Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Future Son"

We attended an apple pressing party today where we picked, washed, ground and pressed apples into cider on beautiful Anderson Island. The wind had a bite, but the sky remained dry most of the day and the temperature was just right for the hard work of grinding apples. I do not know how many gallons we made, but we had two grinders and presses going. Mike, Junior and I attended as guests of Megan's husband as it was his relatives who have been meeting annually for decades to make apple cider. It was a wonderful day and Junior had a terrific time and is looking forward to returning next year. The adults praised him for the hard work he put into helping with making the cider.

Since this was a family reunion and not everyone knew how everyone was related, there were introductions. Our introductions were, "Megan is married to Jeff and Jocelyne is Megan's sister. Jeff is so-so's son ...." Junior then added he was our "future son". He used this term several times today when talking to people. It is the first time I have heard him use the term; it is not a term we use when we introduce him to others and we do not use it at home. When I introduce Junior, I use his name or "my son". We are referred to as his mom and dad by just about every body even though he calls us by our first names. It has only been two months since we have formed a family, but Junior is now referring to himself as our "future son". Eventually it will be just son and we will be mom and dad. I do not expect to work on this transition until after his birth parents either relinquish or their rights are terminated. I just hope that with Junior using the term "future son" he is beginning to feel we are his permanent home, there will be no more moves, he is safe, secure, loved.

Maybe, just maybe, next year when we return to Anderson Island to help make cider, we can introduce Junior as "our son".

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Parenthood Ponderings

We are moving into a more realistic pattern of life and out of the honeymoon stage. Junior has become comfortable enough with us to mildly challenge bed times or even lose his temper at school requiring a call home from the teacher. He is learning to take responsibility for his action. During all of this I keep thinking of Junior's birth parents and how they have made choices which led to them missing so many years of his life. I am working to develop a relationship with Junior's birth parents as they should still be connected to Junior, in whatever form that takes after the adoption.

We are working with Junior to help him understand how his early childhood is connected to living with us; there are connections missing, gaps in his understanding of how each phase is connected. Then we add puberty, teen hormones and the restructuring of the brain to complicate Junior's understanding. The kid has a lot going on so it is amazing he is doing so well. He is caring, can be considerate, is gentle, friendly, helpful, funny, curious and precious.

Many people have asked me how long it will be until we finalize the adoption. I expect it will be next September, maybe later before we get to finalize and make Junior our legal son. Regardless, he is our son, we are his parents. He may not call us Mom and Dad right now, but we are parents in every sense of the word. We make sure he attends school, we feed him, we take him to appointments, we take him to church, we are silly together, we discipline him, we fix his scraped knees, we get the calls from the school when he is disciplined, we receive the praise from others who tell us Junior is a great kid, and we rejoice in the wonderful being God has created we call Junior. Yes, I have a 3-inch binder with large quantities of information on Junior I have to maintain. Yes, we have month visits with caseworkers and with birth parents. Yes, we have to report Junior's happenings to his social worker. Yes, I have several forms I have to fill out each month. We knew this was required when we became foster parents. What we did not know was who our child was going to be. It has now been two months to the day (August 18) since Junior moved in; I will be forever grateful for the leap of faith we took when we said we would meet Junior on August 10. Even if finalization is nearly a year away, we are living as a family, enjoying our time together and helping Junior develop into a young man of faith, integrity and courage. I love our son!