The phone rang about 2 on Thursday afternoon, just as I was about to settle down with my book draft for a long, dull afternoon of revisions. If I was implicitly fantasizing about something to get our adrenaline pumping, I got it. Our social worker called and asked if we would consider taking a 17 month old boy with severe speech delays and special needs. Oh, we’d need to come pick him up downtown before 4:30.
Yikes. My first inclination was to say “no” since we’ve wanted to take a sibling group, but there was something about this that just felt right to both Eric and I. We had planned to close our home to placements for am month starting the previous week, due to my ASPO travel and book deadline, but my 9 year old son SImon had asked us not to. While discussing the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a week long festival in which we eat and sometimes sleep outdoors in a sukkah, an open hut, both as a harvest celebration and also to remind ourselves of the vulnerability of being homeless, Simon pointed out that it seemed wrong for us to close our home to foster children during a holiday in which we remember being without shelter. Arriving on the last day of the holiday, this little boy seemed like something we were waiting for. We talked it over for a minute, and said yes.
It would turn out that almost everything we were told about him was wrong, other than that he was male . After packing baby things to take to the office to pick him up, we were called our our way to the office with the sheepish note that the worker had misread his birthdate and that M. was actually 2 1/2. We were told he had no language, just grunting and pointing, but the first word we heard as Asher (my youngest, who has been dying to be a big brother) got off the elevator was “Mine!” Most of the other details would turn out to be wrong too – but M. has turned out to be very right.
Life has been very crazy – besides the legal and logistical details of integrating a two year old into the family with visitation, medical appointments, etc… he arrived about 2 hours before the beginning of Simchat Torah services (one of the two biggest parties of the year at our synagogue), and so we took him with us (he had a great time), and got home only to spend the next two days preparing for a gigantic, forty-plus person party at our place, including a weekend with 16 people sharing the house, including four toddlers . It was awesome, and M. has handled it all with remarkable aplomb, fitting in very gracefully to our chaotic life. When asked how he was handling the new brother, Simon rolled his eyes and said, “Look, yesterday I had a whole bunch of little brothers. Today I have a whole bunch of little brothers. It just isn’t that different, Mom.”
The most likely scenario is that M. will go home to one of his parents at some point – until late yesterday we had thought it might be quite soon, but now it looks like it may be a while. In the meantime, however, we’re just enjoying him and settling into a routine. More details to come as things stabilize – or not, since of course, one week for today I leave for ASPO-USA’s annual conference in DC (Eric will have the kids, with help from Grandparents while he’s working). Stability? What’s that?
I should be back blogging, though, in a day or two. Stay tuned!