Recalling that one year ago today, I was called to pick up my little boy!
It was 4:15 pm and I was told that there was an emergency placement situation for 5 month old boy. He was in danger and the parental rights had already been terminated and family reunification was not an option. DCFS wanted him in a home that would adopt him so that any other “ideas” the birth family had would be overridden by him being in a stable and suitable place.
I was told it was not 100% since they had to present 2 options but to drive to Torrence and along the way they would call to confirm – but get in the car, get my car seat from home and head down cause they couldn’t wait.
I was at work in Monrovia and I was shutting down my PC as I got the call. I ended the call with my backpack loaded and grabbed Patti by wrist and said something like “come with me -I have to talk to you and Robert” and I can tell you both at once. I looked like I was going to barf. (really, I did)
I regurgitated the call and stammered and I remember excitement, fear, peace, uncertainty, wonderment and dry mouth.
I hit the heart of the LA freeways at 5 PM. Around 5:15 PM my phone rang and the case worker (Kristi) asked my ETA. They wanted to know since I was the chosen parent and my little boy was waiting. Then they clarified that he was 14 month old and white and had a little health consideration. His “aunt” was there so could I please be considerate of her feelings as well.
5:50 PM pull into DCFS parking lot and sign papers on the trunk of my car as the security guard helps me put the car seat in. (who knew they welded loops on the car’s frame for that?!). Yes, signed papers sight unseen!
At 6 PM I walk into a room with a baby boy sitting on the floor, he looks at me and puts his hands together and up to be picked up. My biggest regret, to this day, was that I resisted that urge but because he was sitting between his relatives feet it felt like I was stealing.
I was introduced to her and she was a mess, just as I’d been told; very dramatic. She had filled out the form of likes and dislikes and she told me what she knew. He could eat solid food and was off the bottle. She gave me his blanket and explained it smelled like diesel since it had been in her truck.
Adam easily went with me and didn’t fuss much during the goodbye. She asked him to dance and he stuck out an arm. We was wide eyed and chubby – as you can see.
Adam had on his PJs and later learned he’d been on them all day. He came with 5 diapers and a pacifier. On the way to DCFS his family bought shoes and a sandals. (Over time I’d learned that all he had was those and maybe a few toys. He didn’t have a bed or crib and slept with his 6 year sister who cared for him as best she could.).
The next 72 hours I single handedly raised Target’s stock price by outfitting my house and Adam with every thing I’d hoped we needed. (I had bunk beds since I’d been planning for 3 – 4 year olds) So I needed it all.
I didn’t sleep, I researched toddler diets and schedules on line and tried to find my new normal.
A year later in still trying to cook better and the schedule is in place. . . The new normal is routine and mega multitasking. Nightly I attempt to recap my happier moment as a grounding point in my hectic pace to remind me that life us good and that I’m grateful.