Thursday, January 6, 2011

Special K

I'm going to make a departure today, from my series on getting organized, and my usual homey posts, and talk about something dear to my heart. Our three teen girls came from foster care, in another state, which I later discovered, is a rather rare occurrence. It's not that it never happens, but I guess it doesn't happen a lot. So when you begin to inquire about adopting children from other states, often you will get a bit of resistance from the professionals, because they just aren't used to doing it. Or if they have done it, they know that it's one huge pain in the hind quarters, and they would rather not discuss it with you.

My girls were so very fortunate in some ways. More than eight years bouncing around in foster care is no picnic, but they had a handful of people that were consistently involved with them. Their GAL was with them from the time they came into care as toddlers, to this very day. She keeps in touch, sends lovely boxes of fruit during the holidays, and is rather like an extra grandma that lives far away. The adoption worker assigned to their case, also had an ongoing history with the girls. It wasn't as long as that of the GAL, but it encompassed years.

When I first began to communicate with K, via email and phone calls, I had no idea how unique she really was, consequently I did not properly appreciate her. All I knew was that I liked her. We both hailed originally from the same area, so we both kind of spoke the same language. She always seemed to be shooting straight from the hip. She never seemed to be keeping information from me. She told me stuff, even stuff I didn't necessarily want to hear. When she didn't know, she always said "I don't know! Let me see if I can find out!" and she always said it with total humility and enthusiasm. She never made me feel like she was being put upon.

After the girls were placed, and we sometimes found ourselves struggling, she always made herself available. Sometimes she could offer assistance, sometimes advice, but more often than not, she just listened and made the right sort of noises. And it kept me from jumping off a bridge. When Soapy had to leave us, I know that K grieved right along with our family, and somehow that made it easier to bear. Ironic, because I am quite sure it didn't make her life any easier.

Now K has moved up to a more administrative position, and though she is supervising our next adoption, she does not handle it directly. Sometimes I forget that we have a professional relationship, because she has become such a dear, dear friend. Once in a great while, we connect by phone, and we talk and talk, about life and the price of tea in China. I always hang up the phone with a smile on my face, and never without thanking her for being such a powerful, positive force in my life. And then I think, "Oh my gosh! What am I thinking, talking about THAT (insert random inappropriate thing) with her?! She's my adoption worker...what must she think?!" And I have a little heart attack, until I remind myself that there isn't much K hasn't seen or heard about us, at one time or another since my girls came home.

She's seen me riding high, and she's heard the ugly cry, more than a few times. I am so very blessed, because I know this is a precious rarity. Foreign adoptions often end when the child is collected, and there is no one to call ever again. Even in foster adoptions, where there are allegedly helps in place, many people find themselves leaving countless messages that go unreturned. There is no human connection, and everyone suffers. Or even worse, they fear the connection, because they have been judged and undercut by the people that should be upholding them.

Yesterday I had one of those long rambling conversations with K. I had called to check on her mailing address, because I had photos to send. But we ended up talking about the girls, the boys, her life and mine. We laughed and told silly stories, and made plans to get together when I visit other friends in her area. We talked about the upcoming adoption, not like worker and adoptive parent, but friend to friend. I complained a little, but not to her, like I expected her to fix it, but as one person who knows how this goes, to another equally frustrated person who knows how it goes. As always, I hung up the phone with a smile on my face, and a lighter step...a lighter heart. Some friends just have that effect.

1 comment:

Jean said...

Wait ... uhm ... there's an upcoming adoption? Where have I been?! I can't wait to follow you on this new journey. Is it wrong (or just terribly naive) if I hope it goes a little easier on you this time? :)