This little Turkey is our Bubba. We brought him home in May 2007 and it was such a joyous experience.
We adopted Bubba through the State and it was a totally different experience than Miss Lou Lou’s adoption since we did a private adoption agency. Bubba was 13 months old when we brought him home and he was a wobbly walking toddler that was into anything and everything. His precious chubby cheeks were so munch-able and I love love giving my babies kisses, Bubba was no exception.
For those of you have followed a bit of my essays on our adoption story, adopting Bubba was every bit as emotional, stressful, and exciting as Lou Lou’s.
We went through a lot of tears, and a million papers and binders to look through to choose our child.
First of all, we started the process after feeling we should do foster care (Ok, foster care is a whole 1000 page essay/book in itself…to come another day).
We had about 10 children arrive in 2 years, I count 10 of them, even though a couple of the children returned to us 2 to 3 times. They were my babies and I tried so hard to teach them and help them and learn and work through their attachment issues. It was an eye opening experience that I don’t know if I would truly choose to do again. (ok, enough about foster care for now).
In 2006 we started the adoption process. We had been trying to adopt through the state for 2 years. We searched and searched, prayed and stewed, on and off throughout those years through about a million four inch binders with piles upon piles of pages of babies and children and multiple siblings that were available for adoption.
We wanted a boy, preferably black so that Lou Lou would identify with another child that looked like her.
When you adopt through the state where we live, you have the
dreaded opportunity to be an incalculable number of potential parents/families to adopt these children. It all starts with our social worker, her name was Jeanine and she was a gem. From the very beginning she worked with us and helped answer questions, soothe our anxiety, and answer more questions whenever we needed her. She was overworked, under paid, and truly not in it for the money or the fame. She seemed to be in it for the children and families. These types of social workers are very hard to find, in our experience anyway.
After looking through the available children in those binders, you choose a few children that you are interested in learning more about. Our social worker would then email the child’s social worker with our information & Home Study to see if we would be a good fit for that child. The first process of being chosen, is that we would go against 2 other families to meet with a committee to decide the child’s and our families fate.
One in three. 33% chance. Odd’s weren’t the best, but we felt positive and hopeful, but better than the 18% chance of our fertility working years before. We prayed to know if we should adopt him, and that we might be chosen to add him to our family.
We put our names in for quite a few children. We weren’t chosen then and weren’t quite a good fit for those children.
Then came Keith.
I looked at Keith’s picture and his information on his paperwork, and I tried to imagine him in our family. At the time, we were hopefully optimistic, and like the cases before, we didn’t think anything would come of adopting him.
Keith was about 2, he was black and truly adorable.
We received a call from Jeanine about a week after submitting our home study. It was exciting.
Jeanine went to the committee meeting later in the month at a state DHS office about 5 hours from our small town. She presented our information and home study, trying to “sell us” to the committee in every possible positive way. We tried to help sell us by sending Jeanine with a family scrapbook we had put together for the committee to see us and get to know us better. We were more than just pictures and words on a page and we tried our best to share our story the best way we knew how.
The next day, she called me to tell me the good news. Joyful news in fact.
We had been chosen to adopt Keith. We would have five days to look over his full file and decide if it was truly something we would be willing to do. He was drug affected and had a few other medical issues, but I was happy. I felt anxiously excited and called Ken and all of our family that we had been chosen and could possibly bring Keith home in a week.
And that’s when the obstacles and confusion arrived.
We currently had our 4 year old Lou Lou, and another foster child was on her third visit to our home in as little as 18 months. I didn’t want this little girl to have to go to another foster home, so we informed our worker that we really wanted to have this little girl live with us during our transition to adopt Keith until she could transition home, or to another home. We knew that we could pick up Keith within a week, and that it truly would be difficult to find a willing foster home that could take on the little girl who had such incredible attachment issues.
I expected that the social workers would be fine with our decision to keep our foster daughter along with adding Keith to our home. The state DHS units encourage adoptive families to do foster care so they can get a glimpse into what they would be experiencing with their potential child(ren).
Keith’s social worker called me the next day. She told me that she wouldn’t allow us to have Keith in our home until our foster daughter was placed in another home.
I was so upset. I felt like they were punishing us for thinking of our foster daughter’s needs after encouraging us to foster in the first place.
So we prayed…just like we always have. We try to pray daily for inspiration and guidance for that day and for the struggles we are facing.
Adopting Keith was no exception.
We prayed, fervently hoping and expecting the answer our hearts desired. Lou Lou was getting older and we wanted our children to be closer in age so they could grow up together.
Nevertheless, the more we prayed, the more confused we felt. The warm comforting answer we were seeking didn’t come. Instead confusion and frustration with Keith’s social worker and the whole experience didn’t feel right.
My heart sank and I cried. We discussed our confusion with each other and our extended family.
We decided to tell the agency we wouldn’t be adopting Keith.
After trying and waiting so long to add a Son to our family, I never imagined we would be denying and turning away a child that we had been approved to adopt by the proper channels.
But they were the proper channels in an earthly view of things, but the divine Heavenly proper channel told us No. Not this child.
Making the phone call to turn away Keith as our Son was one of the hardest phone call’s I have ever made. Our worker was shocked and surprised at the news. I felt really horrible that we had wasted her time in presenting us to the committee. How do you explain to someone who might possibly not believe in God or even Jesus Christ or prayer, that you didn’t feel right about adopting a child you had been accepted to adopt? I tried to explain we prayed about him and didn’t feel he should be a part of our family. I think Jeanine tried to understand.
Jeanine asked me a week later if we wanted to look at the huge binders again to start the process over.
I told her I didn’t think my heart could handle it at the time. I needed to take a few months to decide if we would proceed or give up altogether.
I am anything but a wimp…and I wasn’t ready to throw up my hands and walk away from a future Son.
I wanted Ken to have a Son. He was so close to his Dad and I wanted our Son to experience that same bond with his Dad.
So I waited trying to get up the courage to look through the binders. November turned up unexpectedly and changes occurred. Our Foster daughter’s 3 DAY OLD baby brother came to stay with us the day before Thanksgiving. I loved having that baby in our home. His precious face, how the baby lotion smelled on his skin after his bath. I loved rocking and cooing and spending time with him.
He only stayed with us for 4 days. It was so heart wrenching to give him back to the social worker to drive him and his sister to their sweet Momma who was in rehab.
I bawled and sobbed when they drove away. I imagined I was experiencing maybe a sliver of their Momma’s heart ache when she lost him after giving birth because of her unsafe conditions at the time.
December and Christmas arrived. Our Foster daughter brought us lice on Christmas Eve and returned to visit her Momma in rehab for the weekend.
On Christmas eve night around 11 pm, another DHS social worker called asking if we could take in a little girl. She had apparently been in a car with a drunk man (who was friends of her Mom). The man had been pulled over and sent to jail. This little girl didn’t have a place to go, her Mom would lose custody temporarily for unsafe conditions.
Of course I couldn’t turn this precious child away.
There is always room in our Inn.
She couldn’t tell us her name. This had a hard time sleeping that night and wouldn’t sleep in our only empty bed, which was a crib for our not yet chosen Son. So I rocked her as the Christmas lights glimmered. I sang to her, “How I love my Pretty Baby”, and I am a Child of God.” She soon stopped feeling fearful of her new foreign environment and fell asleep on the couch. During that weekend, we called her “Angel”. We did however run into one of the Police officers who had pulled the man in the car over and found her in the backseat. He recognized her in the shopping cart at the store we were at. He told us her name, which was beautiful, but somehow she would always be my “Angel”.
Before we knew it February arrived. After experiencing such an emotional, cathartic holiday season, I realized my heart was once again ready to invade and combat those giant binders.
“Operation::Find Our Son” was a go.
Jeanine dropped the stack of binders off one day while Ken was at work. Lou Lou and I turned page after page after page. I can’t remember how many binders we looked through. The pages were too numerous to count and I had chosen a couple children and flagged them with post-it notes as possibilities to show Ken when he returned.
And then I saw him. The Holy Spirit witnessed to me at that very moment that this little baby would be my baby!
His sweet caramel skin and chubby cheeks were beyond precious. He had the most adorable afro I had ever seen on a little munchkin.
My heart soared, warmed, and flooded with emotion. After searching, working, praying, fasting, and waiting…I KNEW that this little boy was OUR BOY.
How could you not love that baby? Look at his baby teeth! Oh my, I still love to look at that baby picture because I feel the same emotions I felt on that day. I’m so truly blessed!
And finally began our journey to bring Bubba home.
(Part 2 coming soon)