I had never expected a boy, yet an awesome, super cute little boy is who I’m adopting on National Adoption Day Saturday! Ian (yes, I’m changing his name) arrived on my doorstep on November 7, 2014 as a 6 month old baby. Previously I had adopted three girls, all biological sisters, and was expecting to receive yet another biological sister when she was born. When that fell through, due to a kinship placement coming forward (a family member taking the baby) I was left with an empty crib and an empty place in my heart.
My agency called me several times asking me to take this little boy who needed to be disrupted from his current placement where he had resided since birth. Each time she called I said, “No.” I said ‘no’ for a variety of reasons: being a single mom I didn’t think I could parent a boy, I felt he needed a father figure, I have no interest in sports or other ‘boy activities’. There were practical reasons too such as having limited bedroom space, I was thinking how would we share if my other kids were girls, I also knew he was coming with some unknown special needs, at the same time wondering if I was equipped to deal with those when I already had 3 special needs kids…but in the end I took him.
At that point I had taken him out of obligation to help out my agency, I would simply provide him a home until a more suitable one could be found. When I laid eyes on him he was the cutest little thing ever; big blue eyes, a mo-hawk of blonde hair sticking out from beneath a cranial helmet, a smile from ear to ear, and a finger stuck firmly in his mouth. His case worker wasn’t joking when he said he had some issues. He needed therapy… physical, occupational, speech, feeding, and cognitive therapies due to being globally developmentally delayed, he needed multiple surgeries on his ears and digestive tract due to birth defects, he couldn’t hear for his first two years at all and had no speech whatsoever, he had strong autistic tendencies of hand flapping, rocking, hitting his head, and refusing to allow anyone to touch him. We attended therapy, sat by his bedside for surgeries, and all the while I knew that if the time came for adoption I would be finding him a ‘more suitable’ home. Seems crazy now!
In September 2015, I received a call from his case worker while at work informing me he’d been rushed to a trauma unit following a car accident with his parent aide at visitation. He had a head injury but she wasn’t sure how bad it was, I just needed to get to the hospital immediately. On the way to the hospital the hospital’s social worker called me trying to obtain medical information and I was crying so hard I could barely comprehend and answer her questions. When I arrived and saw him with a neck brace on, hooked up to various machines, and a big gash across his forehead, completely unconscious I knew that he was going nowhere! He was mine! If I was feeling this emotional about what was going on, I was obviously meant to be his mother.
Yes, the medical and educational problems are still there and are still extensive. I don’t believe we’re at the bottom of the issues yet, but we’ll get there. I’ll learn to love football, baseball, video games, and whatever he likes because he is my son! Adoption for him will be a chance to live in a family who loves him, advocates for him, and gives him the opportunity to be the best that he can be…and who knows…perhaps he’ll talk me into a little brother!
Dee Dee Laird