The first 24 hours

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It has now been close to 24 hours since our newest family member has moved in. Yesterday went very well and Ozzie is now settled in. Last year when I began blogging about Tyler’s adoption he had already been a part of our family for a month when I began this blog so I didn’t share about his move in day. I thought I’d give you a look into the process of bringing a child into your home and what is involved. Here is an inside look on the last 24 hours…

Wednesday night at our home was spent “nesting.” Having had only a days notice of his arrival left us scrambling to prepare our home and Rusty’s room for Ozzie’s arrival. The biggest chore was organizing and clearing space in Rusty’s drawers and shelves for Ozzie’s things. While we were preparing things at our end Ozzie was getting the news he was moving at his end. The social workers went over to talk to Ozzie and Zoey on Wednesday night. The visit was an emotional one with many tears as Zoey was told that Ozzie was going to be moving in with us but she wasn’t. There were tears as Ozzie found out that he would be leaving his school, his friends and his sister. There was also great excitement on Ozzie’s part about moving in with us. At this point Ozzie is not being told that we are adopting him. This is the judge’s decision not ours. The judge is nervous that this may not work out after many failed placements. He doesn’t want Ozzie disappointed again so Ozzie has been told this is a foster placement with the possibility of adoption. Ozzie will be told at the next court hearing that we are adopting him. It all seems so silly to me because in my heart he is already ours but I suppose the judge is more cautious due to all the failed placements he has seen over the years. The process of adopting is not a fast one anyway but this process could take even longer than typical with Ozzie’s actual adoption about 6-9 months away.

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Thursday morning was spent trying to get some schoolwork done before Ozzie’s arrival at noon. Molly took some time to decorate the chalkboard outside with a welcome sign for Ozzie. While we were eagerly waiting at our end Ozzie was having a busy morning at his end. The social worker picked up Ozzie in the morning. She took him first to his school so he could pick up his things as well as say goodbye to his teacher and friends. She then drove him to the hospital to get his placement physical before he came to our house. We got a call at 11:30am that they were on their way. I called Toby, who was at work, and let him know that he needed to head home. We both had to be at home when Ozzie arrived to sign paperwork.

Ozzie pulled in a little after noon. He came running in the house and yelled, “I’m going to live with you now and maybe someday you can adopt me! I’m so happy. It was always my dream that I’d live with you forever!”

He then ran back outside to check out the welcome sign. I watched from the window as he added the word “Home” between “Welcome” and “Ozzie.”

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We carried in his boxes of clothes and toys as he carried in a plate of cupcakes that he made for us. They each had a “O” made from icing on top. “Do you know what the O stands for?” Ozzie asked, “It stands for Ozzie, because I’m your new kid!”

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The kids ran off to play while Toby and I sat down with the two social workers to fill out a tall stack of paperwork. The process of going over all the rules and regulations took about an hour and the realization that we were stepping back into the system hit me. I forgot all the red tape, rules, visits and paperwork that comes with having a pre-adoptive placement.

Jody Dyer had it right when she said,

“Everything about the adoption process is hard except for loving the child.”

After we were done with the paperwork the social workers said goodbye to Ozzie and left. We headed into Rusty/Ozzie’s room and began the laborious task of taking inventory all of Ozzie’s clothing and belongings (Paperwork required by the county) and putting them away. Molly, my little organizer, jumped into this task and enthusiastically helped me get Ozzie settled.

Molly organizing and taking inventory.

Molly organizing and taking inventory.

The rest of the evening was spent getting Ozzie settled. As we prepared for bed I could see that he was struggling a bit. He was stalling as we prepared for bed and as I went in to tuck him in I could see he wanted to talk.

“Are you ok, Ozzie? I asked.

“I guess,” he answered. “I just feel mixed up. I am starting a new life and am really happy but I also feel sad and miss my old home.”

We sat and talked for a while. I told him it was ok to feel happy and sad at the same time…that is was ok to be excited about the future but also sad about leaving certain things behind.  I learned, when we went through the adoption process with Tyler, that there is a grieving process that must take place before the future can be embraced. Tyler mourned the loss of his old family and old home for months before he could fully embrace the blessings of a new home.  It is hard though, as a mom, to watch as your children struggle. You want to protect them and shield them from heartbreak,  especially these little ones who have already experienced so much heartbreak in their short lives, but I learned with Tyler that there is no way to skirt around the pain.

The only way past it is through it.

I know this is only the beginning of many months of struggle and tears. I know that it will get harder before it gets easier. I know the growing pains will be felt by all members of the family as everyone adjusts to this new family unit. But I also know it is worth every bit of heartache and struggle and that God has an amazing way of taking the brokenness and making it whole.

Adoption isn’t easy but it is worth it.

We’ve made it through the first 24 hours… now we only have forever to go. 🙂

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