So, we headed down to our first visit today. It was scheduled for noon at a McDonalds close to "the home". We arrived at 11:30, and at 12:15 we started to wonder. We had been out of town for the past couple of days, but the caseworker had said she would update us of any changes via email. I had not received any emails...but we called home to check our messages. There were nine. Almost all from her. The first one, placed Tuesday about an hour after we had left, was canceling our visit :( It turns out that the kids got sick, and weren't going to be able to leave to come to McDonalds. The next one - Tuesday night - said that there was a possibility of rescheduling at the home. There were a couple more going back and forth and the last was received today at 10:15 saying that since they had not heard back from us they were going to cancel the visit all together. NOOOO!!! Cameron was staying with Grandpa for the day, and we had made quite a few arrangements to get down here for this visit, so I was scrambling to see if there was any way we could make this work.
I called the caseworker's personal cell phone. Left a message. Called the work number. Left a message. Called the personal cell phone AGAIN - and reached her. I explained that we had JUST received her messages, as we've been out of town. I told her that we HAD traveled into town that day for the visit, and she was surprised. She worked her magic, and at 1:30, we were able to go into the home for our visit.
We spent two hours there today! We got a chance to learn a lot about K, and got to meet him. We introduced ourselves as people that had come to visit and play. We were able to play some ball, do a puzzle, play with play doh, etc. He got some presents today from the news that had done his video segment, and we got to see him open those up. He was so cute - "Just what I wanted." or "I saw this on TV!" He was polite about the whole thing, and we helped him open his toys. He took them into his room (which he shares with two others) and he was able to put his stuff near his space. It was really quite precious. He didn't have a whole lot of toys in there already, as most of the toys were in the playroom. So I guess that most toys are community property, and that these were special. I had a chance to anticipate when he opens the presents with Cameron that we bought for Christmas. That was fun.
Things went really well. We learned a little about his medical needs, his past history, etc. We were impressed by his ability to hold a conversation, the way he worked his puzzle, and his attention. My heart melted for him. At one point, he accidentally hit one of the workers with a ball. He apologized over and over. It was so good to see he has some basic manners!
He asked if next time we came if we could bring another certain type of puzzle. We'll see what we have at home. At the end of the visit, he was very quick to give hugs and when I asked him if it would be okay if we came back to play with him again sometime, he said "yes."
I think it's good to do things this way. For us to meet him a couple of times and then let him know that it is our intention to adopt him. That seems much more natural than to introduce ourselves as his new parents, and then have him work through that big chunk of information.
So Monday we'll set up our next visit. We have been talking about coming down every weekend for several weekends. We will likely go at least one more time without Cameron - and we'll likely go into the community, at that point. Then we might come down once during the week, so we can meet his teachers and get some information on him from an educational perspective, so we're more prepared to arrange for his educational needs. After he meets Cameron, he'll soon be on his way to a visit at our house. And then we'll do an over-night and then come to live with us. In our state, he'll need to live with us for six months before an adoption can be processed and finalized.
On the way back to Eric's parents' house, I just kept shaking my head. How unreal is it to walk through the doors of a home and meet a 6-year old child (who, by the way, claims to be 7 until he hears the worker say all the other people must be lying to her because she heard that he was 6) and think that that child will eventually become a part of their family? Many of you may not understand why I would feel extremely lucky to have this little guy join our family. And I can't help but think - actually, I have no doubts - that God knew what he was doing all along. The timing on this has been perfect. With all of the time delays, etc. this has given a chance for some of these details to be worked out in a way that this little one's heart and life circumstances are ready for this transition. He clearly is ready to move on from this home that has cared so well for him for the past six years.
I am so grateful for this particular organization that provides the type of facilities and care that have given this little guy everything he has needed, and is now working to prepare him for a more "normal" family-life. I am totally undeserving of such a "ready" child. Don't get me wrong - I know we have our work cut out for us. But I am so ready to embrace this work that God has set before us. Game on!