Sometimes I forget that Tortuga and Pollito have only been a part of my life for less than 2 1/2 years. I cannot imagine my life without them even though once in awhile I appreciate not having them around :-). I was recounting their adoption story the other day and realized it might be a good idea to post it here. Their adoption story really begins with Corazon's story because I tend to believe that the elements conspired to bring them into my life at the point at which they did.
Corazon's adoption (which I tell about here) had really brought to light so many of the challenges the foster/adoption process can bring. I had always known I wanted to have more than one child. In fact, I had resisted Corazon's initial placement only because I was more interested in sibling groups. I have been a strong proponent of keeping siblings together whenever possible (and not detrimental) and to be honest I don't always believe social service folks and therapists are unbiased about this. In our home state it always seemed that every child would do "better as an only" or "youngest" child and there seemed to be a clear bias against placing another kid in a home when there were "big" issues with others already in the house.
Even before Corazon's adoption became final I had begun conversations with the social worker about getting another child but this time I was holding out for a sibling group. The general rule was that another child would not be place in the home until 6 months following finalization of an adoption. For us that meant that the earliest another child could move into our home would be April 2007. I wasn't interested in waiting that long but had accepted that as the case. Sometime in mid-Summer 2006 Corazon's social worker mentioned a sibling group of 2 Cape Verdean boys who they were completing TPR (termination of parental rights) for in the next month and she thought they would be a good match. The kids had no known issues, had been in a stable foster home, and would be a good fit for us. Every few weeks she would update me about the boys' lives but none of us were in a rush since we hadn't finalized on Corazon. A few months later she informed me that a paternal relative had come forward and was interested in the boys and it looked like a good match. While disappointed for us I was happy for the boys to be kept within their families. The next day the supervisor called me to ask if I was interested in a different pair of Puerto Rican brothers (ages 7 and 2) who were being placed on Corazon's social worker's caseload that day. The social worker hadn't met them yet but the supervisor wondered if I might consider boys with "issues." Knowing my background in psychology, counseling and education made her think I could serve these boys who had suffered from severe neglect and the older one had lacked stability throughout his entire life. These boys were Pollito and Tortuga.
A few weeks later we finalized on Corazon and the social worker had met the boys so I got a little more information. She informed me that she wasn't sure the boys would be a good match because the older boy's issues were extensive and he would need lots of attention. Plus the toddler would also require attention given that he had just turned 2 and was showing signs of extensive developmental and language delays/issues. She thought they boys would be too much for me to handle as a single parent.
Throughout this time C. and I were already together but we were not "out" as a couple for mostly professional reasons. Beyond that, Corazon's adoption had been delayed so much that adding her to the homestudy had seemed to be asking for trouble(Corazon's attorney was pretty homophobic) and delays(additional paperwork) so I had proceeded with Corazon's adoption on my own. We had been waiting for her finalization before we updated my homestudy to include C. At that time we also planned to have C. move in even though she was already a part of the household.
I finalized on Corazon in early October 2006 and we were in no rush to proceed with the boys given the six month waiting period and our desire to update our homestudy to include C. If we chose to proceed with the boys we anticipated transitioning them the following summer 2007 so we wouldn't disrupt their current school and foster care situation. About 6 weeks later "all hell broke loose" in their foster home and Tortuga was moved to an RTC (residential treatment center) with a recommendation that he not return to that foster home. Suddenly, everyone was in a hurry to find out if I was still interested in the boys and we hastily set up a disclosure meeting for the days following Thanksgiving. Ready or not, we had some big decisions to make.