Saturday, November 1, 2008

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

I knew I wanted to adopt, for as long as I can remember. Our son was born in June 2006, we didn't even know it. Ironically we took our first step toward adoption exactly one month later by attending an open house presented by the department of children and families (known as DCF). Mateo was losing his first mother and we were filling out applications. Mateo was in the NICU recovering from complications and we were getting excited about the possibilities for our family.

Mateo entered his first foster home shortly after birth and stayed with this loving older woman for one year. Dave and I began taking the mandatory training classes with DCF and becoming licensed for a pre-adopt placement of a child (boy or girl) ages 0-3. Mateo was definitely born with his own unique personality. His first foster mother tells me he was always an anxious baby, preferring to meet his milestones on his own terms and often later than most his age. But he was happy in this first foster home. He had his first surgery to correct his cleft lip when he was 3 months old. His second surgery to repair the palate was at 9 months. At this time DCF knew that his case would be going toward termination and so they began looking for a pre-adoptive family for him. They chose the "Smith's".

This is when Mateo lost his second mom, right around his first birthday. The Smith's had an older adopted child and they ran a family farm. Mateo needed a lot of attention. He was grieving the loss of his foster mom and needed lots of patience and understanding. But they wouldn't change their lives to meet his needs. He wasn't doing well in this family and they were becoming frustrated with him. My son was so young and fragile but learning too quickly the world is unsafe and unreliable. He was sad, lonely, and shut-down. At the same time, we were painting a bedroom, setting up a crib, and buying stuffed animals to decorate. We had no idea the trials our son was facing.

The Smith's kept Mateo for 2.5 months and then called the social worker to have him removed. Their reason...he cried too much. So DCF called for an emergency meeting to find the next pre-adoptive family for him. I got a phone call about this meeting from my support worker but was told it hadn't been decided yet which family was the right family for Mateo. But we learned a bit about him, like his age (14 months), his medical history, and his name, which was Aurelio (more on the name change later). As soon as I heard about him, I was in love. We had a whole weekend to wait to find out if we were chosen to be his family. Of course, my emotions were like a roller coaster. I tried not to get too attached but couldn't help imagining the possibilities. I also tried to keep this between Dave and I until we knew for sure, but I just couldn't hold it in. I told my best friend and my mom, who were equally as excited.

The social worker called the following week to tell me they picked someone else. I was heartbroken. I tried to pretend that everything was okay, there would be another child for us, but I couldn't stop thinking about him. But we had to move on, so to take our minds off it we bought a brand new expensive couch to replace our old one thinking it would be a long wait until we had a child. Ironically, the very day after purchasing our couch, my support worker called and said exactly these words, "how would you like a baby on Wednesday?" Today was Monday. I didn't ask any questions, I just said "yes!" It was our little boy from the previous weekend. He was meant to be ours after all! The family they had chosen before us had recently moved and their new home wasn't licensed yet. We were the runner up. I should probably have been offended we were only 2nd place but I didn't even care. We had a little boy! And he was coming in two days....

Emergency trip to Babies 'R Us!!!!

First time we saw our son, a photo from his social worker
I can remember an overwhelming feeling of peace
coming over me when I saw his picture,
that he was mine and I would love him be continued....


JonesEthiopia said...

what a sweet story! Brings tears to my eyes... Isn't it amazing how adoption places the child who was ALWAYS meant to be yours even if it seems like it was impossible? I'm in awe of it every time I hear a story like yours. Can't wait to hear what happens next!

Peace said...

Waiting for the next segment. Can't wait.


Rachel said...

Oh! how sweet. I am really excited to hear your story. I, too, have always wanted to adopt. I also want to work in the field when Elizabeth gets a little older so don't skimp on the details!

linde and josh said...

wow, such an awesome story. i am holding back the tears. Josh and I just started working in a children's home a couple months ago and just hearing your story has reminded me of why i'm doing this job. and to be totally honest with you, i needed reminded of that today. so, thank you! Mateo is one lucky boy:)