This time last year
I remember you, March-almost-April. I remember this time last year. Our home, with walls of windows, reminds me that spring is coming. The sun is positioning itself so that it warms my face in the stairwell, highlights the dancing dust in the entry way, needs me to draw the blinds at the breakfast table. This time last year, whilst I drew up garden plans and ached as I do for spring, I remember how much I wondered of what was to come. We were starting to look at child-profiles for adoption. I specifically recall imagining buying new rain-boots for new tiny feet to fill; would we have a new son or daughter this Spring? Summer?
April passed. Cora turned 5. California was visited. Summer bore down upon us. Fireworks were watched. Quinn turned 4. I remember that each memory, small or big, passed with me wondering 'will this look different next year?' or 'how long do I have left with my family looking just. like. this.' Because I loved it just the way it was, and longed to love it the way it would grow to be.
That's exactly what concurrent foster care is. Loving the precious, fleeting and uncertain moments that you have with the children in your home. Meanwhile, you're wondering 'Is this the only birthday we'll celebrate with him/her' or 'If we have to say goodbye, will I ever be able to look at the pictures of these times and not fall apart?' or 'How many tomorrows do we have?'
We had no intention of doing concurrent planning. What is concurrent planning? Most people know that you can be a foster parent and they also know that you can adopt children whose parents have lost their parental rights, and are just 'waiting' in foster care. Appropriately, and sadly, they are called the waiting children. What some people aren't aware of is the third option - to be a family licensed for foster care, whom is looking to do foster care for children who are likely to become available for adoption.
The concurrent plans, then, are: Plan that they will be yours and plan that they won't.
If that sentence isn't enough to demonstrate the incredible tightrope that your heart must walk in this process, come live in my home for a few weeks. It's the most beautifully-exciting, heartbreakingly-sad love story we could be asked to be a part of.
After summer had passed and we were seemingly no closer to our adopted child, we got a few phone calls about concurrent care. Evidently our family's profile had been passed around with some social workers in a nearby county, and the director of concurrent planning reached out to ask us to completely turn our adoption expectations upside down. It was on that day in a new October that we said yes to welcoming three brothers into our home.
This time last year. <Insert chuckle here>. I thought I was full. I thought we were strong then. I thought life was beautiful. But now, oh, now my cup overflows. It's so hard, but so beautiful.
Most of our community wasn't told that we were planning on being an adoptive resource for these boys. That's a personal choice that every concurrent family must make. Mostly, we told our bio-kids and friends 'these brothers need a home, and we will be that home for as long as they need one.' That remains true.
I've learned since last year that waiting will stretch you and make you more capable than you could have imagined. I've seen that we can love completely, even when nothing is completely certain. This journey is exactly what it needed to be - that I believe.