The message is left giving you a few details to help you make a quick yes or no, gender and age is given. You call back prepared to answer, you learn not to explain yourself. You learn to know what your families needs are and what fits best, learning to decipher quickly how to answer and what to say, knowing what behaviors you can “deal” with.
If at first pass, the information you have collected seems like a good fit, you ask for more. Receiving the next level of information, you decide if you can handle the terms. Deciding if this is a good fit for you family. You decide in a matter of moments a decision can and will forever change the course of your life. Usually at some point you have a flicker of a thought where you ask yourself can I do this? In all reality are any of us ever ready? Sometimes the best thing you can do is say yes and see what happens.
The worker quickly goes through a list of behaviors and gives you an overview of their story. It is there in that moment you begin to imagine just what these little eyes have seen and ears have heard. Your broken heart breaks a bit more.
A yes means, room rearrangements, clothing hunts, changes, new behaviors and needs. A no leaves you heartbroken and wondering if you made the right decision, recognizing no child deserves that. I have said yes several times and the kiddos never make it into our home, they are picked up by a relative or someone else who called the matching agency back 1 minute sooner than you.
Days go by and you don’t get a call. Sometimes you get three calls in one day. Sometimes it’s the age of the children, the needs of a child or sometimes in your gut it just doesn’t feel settled. Sometimes your heart longs for the call and breaks when the age isn’t the right fit. Sometimes you get two calls for the same group of kiddos week after week, knowing they are being bounced around.
The thing that is surprising to me is how much weight the no’s have. You never quite shake the desire and want to help them all. Stepping into this world shows you things you only had heard about in the news, the victims of those new stories suddenly begin sleeping in your home. Caring about one suddenly starts to the slippery slope of caring for them all. A large burden at times to carry, you never quite get over them.
There is joy in the yeses, ache in the silence and heft in the noes. Each one makes you long for the next, ache for the need and question your choices. I have learned after 2 yeses and 13 noes that I must wait for the right fit.
Then comes the call, when you get it you know it’s right. You barely hesitate and you think today is the day that everything changes. You get off of the phone and begin working out the plans.
You figure out how to continue doing life just now with another little human. Business as usual, you host dinners and attend Christmas parties. You keep going, one day at a time. Suddenly you realize the little stranger in your home is a part of you and you wonder what was life like before them.