Compassion International provided me updated photos of Chidodolo. Not seeing his smile made me worried a bit but it seems from his letters that his heart is still beaming. He's bright and kind and is becoming quite the young man! I'm proud of him. Many of my prayers for him is that he will lead his community in powerful ways with love and understanding.
When I arrived half were throwing the football around and the other half were hitting tennis balls back and forth in the drive way. The last group facility was a mix of boys & girls so I was surprised to be spending my afternoon with all boys. They were mildly interested in me and three of the boys wanted me to play games with them. These young men are SO smart! Now, granted, I loathe most board games yet I'm not terrible at playing them...but still these boys ran circles around me at Monopoly, Life, Skip Bo...and some other card game I've never heard of before. They were really respectful of me and treated Mr. C (the man who ran the home) in high regards.
Right before I left, I spoke more with Mr. C and asked different questions. He said these young men were great. They are just typical growing boys who eat a lot, play a lot, and laugh a lot. Atypical is that one of them hordes food, another one is so sensitive about getting left out that he gets easily frustrated, two different ones are still learning what's appropriate to talk about or find funny (since they were not taught by their bio-folks what might be rude in mix company) and two others are dealing with a lot of heart break due to recent failed adoptions. I shared that I didn't like how the system was set up because there is this huge process to get matched up on paper and only then do we get to meet to decide whether we match in personality. A child goes into the meeting knowing I might adopt them...talk about pressure! (on all of us) If after meeting, I decide not to commit to go forward, then what keeps the child from feeling even more rejection?! And I have to be open to not moving forward if I come to see that it's totally not a good match and really...you can't know for sure until you meet. ** Update - what I found to be more true later is that my agency tries to set up a respite visit first so that the child does not have the pressure on them. This happened with both my children and I'm grateful for it!*
Mr. C told me that happens a lot and that, "You need to foster to adopt so you can see if there is a connection early. You have a lot of good-guy experience since you have mentored teens and foster kids that have aged-out but you've never had to be the bad-guy." BUT - What my heart heard was, "You can't do this...you don't know what you are doing and are just fooling yourself with the bit of experience you've had in the past. The way the system's set up for straight match, you are going to end up breaking some kid's heart."
I went home crying. All I kept thinking about was how much these children have gone through and how much I want to help, not hurt. I spoke to my friend Ivonne and then to my certification case worker about my feelings. Ivonne reminded me to pray and keep trusting in God. I came across this scripture this morning that encouraged me.
"Cast ALL your anxiety on [God] because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
So I need to do some major casting of my anxiety and snuggle up to God on this! Talking to my caseworker, she mentioned that in the 20+ years she's been doing adoption placements that the majority of reasons adoptions fail is because the new parents decided not to follow the path the child's been placed on for PTS therapy or medicine. She said, because these children have dealt with so much trauma, a plan is put into place during foster care to help nurture them. But, when the new parents suddenly remove the medication/therapy routine on top off all the new changes the child is going through after adoptions (new home, family, school etc...) the parents often end up seeing a child they think is too much to handle. She also shared that sometimes adoptive parents want to start off fresh and not know anything about the child's background. But as she said, "How can you help someone heal when you don't know their hurt?" Deep.
She finished by saying that informed parents do not have failed adoptions and for me to keep asking a ton of questions! So today, she sent my paperwork to CPS and said that they will probably call me in a week or so to set up the home-study. My heart skipped a beat for the first time in months...such progress...I'm so close to certification...the excitement builds!
**quick update - as I was writing this the other day, they called! My home-study will be in only one week. ahhhhhhhh...** :)