The paperwork is almost done, but it will never be done. Another form will need a signature, and then we’ll have to track our monthly fire and tornado drills. We’ll have to track medications, record information in our red (or blue!) book, and attend meetings where invariably we’ll need to sign something different. We’ll decide to go on vacation, and we’ll need court orders allowing us to take our foster kiddo(s) across state lines. Although we’ve completed a veritable mountain of paperwork, the paperwork will become just another thing we manage, like grocery shopping or vacuuming. After six months of classes, paperwork, and preparations, we’re ready to receive kiddos into our home, and the thought is at once both thrilling and terrifying.
Our licensure paperwork is now with the state. We’ll receive a temporary and then a permanent license. We could have a kiddo in our home by the end of the month, or it could be August, or November, or next year. We could have an eight-year-old boy with a love of trains or a sixteen-year-old girl who plans to become a doctor. We could have a kiddo with nightmares or a kiddo who hates playing outside. We’ll have kiddos who can’t fathom that we don’t eat bacon but that we do eat turnip greens. We could have a kiddo for only a weekend under respite care, or we could have the same kiddo for two years. We’ll indubitably have kiddos who think we’re strange. After all, we do not have a television, but we do have a beehive. (Just what kind of backwards people are we?)
For an admittedly type-A planner, the uncertainty is deeply unsettling even as I look forward to having kiddos in our home. For traditional birth parents, you more or less have about nine months to prepare to receive a newborn child, and you learn about the developmental stages and dos and don’ts as your child ages. Most of the time, you know that you’ll have a girl or a boy. For us, we’ve had six months to prepare for almost any child of any age. Whoa! Even Hermione Granger couldn’t devise a color-coded chart that would have us feeling prepared to receive the phone call for any kiddo at any moment!
But, rather like Hermione Granger would, I’m preparing a parenting reading list, and my reading list is broad in scope. Still, all the reading in the world won’t really prepare me for the moment a kiddo is standing on my porch, the moment I say goodbye to a kiddo I’ve fostered and loved, the moment a kiddo screams at me, the moment a kiddo says, “I love you,” the moment we’ve decided to adopt, or the moment we’re standing in a courtroom legally a family for the first time. All these moments will invariably come; they will be messy and imperfect, and we will muddle through them as best we can with each other.