September 14 of 2009. That was the date. And although we had taken classes and waited for quite some time to be chosen as parents, we didn’t know what to expect.
When the children came, a brother and sister, it was the first time we had actually met them. They walked through our front door with their suitcases and their bags of toys, and we showed them the rooms that had been set up and all of the toys and gifts that we received through toddler showers hosted by our friends and my employer.
After a few hours, things were going well, [between us and the children] and the agency folks opted to dismiss themselves. I distinctly recall watching the front door close behind them and thinking to myself, “Well, what do we do now?” You have years with the child who you raise from infancy to learn what they like, what they’re afraid of, and just simply how they do things. But we found our way. There were some fumbles, and there were a lot of lucky guesses and after a few days it really didn’t feel weird at all.
One of the things that we had considered was how to have the children refer to us. Did we want Dad and Daddy, Dad and Pop, Daddy and Pop. We eventually settled on Daddy and Dada. What we did not realize was that the children had already decided how they would distinguish between us.
One evening during bath time we heard them countdown together and all of a sudden they called out, “Daddy with the hair!” So, I went to the bathroom to answer their question. Garfield came in later and we asked them how they would refer to him. Much to our amusement but less to our surprise, they called out, “Daddy with the bald head!” And those names stuck for a while before settling in on Daddy and Dada.
Nine months later we relocated from Virginia to Washington state in the Pacific Northwest. The kids adjusted just fine and met a lot of friends at their Montessori school which also brought us instant friendship with other parents. They have done everything that a child in this area could do; they’ve learned to swim, learned to ski, learned some golfing, and took cooking classes. As they mature, we travel to new places to expose them to different cultures and history. There have been a lot of funny stories, a lot of frustration, a lot of tears and a lot of laughs. Our 11th Famiversary will be here in a week and we can’t wait to see what happens in the next 11 years.
Connection and belonging are human needs. There are many children and youth in Virginia awaiting adoption. Learn more about Foster Care and Adoption. If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, send an email.
(return to Adoption Snapshots)