Monday, September 24, 2007

Missing Him in Advance

The last few weeks, we've been re-organizing our house. We've been living here now for eleven years, and we were really set up for two men and two female cats. We had to throw out a lot of junk (including tons of old books I accumulated during grad school that I never read and will never read). We installed shelves in the basement and moved lots of stuff down there. We got rid of the old futon, and then moved everything left in what used to be the old computer room into the old guest room.

Göran then patched, scrubbed and re-painted the old computer room. Last weekend a local furniture store was having its big annual sale, with discounts on everything and "0% financing until September 2008!!!" We bought a nice new bed and a dresser, which were delivered and installed Saturday. And voila! Now we have a kid's bedroom (pictured above).

Göran is still fussing and fretting about details. He actually put together a list of what we still need in order make the room more comfortable and homey. A mirror to put on the wall above his dresser. A rug for the floor. One of those cool wooden boxes on rollers that he can put toys and other stuff into, to keep under his bed. A book shelf. We plan to pay a visit to a certain Swedish discount home furnishings outlet to complete it.

As we were going over the checklist in our heads, and admiring the room together last night, I said, "I miss him."

Göran said, "I miss him too."

Is it really possible to miss someone you've never met?

We're still waiting for the licensing procedure to be completed. Only then can we discuss prospective placements. Minnesota just established a new finger-printing requirement at the last minute, and since nobody knows how to implement it, it's taken extra long to finalize our licensing. We've been through the nine hours of interviews, the home inspections, the criminal background checks, the nine hours of paperwork... Now we're being held up because some bureaucrat somewhere can't figure out what to do with our fingerprints. Yet the waiting is not bad. In my present spiritual path, I have learned that often when there is a delay, it's an opportunity to listen. It's an opportunity for that last little bit of preparation needed to make the anticipated moment perfect.

It's not that we're not ready. Before even beginning the process, we spent weeks discussing it with each other, each thinking it through on our own, talking to other parents, mapping out the scenarios, the costs and obstacles and challenges. I spent time praying. For a time we were checking in with each other regularly. "I'm 90% sure. How about you?" "Oh, I'm about 95%." We meet for lunch downtown every day, and one day for lunch, I said, "What percent are you?" He said, "Oh, I'm pretty much 100%. How about you?" I grinned back, "Oh, I've been 100% for a while."

And before that, before I even agreed to say "Yes, we'll think about it," when a social worker friend of mine asked if we'd be willing to become licensed foster parents, there was the experience I had while attending my parent's church in Springville, Utah in August 2006. I was sitting next to my parents in Sacrament Meeting, and the Spirit said to me, "You need to open yourself to taking care of children."

Ever since coming out, I just assumed I would never, ever have kids. No marriage, no kids. Göran has brought it up before and I've firmly said No. But here was the Spirit saying "You need to open yourself to taking care of children." And like so many other times before, my reply to the Spirit was, "I have no idea how we'll do that. But, OK."

And then came the social worker. Then our thinking and praying. And now the bedroom is ready. It could still be weeks or months till we get our first child. Impossible to know. And in some ways, it still feels a little bit crazy. But now as I look back over all of this, and I think, we're ready. Mentally, spiritually, and now domestic-arrangement-edly, we're ready. Except this one little bit more of waiting. Waiting for fingerprints. Waiting for a child.

And I miss him. I don't know how I can possibly miss someone I've never met. But I do miss him.


playasinmar said...

Quoth the Demitri Martin:

"I like to imagine there is a land known as the Futon Kingdom. It's a nice kingdom that becomes less comfortable over time."

Are you guys getting a baby or a teen or what?

Beck said...

Knowing my experience as you do, welcome to my world. There is a beauracrat around every corner and another form to replace the previous one... it seems to never end.

But, there is an end, and though it seems trite - I would offer: It pays off in the end!

Hang in there. I look forward to hearing about your new family addition here shortly.

J G-W said...

Playa - Teen. (And our futon was definitely in the Kingdom of Time-To-Say-Bye-Bye. I'd had it since my second year of grad school, 1988.)

Beck - Mind you, I'm not complaining. I think it's very good that they have such an in-depth process for screening potential parents.

In addition to everything I described, the State of Minnesota requires 10 hours/year of training/continuing education for its foster parents. The agency we're working with requires 30 hours. We went through a 10-hour course a couple of months ago. After it was done we thought, every parent needs to go through this training! There was so much incredible information. And the same was true of the interview process as well. At the end of the nine-hours of interviews, we thought, these were all really, really good questions that every potential parent should have to answer.

We also thought, it's kind of scary how in order to be a biological parent, you only need one qualification: sex. I guess lack of preparation for parenthood by so many who jump into it is one reason we're being asked to help out as foster parents. It's very humbling to think about.

Beck said...

It is ironic how a young teen girl can conceive a child with no fingerprinting, no interviews, no parental skill courses, no security checks, no social workers, no doctors exams, no government certificates of worthiness, and yet those who seek to adopt or be foster parents must PROVE their worthiness ten times over, and then again. There is an irony there that can only be appreciated by one who has gone through that process multiple times (call me insane?). I guess it's a good thing! I'm not complaining either... just pointing out the irony with you.

There is also a difference between a sperm donor and a father. I think you'll be a great father!