coming out Wednesday for the first appointment for the home study.

I did check out the agency page though. It looks like facilitate a lot of foster-care adoptions. They have a program for international adoption that actually requires people to take classes on childhood trauma, unlike the OTHER local agency that doesn't. Of course, it is the one everyone uses. They have a page about domestic infant adoption, but it is almost blank and they are not accepting applications from prospective adoptive parents. I am choosing to believe that it is because they apparently have ethical standards that make it difficult for them to compete with the other agency.

I have no idea how long it will take her to write the home study. Given that we are not needing it to be matched with kids already in the system, I am hoping she will be willing to do it quickly. She doesn't have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what sort of kid we can parent. Gary is doing well here and we just need the study done so we can adopt him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Roland feels it too

I'm not the only one who is feeling like a parent.

Last night Roland came into the bedroom and said to me, "Have you heard our son's new career plan?"

"You mean how he isn't going to be an emergency room nurse but instead is going to study music and be famous at something?"


And we grinned at each other.

Being his mom ...

Kids can have more than one mom and one dad, more than one family. And one of Gary's moms is me.


About a week ago Gary was talking to me his MMA classes and how much one instructor means to him. He, the instructor, also worked at the group home. He has been part of Gary's life for longer than I have. Gary said that he almost seemed like his father. Then he was a bit uncomfortable and said, "You know that I really like you guys, and I am glad about the adoption and all. I just don't feel that way about you."

I nodded and said I understood, but part of me wanted to say, "This is what my being your mother feels like." I didn't though. Gary needs to classify us as "the people who are adopting him but aren't really his parents," and that is okay with me. I think about David's journey, about how he only seemed to able to let himself get emotionally close after he moved out. I think about how the adoption is resulting in both David and Evan calling and dropping by more often. I think about the various ways that I have felt about my mother over the years and well...

...I feel like he has accepted me as his real mother.

I feel affirmed as his mother every time he interrupts my reading to talk about school, or what career path he is considering this week, or what he wants to do this summer. He no longer asks me if I have time to talk to him, he just says something like, "Yondalla, I think this summer I want to..." He knows I will put down my book and give him my attention. He re-tells me the same thing, goes over the same ground, and I remember doing the same thing to my mother and how she always just sat down and listened. She often didn't say much, but she would listen until I ran out of air, no matter how many times I wanted to talk about the same thing. So I sit there, and listen, and smile at how confident he has become. He knows I'm interested. I'm his mom.

I feel affirmed as his mother every time he asks me, without advance planning, if I will take him to or from his girlfriend's house. As it is almost 25 minutes each way, this is no small task. If I complain about the distance he says, "Well, if I had a driver's license you wouldn't have to be driving me around all the time."

I feel affirmed as his mother when he almost rolls his eyes and says, "I KNOW I told you about the choir concert tonight. Like a week ago! I have to be there at 6, but you don't have to until 6:30." Of course we want to hear him sing. We are his parents.

I feel affirmed when instead of doing whatever I ask him to do he sometimes says, "I did it last time! It's BRIAN's turn."

I know this might all seem strange because it may seem like I am happy when I am being taken advantage of. It's not like that. He is not an insensitive or selfish person. He is responsible, considerate, and kind. When he moved in he was always responsible, considerate and kind. When he moved in he acted like a guest who might out stay his welcome.

I even feel like his mom when he tells people that I am not like a real mom because I let him "do whatever I wants." I interject that it only seems that way because everything he wants to do is within the rules, but he insists, it's different. I'm not always on his case about everything. I'm not authoritarian like that. "You're just ... you know ... you. If I did something that you didn't like would you ground me for a week?"

"No. I would probably just talk to you about what happened. I expect that you would have had a good reason for whatever happened."

"SEE? You don't treat me like a little kid. It's almost like we're roommates. Well, not really, but you know."

"We let you make a lot of your own decisions."

"Exactly." He smiles, having proved his point. I don't act the way he pictures real mother acting, but he likes me.

On the other hand, I am acting the way I act as a mother, and he accepts it with a confidence that he didn't used to have. He knows he belongs. He knows he can count on us.

And all of this coalesced for me last week when he said, "Okay, you're going to be happy about this. I've decided that in this economy I'm not going to be able to move out when I wanted. So I'm going to go to the charter school all year next year and graduate in the spring. You get to keep me a whole year."

And when I jumped up to hug him and tell him how thrilled I was, he smiled, rolled his eyes and said, "I knew you would act like that."

Friday, May 07, 2010

Maybe we're both crazy

Okay, so Gary has been complaining about his tonsils. This annoys me, not because I doubt him, but because I have twice taken him to see the physician about tonsillitis. He has been given antibiotics, insisted he could and would self-administer, and then didn't. He got better both times.

It's like he thinks seeing a physician is a necessary step in the healing process.

This morning though he woke me up to see if I could take him to the hospital right away. Why? Was it because he was raging with fever? So dehydrated he couldn't stand?

No. He didn't want to make an appointment or go to the walk-in in the afternoon (after my classes are done) because it would interfere with his preparation for the prom tonight.

***Here we stop for a minute for you to all imagine my apoplectic moment while I tried to find polite words to respond to him.***

I did tell him, gently, that his going to prom was a lower priority for me than my teaching my classes and I would take him in the afternoon. He told me that he couldn't breathe. I pointed out that if he was talking, he was breathing. He said he couldn't swallow water. I told him he would not die of dehydration before I got him in.

Then he asked, seriously, if I thought he should go to school. He could, and then I could pick him up when he had the appointment.

This is why teenagers can't be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. The symptoms thereof are "situation normal."

Okay, let me back up. He has been doing yard work weekends for a month to earn the money for prom. It is important to him. I get that.

I'm still proud I didn't say anything sarcastic this morning.

I also told him that I would dispense any medications he was prescribed, and that if he were younger I would forbid him going to the prom.


And last night we had a wonderful conversation. It started with him asking if he could spend the night at his date's house after the prom. Her mother had already offered. He said, "And yes, I PROMISE." The last time the mom invited him to stay I made him process in front of her that he would stay in the guest room all night and not permit the girlfriend to enter his room even if she wanted to. The mother asked if I thought that was necessary.

Anyway, so last evening he was assuring me that nothing would happen. Then he told me that girlfriend's mother had told girlfriend that if she ever decides to become "active" they should talk and the mom would get the girl on you-know-what. He didn't think that the girlfriend would though. Probably her mother would go nuts and forbid them to see each other.

I took deep breaths and told him that the girlfriend should talk to her, and that the conversation would be easier when she wasn't planning on being active any time soon. Maybe she could even tell her mom she needed to be on it because of irregular cycles or something. Gary debated this with me for a while, assuring me that they weren't doing anything and that telling her mother was a bad idea.

I said, "I said that it was important for her to be prepared, even if she wasn't planning on doing anything."

He responded, "What's with you guys and PLANNING. You don't PLAN these things. Teenagers go with the flow."

I put my head in my hands then looked at him. He looked back. Then he laughed, "Oh MY G-D! I just realized what I said. That's SO FUNNY!" He couldn't stop laughing and finally had to tell Brian and Roland what hilarious thing had just happened.

I told him that the girlfriend had one week to talk to her mom before I did.


He also said that he was realizing that he probably wasn't going to be able to move out when he originally planned and would likely live at home for another year. I said good and he told me not to get my hopes up. If he could afford to move out earlier, he would.

This made me happy.

I was happy that he might stay, happy that he was not worried about being a burden, that he was confident that we WANTED him to stay.

Really happy.

Which amazes me because at the same time I wanted to shake some sense into him ... about the girl thing, not the living-at-home thing.

Really, there is something fundamentally irrational about parenting.