No. For anyone who is wondering, no; I am not pregnant. And I will hunt down and kill anyone who, upon reading the title, thought I was pregnant and reacted by clapping their hands with glee. I'm 44 years old, ferchrissakes.
This week, we added a new member to our family.
I've alluded before that we are in the process of becoming foster parents.
We've talked about this for years -- we have a beautiful daughter and were never able to have another. She is a joy and a wonder, but we always felt like we were short-changing her by not giving her someone who would be by her side as we got older, to be there to call when she's 30 and needs to say, "Is it just me, or has our mother finally gone completely off the deep end?"
And yet, something always got in the way of us moving forward. We would provide some respite care from time to time for other friends who are in the system - the screening is less intense for respite care parents. But we suffered from a certain inertia about this process for a long time, for reasons I haven't quite been able to identify.
Then, on Valentine's Day, a young lady entered our lives. And in that moment, everything changed.
"Daisy Mae" (not her real name, obviously) was, at first glance, everything we didn't want in a child. 14 years old, worldly beyond most college students, she has three sisters and a local family with more issues than I care to enumerate here. But this sweet-natured, intelligent, artistically-gifted child stole our hearts from the first time she walked into our home. When we closed the door the first time she left our house, S looked and me and said, "Do you want me to call her caseworker tomorrow?". I burst into tears and said, "yes".
Since then we have gone through nearly 100 hours of classes and screenings, had every inch of this house inspected and prodded, updated, renovated and fire-proofed. Daisy has been here, most weekends and sometimes for a few days during the week, since February. She has formed a fast friendship with K, learned how to tease S and me, re-arranged entire sections of the house, cooked some wonderful meals, and fallen asleep in my arms more than once. And this week, the State finally said she could come and stay here. Forever.
Last night she looked at me and asked, "Are you going to adopt me?"
"Of course we're going to adopt you," I said, "we've already talked about that. Remember?"
"I know. But I just wanted to hear you say it again. Nobody's ever said Yes before."
I love you, Baby. And we can't wait to be your Forever Family.